Thursday, December 27, 2007

Election Board Member Should Resign

Months ago during the Election Board's first hearing on Matt Kelty's campaign finance violations, board member David Wright informed all those in attendance that it would be his final hearing because he would be stepping down. Wright then went on to embarrass himself and the sully the board's credibility by not asking a single substantive question during the hearing. Readers might remember that I rightly chastised the board at that time.
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.

Now we find out that special prosecutor Dan Sigler feels the same way I do:
In his response to a motion to dismiss Kelty’s charges, Sigler, a Democrat, wrote that the Republicans asked only one question before the board voted to find no violation.

Sigler wrote that the board disregarded its power to question witnesses under oath and its power of subpoena.

“The board ignored its investigative powers and had an absolute minimum invested in examining the defendant (Kelty’s) violations,” he wrote.

By contrast, Sigler said the grand jury met for more than a week and interviewed 15 witnesses and examined thousands of pages of bank records, e-mail and other documents.

The Election Board should certainly be embarrassed by their handling of the Kelty complaint. Andy Downs was the only member of the board that took that hearing seriously and actually tried to get answers out of the Kelty campaign. While his approach was ineffective, it should be noted that he was completely stonewalled by Jim Bopp with the help of the other two board members.
Andy Downs, Democratic member of the board, said all of Sigler’s assertions were accurate, noting he thought he asked several good questions that weren’t answered by Kelty or his attorney, Jim Bopp.

“We didn’t push the issue very far,” Downs said.

Instead of owning up for abdicating his duties as Board Member David Wright continues to make excuses and they're simply unconvincing:
David Wright, Republican member of the board, said he still doesn’t believe Kelty broke campaign finance law and felt the board did everything it was supposed to do.

“What does he (Sigler) expect us to do?” he said. “It’s not a grand jury. We don’t go out and investigate.”

Well that's true I suppose - this board certainly didn't go out and investigate. But I have news for Wright, something he should obviously know as a member of the Election Board, he can investigate. In fact it's spelled out right there for him in the Indiana Code:
IC 3-9-4-13
Audits; investigations
Sec. 13. The election division and each county election board shall make audits and field investigations from time to time with respect to reports and statements filed under this article and with respect to an alleged failure to file a report or statement required under this article. The election division may request the state board of accounts to assist in the performance of audits the election division considers necessary, and the state board of accounts may perform the audits that are requested.

It's time for some changes...

2 comments:

Scott B. said...

It seems to the election board (at least the republicans) were only interested in politics and did not or would not see the broader issue. It just goes to show the further breakdown of democracy because people are too involved in politicking instead of governing reasonably.

otto said...

Scott,
I don't disagree with you, but I don't think is a question of good people. When the Republicans have a lock on politics in the county for 70 years you can't expect too much-it becomes a structural problem.

We have Kelty to thank for spliting up the Kabbal. People...aka politicians are tired of submitting to the 10% extortion of their salaries to Steve Shine et. al. for the honor of serving.

Despite all of the Republicans praising of competition etc, there has been no political competition around here in decades-thanks to the organized crime structure of the Republican party. The Dems can't be let off easily either...they could keep pounding this extortion racket, but they don't want to rock the boat-lest their positions are threatened.

A classic example of this is Tracy Warner. He takes the easy and honest shots at Kelty as a substitute for real investigative journalism. He has to admit that Kelty was a gift of god. He can appear to be an investigative reporter/editorialist who asks serious questions and we all think that FW has an honest press...oh I forgot they did that fish story