Blue Hog Report’s Matt Campbell has unearthed an email from Leslie Rutledge’s time as a lawyer with the Department of Human Services that, unlike a previous email forward that caught the attention of the Arkansas Blog and others, is going to be hard for the Republican candidate for attorney general to explain away. In the email, dated Oct. 2007, Rutledge appears to be passing along a note from a friend. The subject line is “True story and email from a friend of mine…she works d’town with battered women, etc.”
What follows is an account of a son and mother seeking an order of protection for the son that’s written entirely in racist dialect.
I’ve asked the Rutledge campaign for comment. But one thing is for certain, just passing along the note — as opposed to writing it herself — isn’t going work as an excuse.
As one of our readers noted, any hospital in Little Rock would fire someone in a heartbeat for passing along an email like this.
We’re starting to get more of a sense of why superiors placed a note in Rutledge’s DHS file saying she not be rehired and gave the reason for her termination as “gross misconduct.”
One question remains: Who’s Judith and does she still work for some government agency?
UPDATE: The Democratic Party of Arkansas responds.
“Arkansas voters know that Leslie Rutledge’s state personnel file included a mark of ‘gross misconduct,’ and despite Rutledge’s refusal to let us see her personnel documents, Arkansans are beginning to see what that ‘gross misconduct’ included. Today’s revelations continue to show that Leslie Rutledge does not conduct business the way Arkansas’s Attorney General should, and today’s news is an embarrassment,” said Lizzy Price, spokesman for the Democrat Party of Arkansas.
“This email that Leslie Rutledge sent adds to a growing pile of evidence that shows that she doesn’t have the judgment to be Arkansas’s lead attorney. Gov. Mike Huckabee, her former boss, has endorsed Rutledge but has made it clear that he doesn’t support this kind of conduct. We call on Gov. Huckabee to withdraw his endorsement immediately. We also call on Congressman Cotton, Congressman Hutchinson, and Republican Chairman Doyle Webb to condemn this language and call on Rutledge to apologize for using taxpayer money to mock Arkansans.”
As does the Arkansas Public Policy Panel:
Little Rock – The Arkansas Public Policy Panel, a leader in Arkansas Civil Rights and social and economic change since 1963, issued the following statement following the release of Leslie Rutledge’s blatantly racist email from her time at DHS.
Bill Kopsky, Executive Director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, said: “This email is offensive to the bone. The Arkansas Public Policy Panel has been focused on civil rights issues for over 50 years and the disgusting sentiments in this email only reinforce the sad stereotypes Arkansas has labored to move beyond for generations.”
“There’s no place for sentiments like these in politics or public life, especially from the Republican nominee for Attorney General. They are offensive to every Arkansan regardless of race, religion or political viewpoint. These views need to be denounced by every party official top to bottom. These comments undermine the credibility of every great public servant working hard to meet the needs of vulnerable families and do immeasurable damage to the credibility of our public institutions. How is a person of color or a devotedly Christian Arkansan expected to believe they will get fair and respectful representation from the state’s top lawyer with comments like these on the record?” said Kopsky.
“If these were not Rutledge’s own words, the only appropriate response to this message would have been a ‘DO NOT SEND ME THIS TYPE OF INFORMATION AGAIN AND I AM REPORTING YOU TO YOUR SUPERIORS’. This was not Ms. Rutledge’s response, instead she forwarded the message with the tag ‘THANKS’.”
“Arkansas needs more dialogue about race, discrimination and equal opportunity. We will never reach our potential when part of our population feels like they are being left behind intentionally by our elected leaders.”