Attorney general: Fines for absent Democrats OK

Indiana's attorney general says House Republican leaders are on "strong legal ground" in fining Democrats who boycotted the House for five weeks.

Republican Attorney General Greg Zoeller says his office will defend the authority of the legislative branch to determine its own rules for House members.

Democrats who boycotted the House are receiving smaller stipends because the fines incurred during the walkout are being deducted from their checks, and at least one Democrat has suggested fighting the process.

Democratic Rep. Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne had contested the legality of deducting money from his state check to cover the fines, which he opposed.

Zoeller says the ability for the House to administer sanctions is "indisputable" and that it's his duty to defend the House in any possible lawsuits.

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