Lawsuit claims Indiana treasurer granted illegal contracts

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Indiana’s state treasurer violated state law in handing out contracts that paid more than $6 million to firms linked to her political supporters.

The lawsuit filed by a former top office staffer claims Republican Treasurer Kelly Mitchell bypassed required approvals from other state agencies in giving the contracts for lobbying and financial services without seeking competitive bids.

The lawsuit alleges those contracts went to eight banks, a financial services company and the Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller that directly made campaign contributions to Mitchell or had business ties with others which did so. A senior partner at Ice Miller was Mitchell’s campaign chairman before it received a $3,000-a-month lobbying contract.

Officials for Mitchell’s office and Ice Miller declined to comment Tuesday on the allegations.

The whistleblower’s attorney, Chris Wolcott, said Mitchell’s actions should be troubling to all taxpayers and that the money should be repaid immediately.

The lawsuit claims the treasurer’s office began issuing the contracts soon after Mitchell took office in 2014.

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