Is Rokita Even Worth The Pixels?

What is so depressing about living in Indiana these days is the dismal quality of our state government.

I’ve frequently posted about what the late Harrison Ullmann accurately called “The World’s Worst Legislature,” a body currently waging war on Indianapolis and higher education, among other travesties.

I actually had some residue of respect for the governor, who I thought was an “old kind” of Republican caught in the vice of MAGA world, but that respect evaporated when he sent Indiana National Guard troops to the southern border to bolster Texas’ performative pissing match with the federal government.

The embarrassment that is our current legislature is largely attributable to the gerrymandering that allows lawmakers to choose their voters, but that excuse is unavailable when we consider statewide candidates like our Attorney General, Todd Rokita, about whom I have posted more frequently that his sorry career warrants. (Put “Rokita” in the search bar, and multiple examples will come up.)

Rokita’s efforts to out-MAGA the MAGAs in his party have been so egregious and unethical that he was sanctioned by Indiana’s all-Republican Supreme Court.

As Paula Cardoza-Jones (a former member of the Disciplinary Commission) has noted,  Rokita just can’t stop lying:

In 2022, Attorney General Todd Rokita spoke repeatedly and publicly about his investigation into complaints about a doctor who provided abortion services in Indiana to a 10-year-old rape victim who was unable to obtain such services in Ohio.

As a result, Rokita was accused of violating a statute that requires complaints about a doctor “be held in strict confidence until the attorney general files notice with the [Medical Licensing Board] of the attorney general’s intent to prosecute the licensee.”  Ind. Code § 25-1-7-10(a) (“Confidentiality Statute”).

On September 18, 2023, the Disciplinary Commission (“Commission”) filed a Disciplinary Complaint in three counts (“Complaint”), Cause No. 23S-DI-00258, alleging violations of the following Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct (“Rules”):

(1) Rule 3.6(a)—making extrajudicial statements with a substantial likelihood of prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding;

(2) Rule 4.4(a)–using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person; and

(3) Rule 8.4(d)—engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice based on his violation of the Confidentiality Statute.

Members of Indiana’s highest court agreed on the probity of those allegations, only disagreeing about the severity of the sanctions to be imposed. Rokita subsequently issued misleading pronouncements about that conclusion and was again reprimanded by the Court.

You might think being continually slapped down would teach him a lesson, but–despite his focus on Indiana schools–Rokita is clearly incapable of being educated.

As the Capital Chronicle reports:

A new dashboard unveiled Tuesday by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office makes public more than two dozen allegations of “potentially inappropriate materials” in Hoosier schools, like critical race theory materials and gender identity policies.

But numerous local officials told the Indiana Capital Chronicle they weren’t made aware of the complaints and contend the allegations were not properly vetted before the portal went live.

Attorney General Todd Rokita referred to “Eyes on Education” as a transparency tool that intends to “empower parents to further engage in their children’s education” and provide “real examples of indoctrination.”

The portal accepts submissions pertaining to K-12 classrooms, colleges, universities and “other affiliated academic entities in Indiana.” But it is unclear how, or if, they are vetting the accuracy of the allegations.

Given what we know of Rokita, it is highly unlikely that these allegations are being “vetted” at all. His “explanation” makes the politics of this new “portal” abundantly clear.

“As I travel the state, I regularly hear from students, parents and teachers about destructive curricula, policies or programs in our schools,” Rokita said in a statement, adding that the portal allows Hoosier parents to “view real examples of socialist indoctrination from classrooms across the state.”

“Our kids need to focus on fundamental educational building blocks,” he continued, “NOT ideology that divides kids from their parents and normal society.”

Several districts have pointed out that portal submissions were out of date or simply inaccurate–but of course, none of those responses appear on the portal. Representative Ed Delaney notes that–among other issues– public education matters are outside the purview of the Attorney General.

This effort to score political points with the most rabid of the MAGA cultists isn’t simply a dishonest ideological stunt; it exceeds the Attorney General’s jurisdiction.

But hey, it’s Todd Rokita–the “lawyer” who has no respect for the Constitutions of either the U.S. or Indiana, or for the rule of law.

