Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reading The Tea Leaves Left From The Obamacare Oral Arguments

This week media reports and "legal experts" have examined closely the questions asked by United States Supreme Court justices during oral arguments.  The examination has been part of an effort to read the tea leaves about which way the court will vote will vote on the challenge to Obama's health care law.  The conclusion is that the Supreme Court will vote 5-4 to strike down at least part of the law.

What a bunch of nonsense.

I'm not saying the predictions are wrong. But having argued cases before the federal and state appellate courts, one thing I have learned is that you never leave oral argument knowing which way the panel of judges will rule.  The questions asked at oral argument often do not represent the leanings of the judges, but many times reflect their playing devil's advocate.

My mentor, the late Judge Paul H, Buchanan, Jr. of the Indiana Court of Appeals, did not believe oral arguments were at all helpful.  During my three years as his clerk, I don't think he ever granted oral argument and participated in maybe three arguments as part of the panel.

My fellow conservatives need to lower their expectations.   The reality is that we do not know what the Supreme Court will do.  Trying to guess the result from what questions the justices asked and how those questions were asked, is a fun game, but it is only a game.  The truth is nobody knows how the Supreme Court will rule and anyone who suggests otherwise is a liar.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

State Legislators Endorse Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold for Congress


Jeff Howe, 317-491-1106


Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold
MARION, Ind. – In a special off-session press conference held at the Noblesville City Hall this afternoon, Senator Mike Delph, Senator Luke Kenley and Senator Jim Buck endorsed Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold for Indiana’s Fifth District Congressional Seat.

 The endorsement was also signed by Senator Jim Banks, Senator Travis Holdman, Representative Eric Turner, Representative Mike Karickhoff and Representative Kevin Mahan.
“Mayor Seybold and I have been friends for over a decade and I know him to be a good leader, a good husband and a good father,” said Senator Delph. “As someone who has already served our community with discipline as a former Olympic athlete, I think he will make an outstanding member of Congress.”

Seybold, who’s currently serving his third term as Mayor of Marion, acknowledges the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. “I greatly appreciate the support of this outstanding group of state legislators,” Seybold said. “Working together, with strong conservative principles and our desire to do what’s right for Hoosiers, we will create jobs and promote strong economic development in the Fifth District and across Indiana.”
Seybold grew up in Marion and lives there today with his wife and three sons. He’s been an Olympic athlete, businessman, public servant and proven leader. He’s also served as the President of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Metropolitan Mayor’s Association and Indiana Mayor’s Association, as well as on the Community and Economic Development Committee of the National League of Cities and the Board of the World Skating Association. Seybold is a two-time Sagamore of the Wabash recipient.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Securities Commissioner Yanked City's Parking Ticket Collection Agency's License Last Year (w/Update)

I'm trying to find out the current status of this.   Last year, Chris Naylor, Securities Commissioner of the Indiana Secretary of State, handed down an "Order of Revocation" revoking the collection license of Citation Collection Services, LLC.  CCS works with the City to collect unpaid parking tickets.  On the City's website are directions of how to pay your tickets to CCS.

In the order, it is noted that "The Staff of the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State, Securities Division ("Staff"), has filed an Administrative Complaint against Respondent Citation Collection Services, LLC ("CCS") alleging a violation of the Indiana Collection Agency Act..."  The order goes on to say that the "Securities Commissioner ("Commissioner), having reviewed the Administrative Complaint and being duly advised, finds that grounds exist under the Act to order the revocation of [CCS's] collection agency license."

Citation Collection Services may have gotten their license back by now.  I won't know until I find out the current status of the case. But at best CCS had its collection license suspended for a time last year., yet I am not aware that the City of Indianapolis ever stopped using the company to collect on outstanding parking tickets.

