Leslie Rutledge (R) has served as the attorney general of Arkansas since 2015 and is running for lieutenant governor in 2022. She has long been a Trump loyalist and values his attention. She is also a prominent and active member of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which helped get protesters to come to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 and continue spreading lies about a stolen election.
Rutledge began her legal career working in the Arkansas Court of Appeals clerking for Judge Josephine Hart, now an associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Later in her career, she served in Washington, D.C., as counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee.
Rutledge also worked closely with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), both as a deputy counsel to his administration and to his 2008 presidential campaign. His daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders ®, is running for governor of Arkansas in 2022 with Trump’s endorsement.
In 2018, a whistleblower leaked emails from Rutledge when she served as counsel for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Many of her emails were riddled with foul language and sexual jokes, and one also included racist comments mocking the department’s beneficiaries. Rutledge faced further scandal in January 2021 when a citizens’ lawsuit alleged she misused taxpayer funds to promote herself and overturn the results of the 2020 Election.
January 6, 2021
- Rutledge traveled to Washington to present a letter to the Senate summarizing her arguments against impeaching Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack on Congress. She promoted her actions in a tweet that read: “Today I stood at the US Capitol to announce an unprecedented letter to the Senate describing the legal flaws of this impeachment and how it undermines the democratic process and tears at the threads of our democracy.”
The Big Lie
- Rutledge is an active member of RAGA, which helped increase crowd sizes in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 by making robocalls encouraging Trump supporters to come to D.C. to protest the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory.
- Rutledge joined 10 other Republican attorneys general in filing an amicus brief to challenge a decision made by the Pennsylvania supreme court regarding the counting of mail-in ballots.
- Rutledge and 18 other attorneys general joined an amicus brief in Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed with the U.S. Supreme Court alleging that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin violated the Constitution by changing election procedures through non-legislative means. The Supreme Court dismissed the case.
- Rutledge made frequent media appearances to promote her legal challenges to voting procedures in other states. After an interview with KARK 4 News in Arkansas, she posted on Facebook: “Our elections must remain fair and Americans can’t be kept in the dark!”
- In June 2022, the Arkansas Times called Rutledge out for her ongoing support of the Big Lie by suggesting she actually do something as AG to stop the endless flow of donations to Trump made based on his false claims of a stolen election. “We now call on [AG Rutledge] to be as vigorous in investigating a $250 million alleged mail fraud scheme as she has been in prosecuting much smaller fish in Arkansas,” the paper wrote, “even as she gallivanted around the country in support of Republican ideology, including seditious support of Trump’s Big Lie about the election.”