- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two ethics complaints have been filed against two Arkansas attorney general candidates, and they both involve campaign ads.

Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell filed a complaint Monday with the state’s ethics commission against Republican candidate Leslie Rutledge, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/Ztijl5 ). He argues she violated several rules when she appeared in a 30-second TV ad paid and produced by the Republican Attorneys General Association.

On Tuesday, the state’s Republican Party accused Democratic candidate Nate Steel of abusing his authority as a Nashville city attorney by using uniformed police officers and their equipment in his campaign ads.

Rutledge’s campaign said in a statement that the complaint against her is just a distraction created by her opponents in her bid for the attorney general’s office. Under an Arkansas statute, candidates cannot receive contributions of more than $2,000 or donations from “prohibited” political action committees.

Although an advertisement isn’t exactly defined as a contribution by state law, Campbell said the $300,000 bill paid by the out-of-state group amounts to one. He said the organization isn’t registered with the Arkansas secretary of state’s office, and a state statute requires it to be before contributing to a campaign.

Wes Manus, Rutledge’s campaign manager, said the Arkansas Ethics Commission was consulted before she participated in the ad and “confirmed their interpretation of the law on issue advertisements.” Her campaign declined to comment beyond the statement.

The Arkansas Ethics Commission had no comment on Campbell’s complaint or the complaint against Steel.

Steel declined to talk about the complaint or its allegations to the newspaper and issued a statement saying he’s never abused the “positions of public trust I hold.” The complaint against Steel said using a patrol car in his ad and the officers violated a state law that said it’s “unlawful for any public servant to use for campaign purposes any item of personal property provided with public funds.”


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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