UPDATE:  I looked at additional documents in the case.  The problem was that CCS did not have a bond covering operations, or had at least not provided evidence of one. By the records I reviewed it appeared that the problem was fixed in early May 2011.  I'm not sure whether CCS ceased collection activity for the 2 1/2 months its collection license was revoked.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lugar Billed Taxpayers for Campaign Trips to Indiana

Sen. Richard Lugar
I overlooked the part about Sen. Richard Lugar billing taxpayers for campaign trips to Indiana.  That in the end could be a more damaging political story that the legal problem of Lugar's staff billing taxpayers for trips to Indiana when the Senate had adjourned.  Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana outlines the rest of the story:
Politico reported yesterday that Lugar was "now consulting with the Senate’s disbursement office to determine whether the reimbursements should be paid for out of pocket or through his reelection campaign account." An examination of the records uncovered by Politico may reveal that in 2011 alone, Sen. Lugar may have been billing taxpayers for trips he made back to Indiana for political purposes. Those include the following trips:
  • For a trip January 20-23, 2011, Lugar received a reimbursement for $393.73 for a trip that included for a fundraiser his campaign hosted in Carmel on January 21, 2011.
  • For a trip May 31-June 4, 2011, Lugar received a reimbursement of $513.96, which included meetings at his Indianapolis campaign headquarters on June 1, 2011 and a National Republican Senatorial Committee event in Evansville on June 4, 2011.
  • Lugar received a reimbursement of $162.83 for June 25-26, 2011 during which he attended a political event in Hamilton County.
  • A reimbursement for July 3-5, 2011 of $813.13 included Lugar's attendance at a political event in Syracuse.
  • For a trip made on July 8-July 10, 2011, Lugar received a reimbursement of $817.78 during which he attended a political event in Morgan County.
  • A $551.14 reimbursement for the period of August 24-September 2, 2011 included at least one fundraiser for his campaign held in Kokomo and political events in Indianapolis, Columbus and Fort Wayne.
    Those return trips to Indiana during 2011 alone represented $3,252.57 in travel charges billed to taxpayers....
To see the rest of the Advance Indiana story, click here. 

These mistakes were done in 2011 in the midst of a contentious political campaign when all eyes were watching.  You have to wonder what the Lugar campaign people were thinking.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Indianapolis Bar Association and the Misleading Request for Information from Me for the Purpose of Conducting a "Survey" Regarding My Candidacy

On Tuesday, I received an unsolicited email from the Indianapolis Bar Association asking for information on me for its website.  Today, I sent to the IBA the information the organization requested.  I received a return email confirming the receipt of the information, telling me it had been posted, and that a survey about me had gone out.

Huh?  I never would never have agreed to that.  I did not know the IBA planned on doing a survey of its members when it requested information from me.  I was told before I filed to run that the time period for doing the IBA survey was long over.  I am totally cool with that.  While there are many great attorneys who are part of the IBA, those surveys can be extremely political and are not remotely scientific.  When those in power want to run down a candidate, they organize to get negative surveys about a candidate sent in.  The fact I did not go through slating all but assures there is going to be a concerted effort by those in power to get me a bad rating that they can use as part of a negative campaign against me.

That's exactly why I would have never participated in an IBA survey of the judicial candidates.  I am deeply unhappy that I was misled, either intentionally or unintentionally, into why this information was being requested from me.  The IBA should not allow itself to be used as part of a political effort to undermine my candidacy.

I would ask that the IBA cease doing a post-deadline "survey" of my candidacy.

For the record, here's the information I provided for the website:
1983-Ball State University, B.S. Political Science; 1987-Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, J.D.
Judicial Experience
Clerked for the late Judge Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. of the Indiana Court of Appeals from November 1989 through January 1993.   Clerked for Judge Ezra Friedlander of the Indiana Court of Appeals from January 1993 through May 1993.

Significant Legal Accomplishments

Prior to clerking at the Indiana Court of Appeals, I was a Deputy Attorney General.  In that capacity, I represented the State in eminent domain and employment matters. I have also been general counsel for a title insurance agency, served as head of Indiana's Title Insurance Division, and worked in private practice for two law firms and also as a sole practitioner. public's property from the RCA Dome, and litigation to address the illegality of practices involving Indiana's civil forfeiture law.

