Doctor who provided minor abortion care sues AG Rokita for ‘baseless investigation’

By Whitney Downard Indiana Capital Chronicle Nov. 3, 2022  Two Indianapolis doctors — including one at the center of a controversial abortion case over the summer — filed suit Thursday against Attorney General Todd Rokita (above) to block his office from continuing a “baseless investigation into physicians who provide abortion care.” The suit claims Rokita overstepped his statutory limits when investigating Dr. Caitlin Bernard, using meritless claims to launch an overly-broad investigation. The Attorney General’s office said Thursday it would defend itself in court. Bernard provided abortion care to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio after that state’s strict anti-abortion…

John Krull commentary: Hopalong Rokita has his usual dinner

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita must find it hard to walk. The state’s lawyer doesn’t just put his foot in his mouth. He shoves it all the way down his throat and into his digestive track, which leaves him hopping clumsily around and falling frequently. Rokita’s latest instance of foot-in-intestines disease came when, for reasons known only to him, he decided to weigh in on a tweet by rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. (Clearly, Rokita’s duties as attorney general do not give him enough work to keep him occupied. He seems to have endless amounts of time to…

Rokita draws backlash for tweets about Kayne West, Christopher Columbus

By Casey Smith Indiana Capital Chronicle  Oct. 11, 2022 Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (above) drew waves of backlash on social media after he tweet-praised Kanye West’s “independent thinking,” over the weekend and on Monday commended Christopher Columbus for “discovering America.” Rokita’s tweets — on his official state account — came just days after the rapper, who now goes by Ye, made remarks on Instagram and Twitter that were widely criticized as being antisemitic. Ye’s social media accounts have since been restricted for the posts. The Republican attorney general plunged himself into the chaos Sunday afternoon, tweeting a link to an…

Former Supreme Court staff attorney questions Rokita’s adherence to ethical standards in op-ed

A former staff attorney for the Indiana Supreme Court said in an Indiana Lawyer op-ed published Wednesday that Attorney General Todd Rokita may have violated three Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct in his public comments about a doctor who provided abortion services to a 10-year-old rape victim earlier this year. Paula Cordoza-Jones, who retired in 2016, wrote that after saying he would investigate Bernard's licensure and whether she failed to report the procedure properly, as well as describing her as "an abortion activist as a doctor with a history of failing to report,'' Rokita should have corrected his misstatements after…

John Krull commentary: Fun and games on someone else’s dime

Being attorney general in a lot of states—including, apparently, Indiana—must not be that demanding a job. Because these folks seem to have a lot of time on their hands. All too often, they use that time to drag their states into fights that are none of their business. In doing so, they spend their taxpayers’ money on often frivolous squabbles or personal quests for political advancement. Sometimes, the motives are even gamier. The amicus brief filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and signed by 10 other attorneys general—Indiana’s Todd Rokita among them—that protests the search of former President Donald…

Rokita: No “woke” ESG criteria allowed in pension investments

By Leslie Bonilla Muniz Indiana Capital Chronicle Sept. 2, 2022 Indiana and its investment managers can’t make government employee pension system investments based on environmental, social or governance criteria, Attorney General Todd Rokita (above) wrote in an advisory opinion released Thursday. Under state law, Rokita said, those decisions can only take Indiana employees and retirees’ financial interests into account. “Woke big businesses are collaborating with their leftist allies to subvert the will of the people,” Rokita said in a virtual event Thursday. “This includes investing Hoosiers’ pensions in ways that work against the best interest of Indiana families.” So-called ESG framework…

Brooks, Tinder slam Attorney General Rokita for baseless claims

By Leslie Bonilla Muniz Indiana Capital Chronicle August 12, 2022 Former U.S. Congresswoman Susan Brooks and former federal judge John Tinder, in a Wall Street Journal column Wednesday, excoriated Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita for his investigation of the physician who oversaw an abortion on a 10-year-old rape survivor from Ohio. Rokita first announced his office was investigating Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Caitlin Bernard on Fox News’ “Jesse Waters Primetime” on July 13, saying he was examining her license and implying she didn’t properly report the procedure. Though later news accounts confirmed Bernard had followed reporting requirements, Rokita said his office’s investigation continued. “A prosecutor should…

