It was a pathetic display all around. The two Republican board members (Therese Brown and David Wright) asked ONE question between the two of them and Bopp didn't directly answer a SINGLE QUESTION from Andy Downs' (D) list.
The structure of the meeting was a joke. I assumed it would be a Q&A session that would allow for the board members to have their questions answered by Bopp and/or Kelty. Instead, it started off with Downs giving a 15 minute presentation covering the law, his own commentary and numerous questions.
Instead of answering any of the questions, Bopp immediately attacked Downs:
Frankly I'm taken aback because I've been doing this a long time and have gone before many state and county election boards and I've never seen the prosecutor sit on the board.
You are a Democrat and you have a motive and are acting as the prosecutor. We're not in your classroom.
As expected, Bopp's argument was that the only loans that need to be reported are those made TO the committee. Of course the law explicitly states that loans made TO OR FOR the committee need to be reported but Bopp glossed over that section of the code and nobody challenged him on it. Then he continued his disrespect towards Downs and drew applause from the crowd when he said that Downs was a partisan that was trashing Kelty. He then continued with the same stump speech he made at the press conference.
Eventually Bopp made his argument for why the matter should not be sent to the prosecutor:
There's no case law covering this and since this is not a clear cut matter, and there's no substantial evidence, then it doesn't meet the requirement to be sent to the prosecutor. You need to have a substantial reason to believe there was a violation.
For those of you not in attendance - be thankful. While I've commended our city council for being a shining example of democracy, today's election board hearing was democracy at its worst. How can the Republican board members not have A SINGLE question to ask? To be fair, Wright did ask one question but it was an open ended softball question:
Could you discuss the issue of the contribution being made in another's name?Give me a break. At least he feigned a question - Brown didn't even bother. Her only statement was to say that Downs' presentation was highly subjective and that she didn't see any violation.
And what did Wright have to say of his decision:
I've spent many a sleepless night on this issue. For Therese and I, we're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I want to come out of here with my integrity and honor. I absolutely can't find any violation as the statute stands today. Is there a loophole? Possibly.
Honor and integrity are not words I would use to describe today's hearing. I think the same outcome could have been reached while maintaining the integrity of the election board had the Republican members actually done their job and tried to get some answers. But such is life when dealing with the Allen County Republican Party.
As I was leaving another local blogger asked me what I thought about the hearing and I flipped to the last page in my notebook where I had inscribed a single word that encapsulated my feelings