Another Embarrassing Indiana AG

Indiana has a habit of elevating legal embarrassments to the position of Attorney General. I still remember pompous Theodore Sendak, who made people call him “General.” Sendak led the fight against revamping Indiana’s archaic criminal code, arguing that modernization would “just make defense attorneys rich,” and he was a major proponent of capital punishment.

Curtis Hill, our outgoing AG, was initially known for his Elvis impersonations and more recently for groping female legislators and staffers. When he did take legal positions, they were equally embarrassing: the sorts of anti-choice, anti-gay, last century arguments we’ve come to expect from Republican officeholders playing to the GOP’s base “base.”

Todd Rokita, who will assume the office in January, is arguably even worse. There has never been a Republican derriere Rokita wouldn’t kiss in his ongoing efforts to feed at the public trough.

As Secretary of State, Rokita helped to write the nation’s first Voter ID bill–despite the fact that, like the rest of the country, Indiana had never experienced a problem with in-person voter fraud. (In Rokita’s worldview, we do have a problem with “urban” people actually being allowed to vote…)

More recently, he enthused over Texas’ bonkers lawsuit, insisting that measures in other states making it easier to vote during the pandemic somehow diluted the votes of Indiana citizens. (Presumably, he sees no problem with the state’s “winner take all” allocations of Electoral Votes, which totally erase Democratic ballots cast in the state..)

What else has Rokita opposed or supported? Let us count the ways:

  • He has compared African Americans who vote Democratic to slaves., and ran an ad against Colin Kaepernick that was widely considered racist.

  • He has opposed allowing migrant children to be placed in American homes, claiming they carried Ebola.

  • He’s certainly no friend to women: he opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, and NUVO has reported that Rokita does not support equal wages for equal work for women.

  • He doesn’t believe in climate change, and he doesn’t believe that immigration reform should include a path to citizenship.

There’s much more. When he was in Congress, ten former staffers accused him of maintaining a “toxic work environment,” abusing staff members and insisting that they perform menial tasks like cleaning his car and emptying his trash.

The Chicago Tribune accused Rokita of violating ethics laws during his tenure as Secretary of State. And for truly bizarre positions, it’s hard to beat his insistence that the FAA should be privatized (because, he asserted, the federal government cannot do anything as well as private-sector businesses), and his opposition to rules requiring pilots to get periodic medical exams. (He said he trusted the pilots to decide whether they were medically-fit to fly.)

In Congress, Rokita authored a bill that would have reduced the availability of subsidized lunches for public school students. But he sure supported “feeding” students his brand of “Americanism.” According to the Chicago Tribune,

A Jasper County teacher asked Rokita to leave his high school civics class in November 2016 after a talk that was supposed to be about the Constitution got off on the wrong foot, according to two students. Rokita had asked the class if they were taught about ‘American Exceptionalism.’ But when a number of students seemed puzzled by the concept, he had a testy exchange with their teacher, Paul Norwine, whom he criticized for not including it in the curriculum, the students said. Tensions eased and the talk proceeded, but the class was dumbfounded, the students said. ‘Mr. Rokita got very angry and said, ‘You have an American congressman in your class, what are you doing?’ said Marcus Kidwell, 19, a Donald Trump supporter who was a senior at the time. ’He seems like a pretty hot-headed guy. That disappointed me because he’s a Republican and I was pretty excited to meet him.’” 

Sources for the foregoing–and much more–are at the link. The organization, Restore Public  Trust, says his past behaviors disqualify Rokita for public office.

But not in Indiana, a state that is getting steadily closer to its goal of displacing Mississippi as the laughingstock of states.


  1. Sorry, Florida already attained that privilege, and continues to let the “loonies on the grass.”

  2. Sendak, Hill and Rokita didn’t spring suddenly in their lofty positions; they came up through the ranks. Did they begin at the bottom with their hardline stand against minorities and control over women’s health issues when cases came before them in lower courts? What is their record as defense attorneys, have they taken a stand to defend victims of the court system or do they consider the court system to be the victim needing their defense?

    In the state of Indiana attorneys such as Sendak, Hill and Rokita should have been stopped before they reached the level of Attorney General. As I have pointed out at least twice on this blog; the Indiana November Election ballot contained half of the back page with judgeships up for yea or nay votes to remain in their position but we knew nothing of their history on the bench. The lack of public reporting and information regarding their legal actions for years allows Republican states to promote them to higher and higher positions and unless and until they grab women’s genital areas at public gatherings or get caught with their hand in someone else’s cookie jar is their powerful position questioned. But; even after much public questioning and investigation; Curtis Hill remains our AG until Rokita take the reins.

    “Indiana has a habit of elevating legal embarrassments to the position of Attorney General.” To quote Linda Ellerbee, “And so it goes.”

