Arkansas attorney general sued, allegedly misused taxpayer money

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaks to...
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaks to reporters at a news conference in Washington. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled the use of midazolam in lethal injections is constitutional and dismissed claims that less painful methods of execution are available. Rutledge hailed Baker's decision. "As the attorney general, I enforce the laws in the state and bring justice for families who have long been devastated at the hands of these murderers," Rutledge, a Republican, said in a statement. "Today's final judgment reaffirms the constitutionality of Arkansas's execution protocol." (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File) (KY3)
Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 2:10 PM CST
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A lawsuit alleges Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge misuses her office to promote her political aspirations and illegally used taxpayer money.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Pulaski County Circuit Court in Little Rock alleges Rutledge overstepped her authority by supporting failed lawsuits seeking to overturn presidential election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and media advertisements in which she discusses her office’s services.

“Rutledge ... engaged in highly partisan political activities as Attorney General of the State of Arkansas in order to further her political standing and to promote her own personal political ambitions at the expense of the taxpayers of Arkansas,” according to the lawsuit.

Rutledge denies the allegations, calling them politically motivated, said spokesperson Stephanie Sharp.

“The attorney general has broad discretion to act in the interest of the people of Arkansas. This is a frivolous lawsuit, and we will ask that it be dismissed,” Sharp told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The lawsuit seeks an order that Rutledge be prohibited from exceeding her authority and to repay about $1.7 million for the media advertisements.

Rutledge, a Republican who was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018, has announced plans to run for governor in 2022.

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