Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Rokita making headlines for wrong reasons

Mar. 30—It appears every week that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Rokita will be seeking a second term in office at the Republican Party's state convention where delegates will vote to fill the nomination for the November general election.

Rokita, along with gubernatorial candidate Mike Braun, has been critical of Gov. Eric Holcomb's handing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holcomb imposed a mask mandate and ordered non-essential businesses to close or curtail operations to prevent the spread of the disease.

Rokita this week said the Indiana Department of Health used inflated numbers when it came to the number of COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, Rokita made a valid point that Hoosiers that contracted the COVID-19 virus should only be counted in a set period of time.

Someone with the virus should not have been counted every day, increasing the numbers somewhat.

This week it was announced by the state that 26,440 Indiana residents died from the virus, with deaths continuing on a weekly basis.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 2.2 million Indiana residents have contracted the virus.

For Madison County, there have been reported 709 deaths and 43,268 cases, with three new cases in the past week.

Rokita's criticism of the count doesn't take into account the number of family members that lost loved ones and the anxiety caused by a positive test for the virus.

The truth of the matter is that, although the number of COVID-19 cases have come down from the highest levels, the virus is still present.

The real question that state officials and Indiana residents should be asking is: What happens when the next pandemic strikes?

Will we rely on health officials to make those decisions, or an elected official with no medical background?

This week, the Indiana Public Access Counselor, Luke Britt, issued an advisory opinion critical of the comptroller's office and Rokita concerning a freedom of information request.

Several media outlets wanted to know how many tax dollars were spent by Rokita's office with a private law firm to represent in a complaint filed with the Indiana Supreme Court.

The documents provided were heavily redacted so that those interested in the information can't determine how much of the $400,000 was spent on representing Rokita.

"All descriptions of work performed have been redacted. This does not allow the public to know whether it got the benefit of the bargain from the service provider hired by the state," Britt wrote in the ruling.

As the state's attorney, Rokita should have provided documents that were not redacted.

Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide's column publishes Saturdays. Contact him at or 765-640-4863.