  3. Miguel de Cervantes could not have written a more humurous and entertaining stage play to describe the antics of Republican leadership following our national election. Fifty-nine failed lawsuits far outnumbers the windmills lanced by the gallant Don Quiote. Then throw in the extraordinary lawsuit from the Texas AG joined by several other state AGs …. another collosal failure. I am reminded of a beautiful oil painting in a window display of a prestigious art gallery. It depicted a group of clowns playing fanciful music to each other’s delight surrounded by a collapsed big top lying in burnt ruin around them.

  4. This tired old Hoosier progressive has finally come to realize that the inept, self-serving, corrupt, and almost exclusively Republican officeholders who invite and deserve our scorn are not the problem. For example, Todd Rokita is not the problem. The 1,721,998 people who voted for him are the problem. Same goes for TRE45ON. He’s not the problem. The 74,000,000 million people who voted for him, an astonishing number, are the problem.

    The only question is what to do about it (beyond gathering around Professor Kennedy’s blog with a warm cup of confirmation bias, I mean, coffee). I have no firm answers but I DO have some assumptions as a starting point:

    1. That you cannot change their minds regarding Trumpist values and allegiances which benefits ppl like Rokita as well as the 126 US House Reps who signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas AG’s recent act of sedition.

    2. That their political positions are the result of a national psychotic disorder driven by nationalism, racism and general pissed-off-at-the-world-but-I-can’t-say-whyism.

    3. That on any given day their enormous numbers are fixed and therefore containable. Their ranks SHOULD shrink over time, especially as the Boomer generation departs this world at an accelerated pace. 

    This is where I’m stuck. What to do next to help my community, state, nation and planet find its way out of moral and political darkness? Getting rid of Trump is not the answer. AT BEST it’s a start. It could as easily be a minor bump in the road to tyranny. In the meantime, I’m huddled up (or hunkered down) for the Winter and duration of the 2020-21 pandemic anxiously awaiting my turn to get a “jab” or two.  Cheers

  5. I fondly refer to Rokita, my former congress-critter, as “the dumbest member of Congress who is not Louie Gohmert.”

  6. What has happened to people just being good, solidly honest, caring, helpful, generous . Oh wait, apparently to be one of today’s Republicans, you cant possess any of those traits. You have to be selfish, brutal, rude, narcissistic, a liar, womanizer, or a hypochristian, borderline criminal.
    Maybe we need to abolish political parties. Everyone becomes an independent. That way they can vote their conscience not be beholden to any other person or party.

  7. seems like rokita is a lobbyist for hire. maybe we need to define the word and its needs,and compare those who seek office with the intent they go to congress with.
    id like to,point out a story in the Intercept, it has to do with trumps cronies,and the civil service. seems the admin is hell bent of changing how contracts are passed on,and who gets fired if they get in the way.. seems the heritage foundation is spearheading the assault on the employees,over corprate greeds. “the trump admin has planted a landmine in fed agencies.Matt Cunningham-Cook..”
    best wishes.i hope you all have a safe holiday,wherever. im home and cooking up some food and sending a few bucks to the food gurus at the new pantry in Bismarck..

  8. Why is Indiana wasting it’s money on a Texas problem? Hill was bad enough in the role of attorney general and now we go from bad to worst. Heard Rokita at a gun rally in Indy a few years ago. As the only protestor there, I don’t think Rokita is the kind of guy with want as attorney general. His conservative views do not reflect anything close to civility. I’m afraid Indiana will be continuing to defend ridiculous claims that do not involve our citizens.

  9. Indiana? LOL!

    Can’t say as I know a whole lot about Indiana’s history, I do enjoy the children’s Museum in Indianapolis, we’ve taken our grandchildren there a few times. 1st dealings I ever had with Indiana was a young newlywed and my new wife and I went to French lick Springs, the home of Larry Bird, LOL!

    Your French lick hotel said that they had it all, but, as really teenage newlyweds, we didn’t expect to see much outside of our honeymoon suite.

    When we arrived, there seemed to be some confusion! I went into register, and then when my wife came in, suddenly there was a mistake in the registration. My wife was and is extremely dark complected and African-American with a huge Afro of course, and I was lighter with long wavy hair that I had in a ponytail past my shoulders. That seemed to strike a chord with the desk manager and some of the others at the hotel.

    Needless to say things had gotten fairly heated by me, but, not really my wife, as she just wanted to leave! I looked at things differently, and, never desire to capitulate. My wife was just the opposite, she was and is meek and mild, and truly can find the ability to love those who treat her like trash. I’ve never been that fortunate.

    When we went to dinner that 1st night, they wouldn’t seat us at the same table. I couldn’t wrap my thought process around that particular effort by management, and they remained stubborn even after they knew we were on our honeymoon! Needless to say that was probably the best part of our stay, we left early and spent the remainder of our honeymoon time in Chicago.

