On Monday, February 19, 2024, the Indiana Capital Chronicle reported that the Senate Elections Committee had passed an amendment to a bill that could impact eligibility for the office of Attorney General in Indiana.

The amendment to House Bill 1265 proposed adding a qualification stating candidates cannot have been disbarred or suspended without automatic reinstatement in the year preceding the election. This change would not currently affect incumbent Todd Rokita, who was recently reprimanded. However, it appeared aimed at Rokita given pending disciplinary complaints against him that could result in suspension before the next election.

The measure also factored into the 2020 Attorney General race. Former AG Curtis Hill was suspended for 30 days in May 2020 stemming from an investigation that found he inappropriately groped four women at an end-of-session party in 2018. However, as Hill’s suspension allowed for automatic reinstatement, he remained eligible to run for reelection that year.

Hill sought another term as Attorney General but lost to Rokita at the 2020 Republican convention, where Rokita secured the party’s nomination. It has been speculated the pending amendment, had it been law at the time, may have precluded Hill from running for reelection given his 30-day suspension.

The Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Republican Senator Mike Gaskill, approved sending the amended bill as well as two others to the full Senate. Rokita’s office criticized the qualification change as infringing on voter rights. Proponents argued it ensures election integrity. The report provided context around the legislative maneuvering concerning disciplinary actions facing public officials like the state’s top lawyer.

 

 

Source: Indiana Capital Chronicle