Sunday, September 28, 2008

Indiana GOP Calls Pence's Client List "Detestable"

The Indiana Republican Party is hitting Democratic Attorney General candidate Linda Pence for some of the clients she has represented, including two who she defended in complaints brought by the Attorney General's office. The press statement reads:

"Linda Pence has a long client list full of bad actors and corrupt figures," said Jay Kenworthy, GOP communications director. "While Linda Pence has been out trying to get reduced penalties for companies like CR3 and Rieth-Riley, Greg Zoeller has been working for the taxpayers of Indiana, protecting their tax dollars and keeping the criminals in jail."

"It's simply unacceptable for an attorney general candidate to have such a detestable client list," said Kenworthy.

The issue raised by Kenworthy points up a real problem for Pence. A central theme of her campaign is that the Attorney General's office is too passive when it comes to protecting Hoosiers, and that she intends to crackdown on "big oil companies", child predators and whatever flavor of the day she's espousing. The Muncie Star Press notes the irony of Pence defending high profile cases brought by the current office:

Pence's clients have included CR3, a Muncie tire recycling company that was destroyed during a major tire fire in 2003. Carter's office prosecuted CR3's owners, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false annual tire summary with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. In addition, CR3 pleaded guilty to a felony charge of illegally storing waste tires. A plea agreement also called for the firm to pay $500,000 for a cleanup and $100,000 to the state's waste-tire management fund.

Other clients defended by Pence include state Sen. Sam Smith, D-East Chicago, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor failure to pay sales tax to the state from his funeral home business, and Rieth-Riley, a paving firm involved in a 1999 sidewalks-for-votes corruption scandal in East Chicago.

Pence hit back hard at her GOP opponent, Greg Zoeller, who is Attorney General Steve Carter's chief deputy. "This is a feeble, desperate attack," said Pence, 58, an Indianapolis attorney. "I have literally represented over a thousand clients, and they hire me because I am a fighter and I win, and he's never prosecuted one case," Pence said of Zoeller. "Compare my resume to his and you make the decision. He was Dan Quayle's legislative aide for a long time and a sidekick to Carter for eight years." Pence's attack on Zoeller is a double-edged sword. She can't accuse him of never prosecuting a case and being nothing more than Carter's sidekick at the same time the prosecution of high profile cases under Zoeller's tenure as the office's chief deputy has generated big dollar defense fees for Pence.

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