Civil Discourse Now

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AG Rokita's job is not to "strengthen economic ties"

Todd Rokita, Indiana’s AG, posted on Facebook on April 1: “Today, I was grateful to meet with Raju Chinthala, founder and president of the Indiana India Business Council. We value the important role this group plays in strengthening economic ties between Indiana and India.”

The AG’s “rights, powers, and duties” are created by statutes. (See I.C. § 4-6-1-6.) The statutes have been construed as giving the AG sole responsibility for the legal representation of the State. State ex rel Sendak v Marion Sup. Ct, 268 Ind. 3, 8 (Ind. 1978).

The AG never should meet with someone to “strengthen economic ties.” The AG “is not dictating policy or directing the State,” and the “legislature has chosen to vest the responsibility for the legal representation of the State” in the AG. State ex rel Sendak, 268 Ind. at 9.

There always is a possibility that a business that locates to Indiana will, at some point, litigate. Litigation can involve the State as a party. Rokita has sole responsibility for Indiana’s legal representation. He should not seek favor with potential parties.

Whether Indiana should toss incentives to businesses to locate here is a separate question. We have elected a governor to whore out our State in such matters. If he needs help there are plenty of other office holders more than happy to fill the role.

But the AG cannot “strengthen economic ties.” What, if they move here, he will cut them slack on regulations? If the Governor is not up to the task, we have a General Assembly that has tried to eliminate pesky regulations wherever they might arise.

Rokita has missed rungs in his way up the governmental ladder. His foot slipped in his 2016 run for Governor. Todd lost the 2018 GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Those were positions from which he could make policy. Then AG Curtis Hill was vulnerable.

Indiana’s Attorney General need not be boring as she or he provides legal representation for the State, but we should emphasize boring and keeping the oath of office. We should not have to ask of what do the AG’s promises to “strengthen economic ties” with someone consist.

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