Richard H. Mays has filed his response to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s motion to dismiss his lawsuit on behalf of taxpayers alleging that she’s stepped beyond her authority to sue in other states and that she has improperly spent taxpayer money to benefit herself politically.
Rutledge has said she has broad power to interpret the state’s interest in participating in lawsuits such as one object to the New York attorney general’s effort to investigate improper spending by the NRA and two to prevent the election of Joe Biden, including a suit to block counting of electoral college votes.
Mays says Rutledge’s motion rests heavily on challenging his allegation of illegal spending of tax money. She argues that the $2 million she spent on supposed consumer protection advertising prominently featuring her isn’t tax money, but proceeds of money won in legal actions. It is still public money, appropriated by the legislature.
Mays said that isn’t all the expenses.
It is inescapable that, in the conduct of and to support the other alleged ultra vires activities (e.g., filing briefs in cases in other states, participating in partisan political activities as the State’s Attorney General), Defendant Rutledge had to expend state funds for compensation and expenses of members of the attorney general’s staff, and state equipment to enable preparation of the interventions and responses of the litigants—to whatever extent, if any, that the attorney general did not simply
rely on the work of the original litigants.
He also notes she raised campaign money for her race governor by touting her intervention in lawsuits aimed at preventing Joe Biden’s election.
Mays argues that there are limits in the state law on Rutledge’s legal activities:
The first limitation is that there must be an “interest of the state” involved in the litigation. The second limitation is that there must be a state officer, board or commission involved in the litigation. In the amicus briefs discussed above, Defendant Rutledge did not purport to represent any state officers, boards or commissions of the State of Arkansas in the litigation – only “the State of Arkansas” and herself as Attorney General.
Regarding the first limitation – the existence of an “interest of the state” – Defendant Rutledge agrees in her Motion that “The Attorney General is required to represent the interests of the state” in matters covered by the statute, and she agrees with the Plaintiffs that “there is no clear authority defining the “interests of the State.”
The crux of this case is thus the dual issues of (i) what constitutes the “interest of the state,” and (ii) who determines what those interests are? Stated another way for purposes of this case: “Is Leslie Rutledge solely authorized, simply by virtue of being Attorney General, to determine what are the “interests of the state” that will allow her to inject the State of Arkansas into any litigation that she deems appropriate or that she believes might be helpful to her future election?”
Of the two election case interventions, Mays said:
There is no conceivable “interest of the State of Arkansas” to be found in these actions. To the contrary, they were taken solely for the purpose, not of protecting against election fraud, but of interfering with the Nation’s election processes and perpetuating what, if successful, would have been the biggest election fraud in history.
He was similarly critical of her intervention in the NRA case.
Again, there is no interest of the State of Arkansas involved in New York’s efforts to monitor and terminate abuse by the management of non-profit organizations, such as the NRA, and if there is, the State of Arkansas intervened on the wrong side of those interests in the case. New York’s suit seeks to stop and punish alleged corruption in the management of corporations authorized by the state. Defendant Rutledge recognizes in her brief “the important governmental interests in regulating the governance and operations of nonprofit and charitable entities,” and “protecting the public from deceptive and fraudulent practices by nonprofit and charitable organizations …”. However, she intervened on behalf of the organization accused of the corruption and misappropriation of funds, and now attempts to justify such intervention by characterizing the interest of the State of Arkansas as being to protect freedom of speech and right of association of the members of the NRA – the very people whose dues and contributions were a part of the funds allegedly being mismanaged by NRA management
The case is pending before Judge Alice Gray.