Hill announces $220K fundraising haul, but not re-election bid

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Whether Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is officially running for re-election next year has yet to be announced, but the embattled AG claimed his political action committee scored a record fundraising haul in the past two months.

In an email Wednesday, the Curtis Hill for Indiana PAC announced what it called “a record at this point in the cycle for an Indiana Attorney General”—more than $220,000 in recent months. A significant amount of the contributions are from large, out-of-state donors.

At the same time, Hill has yet to officially announce whether he will seek a second term as AG amid a sexual misconduct scandal that has overshadowed his term with calls for his resignation from Gov. Eric Holcomb and Statehouse leaders of both parties.

Spokespeople for Hill’s campaign declined to answer a direct question from Indiana Lawyer on Wednesday about whether Hill would run for re-election as AG.

The Hill campaign’s three-paragraph statement did not say whether Hill was a candidate for re-election, but instead touted his fundraising prowess, attributing those results to his actions as AG.

“From challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare to fighting illegal immigration to defending the right to life, I have taken on the tough fights as Attorney General. It’s been one of the highest honors of my life to serve and I am just getting started,” Hill said in the statement.  “I look forward to continuing to work to defend the rule of law, our conservative values and our way of life.”

But Hill faces legal and ethical obstacles to a potential re-election bid. He and the state are being sued by a lawmaker and three legislative aides who claim he groped them at the 2018 legislative end-of-session party and then used the resources and platform of his office to retaliate against them. H

ill in October also must answer to a Disciplinary Commission complaint about those accusations, which may jeopardize his license to practice law and continue serving as AG.

Hill also faces a political obstacle: an announced rival for the Republican AG nomination that will be decided by delegates to the party convention next year, not by voters in a primary election. Bose McKinney & Evans LLP attorney John Westercamp kicked off his campaign for the GOP nomination for attorney general last month with a campaign-style statewide swing.

Westercamp also has established a PAC—Friends of John Westercamp—chaired by Bose partner Brantley H. Wright. Bose partner Kevin Andrew Halloran is listed on campaign disclosures at the PAC’s treasurer. Westercamp has yet to report any contributions.

While announcing a total of $220,000 raised in the last two months, Hill’s campaign has not yet reported the source of those all those contributions. However, several of the donations are large enough to require immediate reporting, and more than one-quarter of the amount Hill has raised has comes from large, out-of-state contributors. According to the Indiana Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office, those donors are:

— Thomas E. McInerney, CEO of Bluff Point Associates, a private equity firm and venture capital company in Westport, Connecticut, who donated $25,000 on June 17;

— The Republican Attorney Generals Action Fund, which gave $20,000 on May 24;

— John Catsimatidis, New York billionaire, CEO of Manhattan grocery chain Gristedes Foods, and radio talk show host who recently purchased radio station WABC-AM in New York, donated $12,500 on May 31;

— Ginger Myers, co-owner with her husband, Keith, of Louisiana-based in-home health care services provider LHC Group and Coteau Grove Thoroughbred horse farm in Sunset, Louisiana, donated $10,000 on June 6.

Additionally, Brian J. Smith, a financial/investment professional from Bristol, Indiana, gave $10,000 on April 29.

Hill’s PAC had a balance of about $121,000 as of January 2019, according to online records. Hill raised and spent about $1.5 million in his 2016 campaign for AG, financial disclosures show. His Democratic opponent in the AG's general election race that year, Lorenzo Arredondo, raised and spent about a tenth of that amount.

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