It was reported last week that Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter is investigating Planned Parenthood to see if an employee violated the law when a person pretending to be a 13 year old impregnated by a 31 year old man, was counseled to go to an Illinois where parental consent for abortion is not needed and not tell them the age of the man involved.
While I am all for the investigation, this falls into the catoregory of things I do not understand. Steve Carter told Secretary of State he had no authority to investigate voter registration fraud. He told Lafayette housewife and grandmother Diana Vice that his office had no authority to investigate whether Tremco was violating state bidding laws. His office has chosen not to investigate mortgage fraud and other white collar crime, again on the grounds that the Attorney General's Office did not have the legal authority. As with medical licensing issues involved in the Planned Parenthood matter, the Attorney General regulates appraisers, who are key players in mortgage fraud schemes.
Let's be perfectly clear about the what power the Attorney General has and does not have. The Attorney General does not have the power to prosecute. The AG, however, certainly has the power under IC 4-6-1-6 to investigate and turn over the results of the investigation to local prosecutors, as has been suggested would be done in the Planned Parenthood case. Likewise, IC 4-6-2-1 gives the Attorney General the power to file civil actions, such as an injunction, when the AG's investigation reveals illegal activity.
I have never understood the Attorney General's reluctance to get involved in a wide assortment of issues, despite clearly having the authority to do so. County prosecutors in Indiana simply do not have the time or the expertise to investigate white collar crime. They need an active Attorney General's office helping them build cases for prosecution. Hopefully Attorney General-elect Greg Zoeller will make that much-needed change when he takes office on January 1st.
"Attorney General Targets Unsolicited Faxes; But What About Mortgage Fraud and Other White Collar Crime?" (12/14/2008)
"Yes, the Indiana Attorney General certainly does have the legal authority to investigate voter registration fraud" (October 10, 2008).
Maybe PP should hire the right lobbyist.
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