Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Anonymous" Donors to Sheriff Candidate Dennis Fishburn's Campaign; Pike Pro-Referendum Group Fails to File Pre-Election Report

Skimming through Sheriff candidate Dennis Fishburn's campaign report, I notice 12 contributions listed as "Anonymous" for a total of $2,376. Eleven of the twelve contributions are for $200. Since when can candidates take contributions and list them as being from "Anonymous?"

Also, Fishburn has an in-kind contribution for "6 signs, rental space" for $3,400 from Midwest Sports Complex, Inc. Corporations can only donate an aggregate total of $2,000 in local campaigns.

Meanwhile, the political action committee set up to promote the Guion Creek school referendum "Pike Taxpayers for Better Schools" has failed to file its pre-election finance report that was due by April 16th. The PAC, which has purchased yard signs and supposedly set up phone backs and is doing mailings, obviously has raised and spent a considerable amount of money. Voters and the public deserve to know who has contributed money to the campaign and how that money has been spent.

Here's the hitch. When I called the Marion County Election Board I was told that anyone late with a report is incurring a $50 a day fine and will be notified by the Election Board that its report is late after the fine reaches the $1,000 cap on such fines. Of course that $1,000 cap isn't hit until 20 days passes, putting the notification of a campaign law violation after the campaign is over. In short, for a $1,000 fine the Election Board is allowing the PAC and other candidate committees I'm sure, to avoid disclosing finances prior to the election. Given the history of the Marion County Election Board, I'm sure the Board will greatly reduce the PAC's fine or waive it completely.

13 comments:

Cato said...

Never run for office. It's a quick way to jail. It's set up so the initiated can navigate the land mines they planted, while the newcomer will be bled dry by the multitude of fines and traps placed by the bureaucracy.

Larry said...

Hey Paul, while your on the sheriff's dept. kick, I just saw a commercial for democratic candidate John Layton that shows him in uniform and with police cars in the background.
From what I can tell this is a violation of the hatch act
(link for those that read the blog, not so much for Paul)
http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm

I wonder if Tom John and Fishburn will go after Layton for this violation or do they only reserve this honor for candidates of their own party that don't bow down as required.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Larry, I'm not sure that's a violation or not but I wouldn't think the particular violation would be of the "Hatch Act." The Hatch Act is an act passed by Congress to prevent federal civil service employees and recepients of federal grants from running for office.

I'll look at the website though...maybe I'm wrong. It's happened once or twice.

Larry said...

Paul,
The particular section I believe would apply is here:
http://www.osc.gov/haFederalLessRestrisctionandActivities.htm

In particular the last 2 items:
Engaging in political activity while:
# on duty;
# in a government office;
# wearing an official uniform; or
# using a government vehicle.


In my opinion (I'm NOT a lawyer so take that for what its worth) the big question is whether Layton falls under the definition of Lesser Restriction or Greater Restriction. Both of those designations appear to observe the above mentioned political restrictions.

pike said...

Paul - since the MSD of Pike is "Promoting" the Guion project inside the school buildings throughout the township as well as on their website, who would look into these infractions - the Marion County Prosecutor's Office or the State Attorney General?

varangianguard said...

Larry,

I believe that Col. Layton would have to be directly administering Federal program funds for the Hatch Act to apply.

Generally, the Hatch Act covers most Federal employees, not State and/or Local ones.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Pike said:

"since the MSD of Pike is "Promoting" the Guion project inside the school buildings throughout the township as well as on their website, who would look into these infractions - the Marion County Prosecutor's Office or the State Attorney General?"

Please provide me proof of this - handouts, papers, anything. I'd be more than happy to turn people in for violating the law. I'm not sure who enforces the law. That's one thing that's not quite clear.

Larry said...

varangianguard,

I agree with you , I'm just curious if he has received any federal funding. I wouldn't know how to actually check this. I believe that Tom John/Dennis Fishburn used that angle to try and disqualify the McAtee campaign so I would expect them to try it with Layton as well. Even if they loose the complaint, it would cost Layton campaign money which is the real goal of such a tactic anyways.

varangianguard said...

Larry,

It would have to be that Col. Layton directly administered MCSD programs that were funded with Federal monies.

At his rank, I wonder if he "directly" administers anything. Offhand, I doubt anyone above Major would even be worth looking into.

Still, if you are so disposed, you would want to acquire public records as to Col. Layton's exact responsibilities within the MCSD. Persistence, and sometimes, the opinion of the State Public Access Counsel might prove helpful as well.

american patriot said...

>>since the MSD of Pike is "Promoting" the Guion project inside the school buildings throughout the township as well as on their website, who would look into these infractions<<

Can the Speedway School system superintendent accept money for a PAC trying to pass a school tax referendum?
If you check out the CFA-4 (use the Carmel and Fishers link) on the Speedway Redevelopment blog you will see that Ken Hull is listed as receiving all the money. The PAC's address is the same as Tamara Hull, contributor #3 on page 3. I wonder if she is related.

As the French would say, something is vichy...

The Professor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Professor said...

If you want to see if Layton is violating the Hatch Act, just Google news search all the articles about sheriff candidates that had to resign from their departments to run for sheriff during the last two election cycles. The fact is Layton oversees how the federal funds his department received are spent. The Hatch Act web site also has several example letters that they have sent to candidates in the past that ring very close to what Layton is currently doing. The actual paperwork for filing a Hatch Act violation even states

"State and Local Employees are prohibited from*:
1. Using their official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election
or a nomination for office.
2. Coercing, attempting to coerce, commanding, or advising a State or local officer or employee to pay, lend, or
contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency, or person for political purposes.
3. Being a candidate for partisan political office."

I am very sure that we could find instances where Layton has done several of each point listed above.

Also look at the last Mayors race in Terre Haute. The Hatch Act office found a violation did occur, but the Republicans did not bring it up till after the election. Marion County Republicans do not have the will to bring it up.

As for the vehicle on his web site, and his uniform in the ads and such, that was once a state law or something. It is either IC code or something in the election regulations.

Layton will continue to violate the Hatch Act, and several other things however, because both of the main parties must turn their backs on the corruption of the other. If they didn't they would all be in a mess.

american patriot said...

Another sheriff fighting the Hatch Act.
http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/05/07/Hatch.pdf