Anti-Common Core activist failed to register as lobbyist for Rokita’s office

By Leslie Bonilla Muniz Indiana Capital Chronicle August 9, 2022 A Hoosiers Against Common Core co-founder turned policy consultant and state contractor mistakenly registered as a lobbyist for the city of Indianapolis rather than the state of Indiana, Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office has confirmed. Erin Tuttle formed Tuttle Consulting, LLC, on August 16, 2021, according to Indiana Secretary of State records. Just one week later, on August 23, Tuttle and Chief Administrative Officer Larry Hopkins signed a two-year, maximum $200,000 contract for research, analysis and communications help for Rokita’s office. The $8,333-a-month contract went into effect August 30 of that year.…

Rokita’s TikTok legal battle part of array of contingency fee contracts

By: Leslie Bonilla Muniz Indiana Capital Chronicle August 1, 2022 When Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office jumped onto a multi-state, bipartisan investigation of social media giant TikTok, it wasn’t initially clear his office would outsource the work to a Washington, D.C.-based boutique legal firm for free — almost. “We’re going to find out whether or not the Chinese, and by definition, if you’re a Chinese company, then the [Chinese Communist Party] is a part of it, is intentionally grooming our children,” Rokita said in a March Fox Business appearance. “… If they’re grooming our kids to get hooked on…

Former IU law school dean calls for Rokita disciplinary investigation

By Casey Smith Indiana Capital Chronicle  July 19, 2022 Indiana’s attorney general maintains he did nothing wrong after a former Indiana University provost and law school dean called for a disciplinary investigation into his televised statements about the doctor who oversaw a medication abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Former IU Maurer School of Law Dean Lauren Robel alleged that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita made “false or baseless” statements on Fox News about Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Caitlin Bernard, according to a three-page letter sent Friday to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. The letter was first-reported Monday by the Indianapolis…

AG Rokita receives ‘cease and desist’ from doctor in 10-year-old’s abortion

By Whitney Downard and Casey Smith Indiana Capital Chronicle July 15, 2022 An attorney representing an Indianapolis doctor has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Attorney General Todd Rokita (above, right) advising him to stop making false and misleading statements about the doctor who oversaw a medication abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Rokita publicly announced he would investigate Dr. Caitlin Bernard, accusing her of not filing the proper paperwork after performing the medical procedure. Filings received through a public records request confirmed the appropriate forms had been filed. “We are especially concerned that given the controversial political context of the…

John Krull commentary: Todd Rokita’s chestnut horse

The explanation Indiana Attorney Todd Rokita offered for settling his silly, silly lawsuit with conservative commentator and radio talk show host Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reveals what Rokita thinks about his voters. He believes they are gullible. Really. Really. Really. Gullible. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, the attorney general is betting that his backers can’t tell the difference between a chestnut horse and a horse chestnut. Rokita writes in an opinion piece he sent around to news organizations that he settled the suit Shabazz and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed against him to save the taxpayers money and him time…

Rokita, Shabazz reach settlement on press-access lawsuit

Journalist Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has had his admission to press conferences with Attorney General Todd Rokita (above) restored—though he says he doubts he'll be called on for questions any time soon. The two reached an agreement before Shabazz v. Rokita could land in court. It stemmed from an October 2021 incident in which Rokita's staff barred Shabazz, an attorney and publisher of IndyPolitics.org, from entering a press conference given by the AG. They claimed he did not have the proper media credentials, even though Shabazz showed his press badge issued by the Indiana Department of Administration. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued on behalf of Shabazz in…

Shabazz v. Rokita lawsuit could hold long-term implications for journalists

The maneuvering continues in the federal lawsuit between Attorney General Todd Rokita and journalist Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (above) that a First Amendment expert says could hold significant implications for how the press covers public officials. The lawsuit—Shabazz v. Rokita—stems from an October incident in which staff in Rokita’s office barred Shabazz, an attorney and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org, from attending a press conference about another unrelated lawsuit that Rokita was filing. Earlier this month, Rokita filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but the case still stands for now. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is suing on behalf of Shabazz in the United States District…

John Krull commentary: Two big Todd Rokita bad habits

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has at least two annoying habits. One is picking senseless fights. The other is wasting taxpayer money. Our money. Both these character flaws are on display in Rokita’s dispute with conservative commentator, radio talk show host and gadfly Abdul-Hakim Shabazz. Their quarrel now has grown into a lawsuit. Let’s be clear about something. This is a stupid, stupid, stupid fight—and the stupidity is all on Rokita’s side. The squabble began last October when Abdul—in media circles, he goes almost exclusively by his first name—tried to attend a Rokita press conference. Rokita’s staff barred him from…