    I will have to say that Indiana, especially that portion of it, was more overtly Klanish than Alabama or Mississippi or South Carolina or Georgia and even Ohio! So it doesn’t surprise me when I read some of the stuff that Sheila posts on her blog concerning Indiana and its inbred systemic racism!

    I can see why a lot of the youth bail on that state! The state AG wanted to be called general, LOL, it sounds like a Banana Republic and Hee Haw barn dance Klan rally birth child! Of course that never stopped Indiana from having their hand out asking for federal money that’s been tainted with all of the unworthy’s across this country! Indiana is one of the biggest takers out there.

    And, I imagine it’s just a microcosm of a majority of the square mileage that makes up this country. It might not contain a majority of the population, but it occupies the majority of empty space. And when government hands those, who live in that empty space, a permission slip to hate, well, even though they’re supported by the blue for the most part, they’re all in on the hate part! And, sometimes I’d like them to suffer for their stupidity, maybe if they all catch Covid 19, and could be last on the list for treatment! Although that would be fairly cruel! I can’t see the kids having to pay the price of their elders ignorance.

    I suppose it’s just a repeat of history, stupidity, an overabundance of self-worth and self-importance is the human condition, it allows the nincompoops to self aggrandize their perceived brilliance (legends in their own minds) which basically is a slow suicide for humanity.

  10. Hey we may be straining to surpass dens of iniquity like Mississippi and Florida, but we left Texas in our dust long ago. Something for all Hoosiers to be ‘proud’ of.

  11. I guess Indiana needs its own march after Rokita takes office. It would need to be a highly integrated march that includes immigrants, Black Lives Matter, environmentalists, LGBTQI people. We need to create a float of Rokita like the one made of Trump. Let’s put him in a diaper.

  12. The Texas bonkers lawsuit was a sedition lite piece of trash played for the right wing and, of course, failed – but did it? Perhaps its purpose was not to win but to give talking points to Proud Boys and those of their ilk as a pretense of legality and it’s too bad that the AGs who signed on to this Texas garbage litigation as “friends of the court” (who are better described as “enemies of the court”) and who hide behind “policymaking” cannot be successfully indicted. So why worry about a mere seditious effort in court when you see a candidate for office cozy up to the world’s dictators, effectively kill 300,000 Americans, and garner seventy million votes for a second term?

    To today’s issue – Indiana’s AGs have company. The legislative supermajority also resides in the cave, some in the nether portions thereof. Thoughtful policies and principles in governing are unnecessary in a legislative dictatorship and it is not surprising that their AG spawn either are or pretend to be of the same mindset. We are in a bunch of trouble when virtually the only qualification for public office is that one need only have an R beside his/her name on the ballot.

    Parenthetically, perhaps with the change in names of the Cleveland Indians out of regard for the racial sensitivities involved Hoosiers can change Indiana’s name to what it most resembles these days, i. e., Mississippi North, and its capital to Mississippiapolis, but if you are waiting for cavemen and women to demonstrate such sensitivity you will have a long time to wait – probably, if ever, Ds supplant Rs.

  13. DEMOCRACY IS THE ENEMY AND MUST BE ELIMINATED; it’s a decision some have made.

    We are wrong to assume that every ‘red-blooded American’ in the USA is all in on the side of democracy and that incidences of individuals advocating undemocratic policy is an act of ignorance or deviltry or some shortcoming in civic proficiency.

    Why? Because many Americans — billionaires, leaders, on down to the homeless — decided some time ago that DEMOCRACY DOES NOT WORK FOR THEM.

    If democracy means that society can limit my ability to foul the air and water in order to make more profit, then democracy is failing me.

    If democracy means that society — with the Constitution being accessory to the fact — can limit my ability to legislate policy that only helps me or my financial supporters, then democracy is failing me.

    If democracy means that society can decide how I must treat people I don’t like, then democracy is failing me.

    If democracy means that society can dictate how fast I drive my car, how safe my truck has to be, that my seatbelt is fastened, that I must not drink and drive, then democracy is failing me.

    If democracy means that society can deny me a job and force me into homelessness because it objects to meaningless things like hygiene, slovenliness, felony, child molestation, then democracy is failing me.

    If democracy is failing me, then DEMOCRACY IS THE ENEMY and must be eliminated.

    Thus, much of the undemocratic, unAmerican sentiment/behavior we are seeing is a deliberate attack on democracy. But too many of us are fooled by the sundry camouflages the anti-democracy forces use to cover their attack — just a difference of opinion; my philosophy is different than yours; it’s a religious thing; it’s cultural; we don’t know better; we’re just frustrated; we have grievances; and on and on.

    If we can’t recognize the criminal intent in unAmerican behavior and manufacture the will to do something about it, maybe our civic proficiency is less than we think and failing us, too.

