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Exclusive: Indiana's AG is still employed by health benefits firm
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the attorney general defended the arrangement as approved by the inspector general.
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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is moonlighting as a strategic policy adviser for the health benefits company that has employed him since 2019, his office confirmed Tuesday morning, raising questions about whether the arrangement violates state ethics rules.
An Apex receptionist said Rokita was still employed with Apex Benefits and transferred a reporter to his extension. Rokita’s Apex email and voicemail inboxes were still functioning Tuesday morning.
According to his job description, Rokita “advises Apex and its growing roster of clients who employ thousands of hard-working people on public policy initiatives, internal corporate strategies, and employee benefits compliance outcomes. In the best interest of the company’s clients, he also collaborates with industry experts to drive positive transformation of healthcare and benefits issues.”
In a statement to IMPORTANTVILLE, a spokeswoman for the attorney general defended the arrangement, which she described as narrower in scope.
“Todd Rokita is working with Apex Benefits in a limited capacity as a strategic policy advisor and retains an ownership interest in the company, along with being a director or executive board member of several other entities,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to IMPORTANTVILLE. “Attorney General Rokita has sought and obtained an advisory opinion from the Inspector General’s office, indicating that his interests and outside employment are all squarely within the boundaries of the law and do not conflict with his official duties. Todd Rokita has built up private sector business interests that he will maintain as Indiana Attorney General, which were and will continue to be disclosed as required in publicly available financial disclosure reports and which reflect income from several sources.”
The spokeswoman declined to provide a copy of the inspector general’s advisory opinion.
“Disclosing information contained in the advisory opinion would violate the standard non-disclosure agreements signed previously with these entities, therefore the advisory opinion will not be made public,” the spokeswoman said. “Compensation information also is not public.”
A spokeswoman for the State Ethics Commission said the commission has not received a request to issue a formal advisory opinion from the attorney general. Rokita hired former state Inspector General Lori Torres as his Chief Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff in December. It was initially unclear whether Torres wrote the opinion; after publication, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General told IMPORTANTVILLE that Rokita requested the opinion on January 12, after Torres had finished her duties as inspector general.
According to state ethics rules, “the attorney general shall, on all business days, during business hours, be at the office, in person or by a deputy, unless engaged in court or elsewhere in the service of the state.”
Indiana Democratic Party officials say they're concerned about what they describe as a clear conflict of interest from Rokita. They say it shows he views the job as a part-time partisan seat.
"Todd Rokita throws rhetorical tantrums about so-called 'cancel culture' and 'censorship' because his actions consistently reveal the attorney general is nothing but a jerk who lacks the human decency and values we cherish as Hoosiers," a state party spokesman said in a statement. "In the span of just 48 hours, Todd Rokita proved to Hoosiers why accountability matters in Indiana politics, but unfortunately, he is a part of an Indiana Republican Party that believes conflicts of interests, democracy, and our American values no longer apply to them. They are sorely mistaken, and it's why the INGOP will continue to destroy the trust voters handed them last year."
Apex hired Rokita in February 2019 as a general counsel and vice president of external affairs. Rokita appeared before on Jan. 6 Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Senate Bill 1, a COVID-19 liability protections bill, five days before he was sworn into office.
This is a developing story and will be updated on a rolling basis.