As you may have heard, Planned Parenthood is suing the State of Indiana over Attorney General Steve Carter's attempt to seize records from forty clinics across the state via his Medicaid fraud division. Feministe has much detail and an attendant story on the usual anti-abortion monkeyshines in the World's Third Worst State Legislature™ (Motto: "Step On It. Mac, Kansas Is Gaining On Us").
Carter's request reportedly does not include abortion records; he's looking for evidence of sexual abuse and whether Planned Parenthood has reported cases of possible molestation. Or so his spokeswoman said; Planned Parenthood, which earlier turned over eight records his office requested, says it doesn't know what he wants the 73 additional records for, and says it reports possible abuse cases as required by law.
The shitstorm started Monday, when the suit was filed. Carter is junketing in D.C. When local teevee caught up with him he said he needed to get back to the state so he could "be brought up to speed." Staci Schneider, the spokeswoman, mumbled something I didn't quite catch about "specific allegations". If so, that's at least an elaboration of her earlier comments. To my knowledge, no one's asked her whether it's the AG's policy to sit on allegations of sexual abuse of 12 and 13 year old girls until they have a large enough batch to justify paying attention to.
But I can tell you a bit about Steve Carter. He was reelected last fall running as The Scourge of Consumer Fraud. He's responsible for Indiana's wildly popular anti-telemarketing Do Not Call List. I voted for the guy, in no small part because his Dem challenger ran hideously racist "street crime" ads.
There was already a storm cloud on the horizon. Carter had inserted himself in a It-Would-Be-Comical-If-It-Weren't-So-Chilling land grab scheme in Indianapolis' wealthy Republican bedroom county of Hamilton. The controversy involved Earlham College and a living history museum called Connor Prairie the college operated under a trust from the late Eli Lilly. In June 2003 Earlham fired 28 board members, local movers and shakers like Board Chairman Berkley W. Duck III. The Indianapolis Star beat the drum for an investigation of this outrage, and Carter stepped in and demanded Earlham open its records on the trust.
I can't comment on the legal questions, though some experts seem to think that Carter was on shaky ground. It revolved around the question of whether the $150M trust belonged to Earlham or was specifically designated for the museum. Instead, let's take a brief treetop-level flight over the ground. It's the fastest-growing and wealthiest county in the state. Carter got more agressive about it after the election, and Earlham eventually agreed to his proposed settlement. As a result, 300 acres of land that used to belong to the museum will be turned over to a condominium developer.
Well, we're all glad that's settled. But Carter's still got a dilemma, even if lining up potential campaign contributors is not going to be a problem. He's a second-termer in a Republican state with a first-term governor. The safe Republican House seats are taken. Dick Lugar is Senator-for-Life, and Evan Bayh probably is too, unless he manages to become President. Am I saying this ham-fisted mission is some sort of political ploy? Heavens, we don't engage in wild speculation in these parts. Mr. Carter's fishing plans are his own business.