Please vote so that I won’t have to waste pixels on this sorry excuse for a public servant after November.

27 Comments

  1. I agree with John. I like the new format.
    Hopefully someday soon Rokita and his ilk will be nothing more than a footnote to history. Maybe he will be useful as an example of what not to do.

  2. Rs love Fox and X as platforms to spread rumors, opinions and lies. Rokita does the same thing here. I recall Gov. Pence’s plan to create a state government news bureau. Same playbook.

    Vote, donate, volunteer. The Rs must be defeated soundly in November.

  3. Regarding Governor Holcomb – I have the same thoughts that Sheila has about him. Since he has termed out as Gov maybe he plans to spend his final year vying for a spot in trump world.

    Rokita is despicable. Even many Rs view him that way. They saw picking him as the lesser of two evils over reelecting Curtis Hill because they had no intention of electing an honest respectable Democrat attorney like Weinzapfel to the office.

  4. Like the new website, Sheila!

    I enjoy getting Todd’s newsletter and press releases. They are always laughable, as Todd has the most enormous ego. He needs help to grasp recommendations from others. He has no room for growth.

    His education portal invites MAGA parents to snitch on their school system. I envision them reviewing course material to spot “indoctrination material.” Maybe even a trip to the library. Hanging out at board meetings, scouring newsletters, and PTO material. #snitches

    Never mind that “public education matters are outside the purview of the Attorney General.” A portal for MAGA snitches is just a bad idea all around and only promotes further division. It’s not something a state official should be promoting.

    Do we have any sane individuals running for that office this year?

    I will miss his laughable newsletters full of self-promotion. #EGO

  5. Sheila –
    Have you ever considered creating a podcast that covers the issues on your blog? Even if it was just you speaking or reading your blog posts out loud. You could reach so many more people. You would be giving so many people the opportunity to learn how our federal government is supposed to work while also teaching them the truth about the corruption by the corrupt.

    Fellow blog readers/commenters –
    Would any of you also be interested in Sheila starting a podcast?

  6. Hoosiers shouldn’t keep bashing themselves too much. EVERY Republican-controlled government shares these horrors in some form or other. So, before you all get too far down on yourselves, look at Texas. Their Ken Paxton as AG must be vieing (sic) for the most monstrous law person in the nation with Rokita. In every case, red states won’t change until these idiots are voted out. Too bad so many lawyers sleep through their ethics classes.

  7. Love the new format, please follow Sheila’s advice and get this Rokita-thing out of supposed public service.
    I, for one, do not listen to any podcasts.

  8. I am an outsider to Hoosiers. Love the place, don’t understand the people, or at least most of them. I think I’ve been in attendance here long enough that I know Sheila and many of the participants pretty well and consider them friends I haven’t met yet.

    BTW, love the clean new layout. Like most of the thinking here, it’s up-to-date and user-friendly.

    Republicans suffer from delusions of grandeur. They believe that the rest of us owe them allegiance because, except for all of the things still and in some cases growingly wrong, they created who they are, and they did.

    We are exceptions to that. We created who we are because our experience on earth has taught us that the Republican way is ego-fed delusion. They didn’t make us.

    Thank God and god for democracy. We can win this pissing contest without a shot fired or even a lie. They cannot (as the Confederacy learned a handful of generations ago).

    Freedom will prevail again.

  9. I reacted in a similar fashion as did Sheila to Holcomb’s latest political stunt in sending Indiana National Guard troops to Texas. In my view, he is searching (hoping) for something else to do in his post-gubernatorial world.
    Perish the thought that any of these men or women among those troops is seriously hurt or dies from such deployment made for political gain.
    This ploy evokes what one would expect out of the Trump playbook.

  10. Love the pic and format. After retirement, I moved back to my home state of Pennsylvania but, with so many friends still in Indiana, I continue to follow your analyses and keep my eyes open here. Of course your postings on national and international affairs impact us all. I have shared with friends and relatives in many other states. Thank you, Sheila.

