Pruitt Demands Leonard Pull 'Factually Incorrect' Television Commercial As GOP Race For AG Flares
The Scott Pruitt for Attorney General campaign today called upon opponent Ryan Leonard to pull a "factually incorrect" television commercial which is also the first negative advertisement of the campaign.
Pruitt's campaign manager also indicated he expects to send a “cease and desist” letter to television stations airing the advertisement due to it containing factual inaccuracies.
Airing of the commercial coincides with a story quoting anonymous sources on the website Oklahoma Watchdog; that story, by Andrew Griffin, contains the same basic allegation as the commercial, that Pruitt has no constitutional law practice experience.
“Scott has known his opponent for quite some time, and it saddens him that Ryan has proven himself to be just like any other politician that wants the job so badly that he will spread half-truths and commit lies of omission,” stated Tyler Laughlin, campaign manager for the Pruitt for Attorney General Campaign.
“The truth is Scott has been a leading advocate when it comes to constitutional issues. Scott has accepted invitations to speak to different entities of the Southern Baptist Convention about constitutional issues such as church-state relations in cities like Atlanta, Asheville and other places across the country. Scott was the author of landmark legislation such as the Religious Freedom Act, been the lawyer on numerous cases protecting the constitutional rights of individuals, and has regularly been the lawyer handling constitutional cases referred by the respected Rutherford Institute” Laughlin continued.
“The Leonard campaign says in the ad, quote ‘Advertises himself as a constitutional lawyer. But official Oklahoma records show that he's never tried a case’ unquote,” said Laughlin. One need look no further than Oklahoma’s Western District Federal Court records to find New Lima Independent School Dist. v. Warrington, et. al, -- where Scott was co-counsel on a Constitutional case involving First Amendment rights which went to trial. Going to trial in a constitutional case is rare, and Scott has litigated other constitutional cases in federal court where he has protected the rights of Oklahomans,” Laughlin continued.
“A quick search of state and federal court records for ‘Edward Scott Pruitt’ or ‘E. Scott Pruitt’ will reveal cases in the western, northern and eastern districts of the Oklahoma Federal Court system and the Oklahoma State Supreme Court as well as multiple District Court appearances across the state of Oklahoma. In fact, Scott’s involvement in Sharp v. Tulsa County Election Board, which went before the Oklahoma State Supreme Court and was related to constitutional issues such as ballot access and suffrage, was published by West Law,” Laughlin stated.
“One of the more outrageous claims in the ad comes from the Leonard campaign essentially quoting itself and attributing it to the Tulsa World. The quote from the Tulsa World does not make a judgment on the experience of Scott Pruitt. The lie of omission is that the start of the quote is ‘Critics say.’ This alone should require the Leonard campaign to remove the ad,” said Laughlin.
Pruitt, issued the following statement in response to the Leonard ad: “The simple fact is, we need an Attorney General that knows how to fight the reach of the federal government. I’ve been doing that since the first day I got out of law school and initially opened Christian Legal Services, Inc. I have successfully defended the rights of individuals to practice their faith when government tries to tell them ‘no’. I have advised teachers, public school students and homeschoolers when they have been under attack. I’ve helped teens ‘rally around the flagpole’ and pray at school when others have said they can’t, and I want to fight that same fight for the people of Oklahoma.”