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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - More on: Who speaks for Indiana at the federal level?

Updating this ILB entry from Jan.11th, Niki Kelly reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette under the heading "State official puts deputy in DC to watch the feds." Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Greg Zoeller is sending a deputy to Washington, D.C., to monitor and review federal actions that might affect the state.

The legality of the move, though, is unclear since several bills filed this year in the Indiana General Assembly to create such a position have not yet passed.

Senate Bill 36
expands a 1905 statute that allowed for the appointment of one assistant in the nation’s capital related to claims involving swamplands and swampland indemnity.

Specifically it allows a deputy to review and monitor federal legislation, regulations and administrative actions and take any action the attorney general finds necessary to respond to or influence a proposal.

Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Zoeller, said the bills were filed out of caution and Zoeller is creating the position on an interim basis administratively until then. * * *

The bill related to the new job is being heard Wednesday in a Senate Committee.

Corbin was unaware whether any other state Attorney General has a staffer on-hand in Washington, D.C.

Also today the FWJG has published this editorial, the second of two under the heading "Unappealing Choices":
Indiana has nine elected U.S. representatives and two U.S. senators who represent Hoosiers in the nation’s capital. But that’s not enough for Zoeller, who assigned a deputy attorney general to work as a Washington lobbyist. The move seems at least partially motivated by Zoeller’s anti-federal government politics.

“Lobbyists and special interest groups live in Washington and have regular access to Congress and they often work to undercut the authority of state governments and centralize the authority of the federal government,” Zoeller said in a news release announcing the appointment of Richard Bramer to work in Washington.

The news release notes that Zoeller, at the request of Sen. Richard Lugar, prepared a report analyzing the Affordable Care Act. Part of that research was later used to help support the lawsuit Indiana and 25 other states filed in a failed attempt to block the health care law. While Zoeller uses the example as a reason to have a Washington lobbyist, it instead proves that Indiana can challenge the actions of Congress without having an attorney general’s lobbyist in Washington.

And don’t 11 elected members of Congress already represent Indiana?

After being elected in 2006, Ohio’s attorney general was the first to send a lobbyist to Washington.

But the job was eliminated less than two years later.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 15, 2013 09:10 AM
Posted to Indiana Government