ACLU joins journalist Abdul-Hakim Shabazz in First Amendment lawsuit against AG Rokita

Last year, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita denied journalist Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (above) entry to a press conference through a spokesperson, who said he was not “credentialed media.” Now Shabazz has filed a suit against the AG. Shabazz has been covering politics in Indiana for nearly two decades. Despite presenting state-issued media credentials, Shabazz was not allowed into the news conference and is still barred from the attorney general’s press conferences. On Monday, he joined the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in suing Rokita in U.S. District Court, alleging a violation of the First Amendment. The attorney general’s office released a response.…

Shabazz awaits response from AG Rokita, SPJ demands an apology

The Indiana Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is demanding an apology from Attorney General Todd Rokita (above) to journalist Abdul-Hakim Shabazz after excluding him from a news conference. Shabazz was denied access to Rokita’s press conference on robocalls on Thursday after receiving an invitation to the event and sending his RSVP. Shabazz said he was told that he was not credentialed media, adding that in his 30-year journalism career covering politics, this is the first time he has ever been told his Indiana Department of Administration access badge was not enough.  The Indiana SPJ said in their…

Rokita press conference dispute raises questions about journalist access

Political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (above) says he was turned away from a press conference held by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on Thursday.  Shabazz, editor and publisher of Indy Politics and an attorney, received an invitation to the press conference on robocalls and sent back his RSVP in time, according to his column yesterday, which raises questions about fair press access.  The Indiana Attorney General’s office did not return an email for comment on Friday.   Shabazz and Rokita had a civil relationship up until a Republican primary debate during Rokita’s unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2018, according to Shabazz’s…

John Krull commentary: Todd Rokita’s odd compulsion

When he was a small boy, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita must have been the kind of kid who had to touch a hot stove multiple times before he figured out it burned. Time and age haven’t taught him much. The Indiana Supreme Court just rejected—for the second time—Rokita’s attempt to keep a lawsuit filed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb from moving forward. Holcomb sued the Indiana General Assembly for overriding his veto of a bill that violates the Indiana constitution by granting lawmakers the power to call the legislature back into session. The constitution clearly says only the governor…

Another volley of court filings in Holcomb-Rokita dispute over lawsuit

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Attorney General Todd Rokita (above) continued this week to release conflicting press statements and file court documents in their dispute over the constitutionality of the House Enrolled Act 1123 lawsuit. In April, Holcomb vetoed the bill that would limit his powers during a state of emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after the General Assembly overrode his veto, Holcomb filed a lawsuit against the General Assembly. Now the Office of the Attorney General has filed a court brief in Marion County Superior Court to strike the lawsuit. “These legal issues arose when the Governor unlawfully sued the Indiana General Assembly following…

John Krull commentary: Todd Rokita continues Indiana’s attorney general tradition

There must be something about the office of Indiana attorney general that attracts people who are, as my late grandfather used to say, “half a bubble off of plumb.” Back in the 1970s, the office was occupied by a martinet named Ted Sendak, who famously demanded that everyone call him “General.” He searched for communists under beds and found ways to strut even when he was sitting down. We Hoosiers just rid ourselves of Attorney General Curtis Hill. Hill moved through a celebration at the end of an Indiana General Assembly legislative session like a blind and drunk octopus. Hill…

Rokita files court motion to throw out Holcomb lawsuit against General Assembly

UPDATE: Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has filed a motion for the Marion County Superior Court to strike down Gov. Eric Holcomb’s lawsuit against the Indiana General Assembly over HEA 1123. Rokita, a Republican, issued a statement April 27 saying the governor could not go to the courts because only the Office of the Indiana Attorney General can handle disputes between the state government branches. In a press release sent Friday, Rokita argued “the governor cannot merely sue the legislature over laws he does not like.” The governor’s office declined to comment since the litigation is pending. A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said…

The AG: Rokita assumes an oft-misunderstood office

As Indiana’s statewide offices go, attorney general sounds pretty glamorous — the kind of job that might inspire a fast-paced, drama-filled television series. Alas, while it might get higher ratings than a series devoted to, say, Indiana’s auditor or treasurer, the show probably wouldn’t get renewed for a second season. Simply put, the Indiana attorney general’s office newly occupied by Todd Rokita isn’t what a lot of people think it is — and that statement applies not only to rank-and-file Hoosier voters but also, it seems, to at least some of the politicians who have sought, and even held, the…