Friday, July 16, 2010

Why I am Optimistic About Joe Hogsett's Nomination as U.S. Attorney

I'm getting caught up on my blogging. One topic I wanted to hit was the nomination of former Secretary of State Joe Hogsett as the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. While blogger Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana and I are usually on the same page on the issues, it's a safe bet to say that I am much more optimistic about Hogsett's nomination than what was revealed in Gary's take on the nomination.

Yes, Hogsett started out his career as a protege of Secretary of State turned Governor turned Senator Evan Bayh. I think it's safe to say where it not for Bayh's help, Hogsett career would have turned out far differently. But to classify Hogsett as a "political hack" I don't think accurately represents where he is today politically. I have had a chance to work with Hogsett on a few government reform projects where issues like lobbying and redistricting reform were discussed. I'm not sure if it is because Hogsett's views have evolved over time or not, but he certainly seems sincere about supporting reform efforts that are against the interests of many career politicians.

Hogsett's lack of criminal experience has been raised. But the last confirmed U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks had boatloads of criminal law experience and look how bad she was. Brooks continually looked the other way while white collar crime ran rampant in Indiana.

The U.S. Attorney does not have to be experienced in all the areas the office deals with, but rather it requires someone who surrounds himself with quality people and provides a direction to the office. The U.S. Attorney's office, after the inactivity of Brooks and acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Morrison, needs a shot of adrenaline as well as direction.

I don't really care that Hogsett has lost some elections, elections that by the way were very tough for any Democrat to win. (I would point out that he beat very popular Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut in a state-wide election for Secretary of State.) I admire people who put their reputations on the line in tough political battles.
I've been warned that Hogsett may use his position to revive his political career that's been on hold for some time. I can't criticize political ambition. If Hogsett does a good job as U.S. Attorney I say more power to him using his good work to run for an elected political office.

I am optimistic about the direction Joe Hogsett is going to take the U.S. Attorney's office. Here's the political calculation why. Hogsett knows that any ticket to political success in the future is dependent on his turning the U.S. Attorney's office around. That means aggressively pursuing white collar crime and political corruption in both parties. Even if Hogsett isn't the political reformer I hope he might be, he's smart enough about politics to know that the being a Susan Brooks/Timothy Morrison style U.S. Attorney offers no political payoff. Is it a cynical political calculation? Absolutely. But so what? We would all benefit from an aggressive U.S. Attorney's Office. Who cares if the motivation for changing direction of the office is politics? Politics is not always a bad thing.


Gary R. Welsh said...

Okay, Paul, Joe was Secretary of State with high political ambitions. What did his office do to prosecute securities fraud cases when he was Secretary of State? Help me out here. Hogsett's campaign won that race against Hudnut, in part, by spreading all kinds of rumors about him, including the claim that he had fathered an illegitimate child as a result of an extramarital affair with a city worker, among many other sex-related stories. One of Hogsett's campaign aide's sister is a well-known fortune teller in town, who Hudnut occasionally visited for readings. A couple of weeks before the election a story broke in the Star that Hudnut had been visiting this fortune teller for several years that made headlines all over the state. Now tell me that the fortune teller didn't pass that information on to her brother so the campaign could leak the story to the Star? I really can't stand people who live in glass houses who smear others with innuendo about their sex lives, etc. when their own beds aren't so clean. You of all people should understand that as much innuendo that has been spread about you in an effot to discredit you.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I can't remember too much about his tenure as Secretary of State. I can't tell you what he did prosecuting securities fraud, either good or bad because I can't remember. I defer to your knowledge on that one.

As far as Hudnut goes, it was a lot more than Hogsett's camp spreading rumors. The Goldsmith people were long been active on that front as well as others. Of course, Hudnut gave them a lot of ammunition to work with.

As I recall, what killed Hudnut in the campaign wasn't rumors about his personal life, but rather his increase in the local county option income tax increases. It tripled during Hudnut's tenture in office. Hogsett hammered him with that as well as the fact Hudnut was from Indianapolis. Hogsett started out like 30 pooints behind and won that race as I recall.

You have a valid point about people spreading innuendos and rumors to try to discredit someone. And you're exactly right -I know the strategy well having recently been on the end of a bogus attempt to smear me by a certain sell-out radio host/blogger. I guess I don't know enough what went on behind the scenes in the Hogsett-Hudgnut race. You're basing your opinion on information I don't have.

Unknown said...

It is tough to say whether he will be good or not.

The only way is to see how aggressive he will be in prosecuting white collar crime. His tenure as Sec. of State doesn't inspire much confidence.

I know there is a much better candidate for US Attorney with solid Democratic credentials. The obvious choice is Buddy Pylitt. I am a dyed in the wool Republican; however, from his rulings as a judge in Hamilton County, I think he is one of the few Democrats with a no nonsense approach to crime and criminals. It is a pity he was overlooked. Obviously, no one in the Obama Administration or the Department of Justice has a good eye for talent when picking a US Attorney.

I know said...

We will see if he has the intestinal fortitude to go after real "white criminal slime" or if he makes a few small time characters his first swing to "set" the stage that he understands.

The friends and family of the biggest white collar criminals in Indiana have deep tentacles into the power elite in Indiana and Washington that continue to protect them from frauds they commit and place the taxpayers in deep peril and have absolutely no reason to worry.

There are folks in Indiana committing felonies that make Tim Durham look like a grade schooler.

Tim Morrison and the FBI know who they are but they have been told hands off!!!!

I guess when state appointed officials write their own contracts, have the blessing from State Appointed Directors and former federal officials the game is open for anyone!

Honorable Mr. Hogsett please speak with Mr. Fitzgerald in Chicago and come out swinging. There will be far greater rewards in your political future than being bought, paid for and your hands cuffed by a few elite power folks in the beginning. You are a young man and some of the long time heathens are in their golden years so what you sow now will be reaped later.

The age group of Bernie Madoff is alive and kicking in Indiana. Prosecute a few of them and watch your age group and younger stand and respect you. Isn't it time?

Marycatherine Barton said...

I expect Joe Hogsett to be a much better U. S. Attorney than has been Fitzgerald, depending on how much time he is allowed to hold the office.