The AG has denied the allegations and has called for an investigation into the accusations.
Mykal McEldowney and Ethan May, Indianapolis Star
Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office said it paused Friday the automatic posting feature on the state government’s social media accounts after one post caused a dust-up on Twitter.
The auto-post feature drew scrutiny after the official @IN_gov Twitter account posted a link Thursday to a statement by Attorney General Curtis Hill criticizing one of the four women who have accused him of inappropriately touching them at an Indianapolis bar in March.
The auto-post features on the state’s social media accounts will be paused “until we review if and how to resume their use,” Holcomb’s press secretary Stephanie Wilson said in an email to IndyStar.
Thursday’s tweet, posted just before 5 p.m., included the headline of a press release sent by the attorney general’s office — “Accuser sought guidance to strengthen attack on Attorney General Curtis Hill” — and a link to the release.
In the statement, Hill accuses Senate Republican staffer Niki DaSilva of coordinating with others to write a letter shared with IndyStar in which she accuses Hill of inappropriately touching her buttocks during a party on the final night of the regular legislative session in March.
Along with DaSilva, two other legislative staffers and one lawmaker have accused Hill of inappropriately touching them during the end-of-session party at AJ’s Lounge.
Hill has repeatedly denied all of the allegations and has rejected calls to step down.
The response from Twitter users over the @IN_gov account posting a link to Hill’s statement was swift, with some calling the post inappropriate and others questioning why Hill’s criticism of DaSilva should be shared on the social media account by a taxpayer-funded agency.
Around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, the @IN_gov account tweeted a statement explaining that the posts are automatically generated from entries posted on the state website and that the tweets are not reviewed. That auto-post policy had been in place for more than five years, the tweet added.
The statement from Hill’s office has caused some to question why the attorney general’s office is being used to defend Hill against the allegations of misconduct.
Gov. Eric Holcomb declined to say Friday if Hill should be able to use state resources and his office to defend himself.
“I’ll let the inspector general deal with that as well,” Holcomb said.
Indiana Inspector General Lori Torres has opened an investigation into Hill in response to calls by both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to take up the matter.
Indiana Democratic Party chair John Zody submitted a public records request to Hill on Friday that asks Hill to explain if he has used public resources in his defense.
The public records request asks Hill to clarify how many attorneys from his office are assigned to assist Hill in the inspector general’s investigation. The request also asks how many attorney general’s office employees work in Hill’s communications office and how many were “directly involved in the production” of the press release that criticized DaSilva.
“The Attorney General’s office is not Curtis Hill’s personal law firm or crisis communications shop,” Zody said in a statement. “Hoosier taxpayers shouldn’t be fronting the cost of his defense. They deserve answers on if public resources are being diverted from official duties and toward Hill’s personal defense.”
Chris Proffitt, Hill’s communications director, said in an email to IndyStar that Hill would not comment on Zody’s public records request or the use of public resources for Hill’s defense.
IndyStar reporter Tony Cook contributed to this story.
Call IndyStar reporter Billy at (317) 444-6123. Follow him on Twitter: @Billy_Kobin.
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