INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, citing the growth of federal government activity that impacts the state's government, announced last week that he has assigned a deputy attorney general to serve in the nation's capital.
Zoeller said Friday Richard M. Bramer will work with members of Indiana's congressional delegation to monitor and review bills moving through Congress and proposed regulations moving through federal agencies.
Bramer will then advise the Attorney General's Office of upcoming issues so that the state can make its position known and recommend action if necessary, Zoeller explained.
Bramer also will seek opportunities for state government to provide testimony to committees and regulatory agencies, the attorney general said.
"Lobbyists and special interest groups live in Washington and have regular access to Congress and they often work to undercut the authority of state governments and centralize the authority of the federal government by claiming the states are only a 'crazy-quilt patchwork' of inconsistent jurisdictions.
"From my own experience I know that a physical presence at the Capitol succeeds better in dealing with the federal government than sending a letter," Zoeller said.
Bramer served in various capacities in the Attorney General's Office from 2002 to 2011, including chief counsel of the Advisory Division, which renders legal opinions for state government.
He recently returned to work again for the Attorney General's Office as a deputy attorney general after serving in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.
"Having met with some of the members of Indiana's congressional delegation, I am looking forward to this assignment that focuses on the federal government's impact on our state clients," Bramer said in a statement last week.
Under an existing state law, the Attorney General's Office can -- at the request of an Indiana member of Congress -- review any congressional bill and prepare a report and analysis on it.
"The framers of the U.S. Constitution intended that under the system of federalism, the federal government would respect the sovereign state governments; but in recent years we have seen increasing federal government expansion into the states' zone of legal authority," Zoeller said Friday.
"Given the sheer volume of bills and amendments to bills in Congress and proposed regulatory actions moving through the arcane federal government bureaucracy that affect the states, it's important that we have someone on the ground in Washington, D.C., monitoring these changes so that my office, Governor-elect Pence's office and our members of Congress and the Legislature have an early warning of potential changes adversely affecting Indiana."
Zoeller said the deputy attorney general position will be funded through the Attorney General's Office's existing budget under contract for $55,500.
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