Other Legal Involvement
While in law school, I was Editor of the law school newspaper, the Dictum, and President of the Student Bar Association.  As a practicing attorney, I have strongly advocated reform of the legal profession and the operation of the courts.  This includes in recent years using my blog Ogden on Politics to speak out on such topics as the need to curtail attorney abuse of the discovery process, problems with the Marion County Small Claims Courts, and my strong opposition to the establishment of another law school, Indiana Tech, which is not needed given the saturated legal job market and depressed associate salaries.
          Personal Statement
I believe judges should do more in terms of embracing technology and making courts more conventient for litigants and their attorneys.  This includes communication with attorneys via email and perhaps allowing filing through electronic mail.I would hold court during the evening at least one day a week to accommodate litigants who have difficult work conflicts.I also plan to schedule bench trials within six months and jury trials within nine months of a request for trial.Finally, I believe in strict adherence to the rules prohibiting judges from weighing the evidence when considering summary disposal of cases. Far too many cases are improperly dismissed without the litigant receiving his or her day in court.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do Today's Events Signal the End for Sen. Richard Lugar's Political Career?

You get the sense that today was the beginning of the end of the political career of Sen. Richard Lugar.
Sen. Richard Lugar

First, you had the breaking news that Lugar billed taxpayers $70,000 for staying in hotel rooms in Indiana.  It's illegal to do that when the Senate is in session.  Lugar agreed to pay back $4,500.  Apparently he believes the taxpayers are cool with paying $65,500 for hotel rooms when Lugar is in Indiana, but the legislature is in session. He'd be wrong.

Second, the you had the pro-life endorsement of Lugar's opponent, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.  This comes on the heels of the NRA's endorsement of Mourdock.  Abortion and gun rights are two major voting issues in the GOP primary.

Third, this morning on C-Span, former Senator Arlen Specter, a liberal Republican turned Democrat, gave an impromptu endorsement of Lugar's re-election to an Indiana caller.  That's not something Lugar wants when his conservative credentials are already being questioned.

All in all, a terrible day for the Lugar campaign.

What makes matters worse for Lugar is that he insists on engaging in a court battle over his voter registration.  Instead of doing the politically and legally smart thing of ending the story by getting a residence he could claim he would return to once his service as Senator ended, Lugar insists on continuing to vote using Elizabeth Hughes' house as his residence.   That's not even mentioning Lugar using the Hughes' home at 3200 Highwoods Court as his "residence" to get a driver's license and pay taxes.  When I told an attorney tonight that Lugar was putting down on his federal and state tax forms an address of a home he sold 35 years ago, the attorney was dumbfounded as to how Lugar could get away with doing something that would get ordinary people prosecuted.  Yeah, we all would like to know that.

Even if Lugar manages to eek out a win over Mourdock, I think he'll be so weakened that he won't be able to defeat Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly.

Politico Inquiry Reveals that Lugar Wrongly Billed Taxpayers for Hotel Stays in Indiana While Senate Was Adjourned

Hoosier Access first picked up on the story, reported in Politico.
Sen. Richard Lugar
Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar’s residency problems just grew more uncomfortable: He’s reimbursing the Treasury for erroneously billing taxpayers for a series of hotel stays in Indianapolis in recent years.
The long-serving Senate Republican said because of staff errors, taxpayer money was improperly used to pay for about $4,500 in hotel expenses over the past decade.

After an inquiry from POLITICO, Lugar’s office investigated and acknowledged the issue, and the senator is now taking steps to repay the money.
“I was unaware of routine staff work over the course of several years where we may have made mistakes,” Lugar said Wednesday. “I’m sorry that I was not more observant.”
Lugar also tapped his Senate office account to pay about $70,000 in other hotel costs over the course of his 35-year career, his office said. But Lugar was allowed to use that account in those instances because the Senate was in session.
Since records were only available dating to 1991, Lugar said “it’s conceivable” that the problems stemmed throughout the breadth of his career, which started in 1977. But he insisted the problem occurred “infrequently,” attributing the issue to staff members over the years handling the issue differently.
The latest snafu revolves around an obscure set of Senate guidelines requiring senators to certify his or her “usual place of residence” in their home state as a so-called duty station during periods of Senate adjournment. During those periods, a senator is not allowed to use official funds within the duty station’s region to cover hotel costs, a problem for Lugar since he no longer owns a home there. Lugar has certified his duty station to be at the Indianapolis house he sold in 1977 — the same property in which he’s currently registered to vote.
After being contacted by POLITICO, Lugar’s office said the senator requested a comprehensive review of the records and found that in a handful of cases during periods of adjournment, taxpayers should not have paid for his stays at various hotels, such as the Holiday Inn near the airport and others.
 To see the rest of the Politico article, click here.

