Aug 1, 2022 - Politics

Arkansas' Attorney General PSAs cost $3M last fiscal year

A screenshot of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a TV commercial.
Screenshot from one of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's TV public service announcements.

The number is a what was spent in fiscal year 2021.22 on TV and radio public service announcements, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

  • The number is about 170% more than what was spent in fiscal year 2021.

Why it matters: Taxpayers shoulder the cost of the ads — in Rutledge's case, the biggest price tag of any Arkansas AG ever.

Flashback: The AG's office spent $2.3 million in fiscal year 2020 on PSAs. Rutledge was criticized for using ads, in which she was featured, to bolster her reputation.

  • After announcing her bid for governor on July 1, 2020, her face and voice were dropped from all PSAs.
  • Yes, but: After Rutledge switched races to lieutenant governor in November 2021, her face and voice became prominent in the ads again.

According to an email from the AG's spokesperson to Axios in September 2021, $1.2 million was spent on both TV and radio PSAs during fiscal year 2021, which ended June 30 of last year.

Details: The PSAs, known as "The Rutledge Report," include messages about opioids, telephone scams, Medicaid fraud and cyber crime.

What they're saying: "Prior to the airing [of] the PSAs, the office would receive 200-300 calls per week, and following the launch of PSAs, we receive 2,000-3,000 calls per week and our email traffic has increased four times," a spokesperson for Rutledge told Axios via email in September 2021.

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