  14. I remember from a very long time ago how appalled I was upon learning about India’s caste system.

    I’m even more appalled by it here.

  15. In politics South Carolina is competitive in everything vile. Our current AG, Alan Wilson, is the heir of Joe Wilson who shouted “You lie!” at Obama during the State of the Union address and is known for nothing else. Alan recently joined the insurrection by signing on to the seditious Texas lawsuit to throw out votes in swing states. Such defiance of the Constitution assures him of a permanent place in the heart of every redneck in the state, many of whom are graduates of its finest colleges. He continues in the South Carolina tradition, established in 1789, of terrorist politicians whose only aim it is to make America great again by taking down the union and reestablishing the confederacy.

  16. After the last AG got involved in using the office to support political opinions (ie frivolous law suits where Indiana had no standing), I went to the state web site to contact our AG. Now every elected official that I know of has some way to contact them so you can share your opinion or views with them, but NOT the Indiana AG.

    I finally went online to the AG’s state sponsored website and filed a “Consumer Complaint”, about the fact that the Citizens of Indiana were being defrauded by a politician illegally using their office for political campaigning and ask for a citizens of Indiana to be refunded the costs. I named the AG as the target. I was assigned a case number, but I have never heard the result of the investigation.

    After the Indiana AG elect jumped on the Texas Election lawsuit, I contacted the Governor to kindly ask him to reign in this idiot, and tell him to stop using the office for illegal political campaigning, and as an elected official, please make sure citizen have a way to share their opinions. I am not holding my breath on that email either.

    Yes, While Indiana never seemed to set very high standards, it seems like it is racing to the bottom.

  17. Leading up to the Civil War the south seceded and we said no. Now we want them to and they say no, we don’t wanna ’cause we need your money.

  18. I have read that the GOP is using the record breaking turnout to turn the screws on making it easy to vote. Texas and Georgia are leading the pack, certain though other GOP controlled states will follow. More restrictions will follow on absentee voting.

    When you think about restrictions on Absentee Ballots it is so paternalistic. It is like you are back in grade school and need a note from your parental unit to miss school that day.

    I heard on NPR the other day some members of the GOP Extreme Reactionary Right here in Indiana are upset with Holcomb (R-Governor IN) for allowing mail in ballots during the Primary. They are also upset with him for restrictions during the first round of Corona.

  19. Rokita – I can’t think of anything else to add – your “Intro to Rokita” course covered all of the sad basics.

    Patrick – I feel you and sadly agree.

    Peggy – Maybe the people get the government they deserve, but why must I get that government too? I suppose that after the Kansas experiment in radical “Republican” rule, others states will still want to imitate it. I deserve better (and so does everyone else).

    Pete – your mention of the caste system brings back memories of (1) a college class on Indian culture (various levels of allegiance to castes) and (2) remembering when in some circles, you were considered “superior” to say that they were from “the islands” rather than being “negro”. Even the castes in India (and here) sub-divide. Both countries could do without castes.

  20. I grew up a long time ago in Indiana. Even way back then, it was known as the only southern state in the north.

  21. He’s certainly no friend to women: he opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

    In Congress, Rokita authored a bill that would have reduced the availability of subsidized lunches for public school students.

    I find these conflicting statements you want more children to be born to impoverished mothers who cannot afford or in the heat of the moment will not use birth control. Thus they will have children that will require not only free lunches, welfare, SNAP and so many more government services that cost the Indiana taxpayers millions. Pro-birthers believe (which I am one) that sex education should be taught in every school. Free contraceptives should be available to any women who wants them.

    If Roe vs Wade is overturned then the state laws that were in effect when it was enacted would kick in. As always the rich and well to do could easily go to a state that has legalized abortion or head to Canada or Mexico to get a abortion. Then I wouldn’t put it past the Republican’s to try to force women and girls to give up the babies for adoption. Or make illegal to cross state lines to get a abortion. I suspect neither of them would hold up in court. I wouldn’t put it put it past the far right Republican’s to try.

  22. I came to Indiana 83 years ago and soon developed the complaint that my state was too southern in its thinking. Nineteen years later, when I and a business partner opened the Damn Yankee Record Shop in Edinburg, Texas, we would soon learn that Texans did not think Indiana was even close to being a southern state …no matter how many country western albums we stocked. lol

  23. It seems like the Indiana that I first encountered—represented in Washington by Birch Bayh and Vance Hartke, two Democrat Senators, is a lifetime ago. But even after that Democrats like Congressmen Floyd Fithian and Jim Jontz managed to get elected out of largely rural districts. No more. The saying that Indiana is the only southern state in the North is now an insult to the South—especially with the welcome transformations that are gradually taking place in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, soon even Texas.

Comments are closed.