"We have been dealing with the Clintons for 40 years," Rutledge said. "We know about cattle futures, Troopergate, Whitewater."
But the role of "Troopergate" in Clinton scandal history is complicated. In a 1993 cover story for the American Spectator, David Brock interviewed four Arkansas state troopers who spoke luridly about covering up affairs for Gov. Bill Clinton. The revelations helped kick off the Paula Jones investigation, and the legal probe of Clinton that lasted through most of his presidency followed. "Troopergate" itself was denounced by Brock on his path to becoming a Clinton ally, though, and the credibility of the troopers was challenged by follow-up investigations. One was found to have considered seeking hush money for his story; another later went to jail for lying to the FBI about an unrelated case.
Troopergate is not mentioned in every litany of Clinton scandals. In May, an ad from the NRSC meant to make Clinton as problematic to Democratic candidates as Donald Trump is for Republicans listed "Whitewater, Travelgate, Chinagate, Filegate" as Clinton scandals, skipping the trooper story. Even in the Brock story, Hillary Clinton was portrayed as cold — a "bad cop" — who had nothing to do with Bill Clinton's alleged behavior.
But Rutledge and the RNC seemed to be bundling Troopergate with more-established stories, like a lower-rated mortgage packed into a AAA-rated CDO. After the news conference, when asked whether she was saying that Troopergate was credible, Rutledge suggested that the issue was that Arkansans believed it.
"Well, there were so many scandals that happened during the Clintons' tenure, when he was governor and she served as first lady of Arkansas," she said. "Certainly, I've had a number of conversations with individuals who worked for the Clintons during that time period. And Arkansans know the Clintons. They know these scandals. They have repeatedly met people, talked to people, met women who engaged in unbecoming conduct with then-Gov. Clinton."
Rutledge, who was 17 when the Brock story first ran, did not think the subsequent questions about the story had undermined it."Troopergate had to do with the Arkansas state police, who were assigned to then-Gov. Bill Clinton, talking about his sexual exploitations," she said. "That's what I was referring to. But yet again, it's one out of dozens and dozens of high-profile scandals that just swirl around the Clintons."