  11. Love this new layout! Much easier to read. Rokita is a perfect example of it not mattering how inept, out of touch, or downright dangerous they are, MAGAs will continue to run for office, get elected, and have a platform to spew their hateful messages to a willing audience. And that is very frightening to me. Consider the fact that Curtis Hill is running for Governor as more proof. You would think he’d be hiding under a rock! As far as Holcomb’s decision to send National Guard troops to TX…well…call his office, send him an email. Let him know you don’t agree. Saying nothing = acceptance.

  12. We have two outstanding candidates for attorney general—Destiny Wells and Beth White.
    As for Holcomb sending our National Guard troops to Texas, after his own visit in support of Abbott—I wonder if the purpose is to help Braun, who has his own commercials about visits to the southern border and how he would fix things.
    Personally when I think of immigrants in Indiana, I think of the majority who labor on our farms or in restaurant kitchens; who clean our office buildings and hospitals; who work inside and outside our homes, cleaning our toilets and cutting our grass, who would be, could be out friends as well as our employees or colleagues. Why can’t we think the best of them? Why must we always turn to the fear-mongers?
    Thanks, Sheila, for all your commentaries.

  13. Love the new format and picture, Sheila!
    What Vernon said — the nutjobs are in every state — in SC , we’re know for them!! Linsey Graham, Tim Scott, Joe Wilson, Trey Gowdy, etc.

    Hoping the Blue Wave comes out in force in November!!

  14. You’re right, Sheila. Rokita is not worth the pixels. He thinks he was elected God and doesn’t understand that he is, jurisdiction-wise, to stay in his own lane. We Democrats, fortunately, have an excellent candidate for the office of state AG, Destiny Welles. I have helped fund her campaign and recommend that readers of this note do the same. Her election would end this Maga Man’s influence so rabid that even many Republicans and a totally Republican state Supreme Court’s members rightly detest him for his caveman stances on abortion and education, both of which are none of his business.

  15. It’s the religiosity and age of the population, and unfortunately the young, smart ones leave for bluer pastures. Gerrymandering costs us the balance of the legislature and potentially a couple of congressional seats, but Indiana is hopeless in terms of being a modern state in our lifetimes.

    We should loudly identify the real problem: residents who can not think because of the brainwashing of the Catholic cult and various Protestant sects.

  16. In my opinion, Holcomb has joined Rokita in getting out of his legal lane.

    It seems to me that Holcomb doesn’t have the legal authority to deploy the Indiana National Guard outside the State of Indiana. That authority is reserved for the Pentagon to call the ING into service of the entire nation. I thought that the Supreme Court had so ruled in the case where they decided that States could retain their own Militias in the form of State National Guards.

    I would love to see the Pentagon preempt Holcomb’s order by activating the ING unit and assigning them to the U. S. troops assisting the Border Patrol, thereby taking them away from Texas control.

  17. As a retired teacher with 52 years in Indiana classrooms, Rokita’s “Eyes on Education” abomination would be laughable if it weren’t be so damn frightening. The unhinged MAGA attacks on a profession that I dedicated over half my life to are inexcusable, dangerous, and strike at the very heart of our future as a viable democracy.

  18. I disagree with your description of your view of the world we live in. It is not jaundiced, it is exceptionally clear-eyed.

  19. Is Rokita not concerned about any right wing indoctrination of students in our schools?

    In my nearly 40 years of working for Hoosier educators, I never once heard complaints of educators trying to indoctrinate students with socialist perspectives. I did hear a few complaints about educators (but mostly parents) trying to impose their own religious teachings on students and also about male coaches who opposed Title IX fairness permitting female students to have equal access to athletic funds, equipment, uniforms, and to gymnasiums for practice and competitions. However, the overwhelming majority of educators try hard to motivate and prepare students to study and welcome information from various perspectives to develop their own informed perspectives. Most don’t want students to know there own views.
    My favorite teachers when I was a student were those who would give great rationale for both sides of an argument to make me think long and hard about which was right.

  20. We already have indoctrination in our schools. Why were we not taught about the Tulsa massacre in American history? Why were we taught about redlining in economics? We have indoctrination in our churches. Why are we not taught about black and womanist theologians?

  21. A small clarification: I was not a member of the Disciplinary Commission. I was a full-time staff attorney for the Commission for two years before my retirement.

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