05/26/2010 01:19 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dems Accuse Indiana Senate Candidate Dan Coats Of Hiding 'Critical Information' About Lobbying Past

(AP) - Indiana Democratic Party chairman Dan Parker demanded Tuesday that Dan Coats release details of his previous lobbying work, saying the Republican Senate candidate cannot use attorney-client privilege as a reason not to do so.

In a letter to Coats, Parker calls on him to "immediately and fully disclose" his lobbying clients with the Washington law firm King & Spalding, saying it is "critical information" the state's voters need to decide in November.

Parker said Coats and his campaign staff have repeatedly cited attorney-client privilege as an excuse for not releasing the names of his former lobbying clients and the details of the work he did for them.

"He is hiding behind typical Washington insider stuff. He's hiding behind the law firm, he's hiding behind attorney-client privilege. He's hiding behind all these things," Parker said.

Coats' campaign spokesman Pete Seat said the campaign has never used attorney-client privilege as a reason why the campaign had not yet released details of which clients Coats worked for and what issues he lobbied on their behalf.

Parker noted an ABC News interview in May in which Coats mentioned the topic. In response to a question about his lobbying work, Coats told ABC that Democrats were distorting his lobbying work and said: "I'm willing to sit down and explain it. The problem is attorney-client relationship."

Seat said Hoosiers have a right to know the details of Coats' work and that the campaign staff was double-checking the lobbying list to ensure its accuracy. He said it would be available soon.

He called Parker's comments the "same attack, different day" and "an attempt to change the subject and distract Hoosiers" from the record of Coats' opponent in November, U.S. Rep Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind.

Seat also said Coats has not been a licensed attorney since 2003.
Parker said that even if Coats was a licensed attorney, the American Bar Association has said recent court decisions have found that the attorney-client privilege does not extend to lobbying activities.

He said Indiana voters deserve to know who Coats has represented, in part to give them context on the issues Coats is speaking out about, including the federal bailout of the U.S. banking industry. Parker said the details are important because Coats has lobbied "for the very Wall Street banks that he's complaining about."

Coats won this month's Republican Senate primary. He faces Ellsworth, a two-term congressman chosen this month by Democratic Party leaders as their nominee.

Both men are seeking to replace Democrat Evan Bayh, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.