Editor’s note: The following editorial was published by The Republic newspaper in Columbus, and is being republished with permission from Hoosier State Press Association.
For once, Todd Rokita doesn’t feel the need to offer an opinion. Indiana’s new attorney general came under scrutiny last week after it was revealed that he is working part-time for a private health care benefits company while in office.
First reported by the political newsletter Importantville, it was discovered that Rokita received an opinion from the Indiana Inspector General’s Office on Jan. 15 in regards to his continued employment as a strategic policy adviser with Indianapolis- based company Apex Benefits.
While his office maintains that the moonlighting is OK, Rokita has declined to make the IG opinion public. It also has not been disclosed how much time Rokita is spending per week working for Apex — a company in which he has ownership interest.
A spokesperson for Rokita told the Indianapolis Business Journal that the Inspector General’s Office opinion indicated “his interests and outside employment are all squarely within the boundaries of the law and do not conflict with his official duties.”
According to his bio on the company’s website, 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.”
Rokita’s second job may fall within legal boundaries, but the ethics behind it are suspect. He has shown no transparency in his private-sector role, which should raise concerns for Hoosiers.
Hoosiers need to know that Rokita’s part-time job isn’t impacting his full-time work as the top legal official in the state, and there are no conflicts of interest in play.
If Rokita doesn’t release the opinion by the inspector general, he risks diminishing the trust of the public.