A couple years ago, I met with a prominent state Republican, who had been a big Lugar backer, who complained that the Senior Senator never came back to Indiana to go Lincoln Day dinners or participate in other Republican events.  He was a big fundraiser for the party and Lugar did nothing to help with that effort.

Jon Easter over at Indiana Democrat has a nice article suggesting Lugar is in deep trouble with recent polls showing him with only a 6 point lead.  I agree.  I think the residency issue has deeply hurt Lugar.  You can tell whether an issue is working by whether Lugar's opponents have abandoned the issue - they haven't.  Lugar is playing right into their hands by appealing the decision of the Election Board decision disqualifying him as a voter, and thus ensuring another set of headlines, rather than simply getting a residence in the state and killing the issue with a final one day final story.

On a related note, the conventional wisdom has been that the Democrats are better off facing State Treasurer Richard Mourdock than a Lugar who has appeal with Democrats.  I no longer believe that.  There is a huge segment of Republicans who are angry at Lugar for an assortment of reasons and many won't come home to him.  I think the Democrats would have a better chance of winning the Senate seat if they face a mortally wounded Lugar than Mourdock in the general election.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Attorney General Greg Zoeller Compromises Integrity of His "Objective" Legal Opinion on Lugar Residency, Participates in Lugar Commercial using AG Office

So on the eve of the State Election Commission hearing dealing with a Lugar residency issue, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issues an advisory opinion to assist Lugar.  Now Zoeller appears in a Lugar commercial slamming Mourdock, apparently even using his Statehouse office to film part of it.   And we're supposed to take Zoeller's opinion as an objective interpretation of the law?  Yeah, right.

It is a shame that the task of Indiana Attorney General's writing advisory legal opinions has become so politicized.  This isn't the first time that Zoeller has ignored law to write an opinion to help a political ally.  He did the same thing in 2010 when he wrote an opinion saying the civil forfeiture law was constitutional, an determination sought by county prosecutors who wanted cover to continue pocketing money that should be turned over to the Common School Fund as required by law and the Indiana Constitution.  The conclusion in that opinon was criticized by a Marion County Superior Court judge and the Indiana Supreme Court completely ignored it in suggesting the law might well be unconstitutional because of the mandate that the Common School Fund be made up of "all forfeitures."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Marion County Board of Registration Refuses to Comply with Indiana Law Mandating that Voter Registration Lists be Provided to Nonslated Candidates

Anyone who has ever been an unslated candidates knows that one of the keys to the success of the slate is to keep lists of the party's voters out of the hands of the unslated candidates.  That way the unslated candidate doesn't know who he or she needs to contact for the primary.

The legislature recognized there would be an attempt by party bosses to play games with the lists and passed a law that an electronic copy of the voter registration list SHALL be provided to candidates in accordance with a "nondiscriminatory uniform policy."    IC 3-7-28-5 also requires the information be turned over as well as does Indiana's open records law, IC 5-14-3 et seq.

I received back a humorous letter from the Board's attorney saying - get this - the Board does not have to comply with the state law mandating the Board provide an electronic copy of the voter registration list pursuant to a "nondiscriminatory uniform policy" because the Election Board has not adopted such a policy.  (See letter at bottom - click to enlargen.)  In the letter, the attorney says that the Board "is unable to fulfill or deny [my] records requests until such time as a policy is established."  Then the attorney concludes his letter is "not a denial of access to public records; rather this is an acknowledgement that until such time as a policy is adopted by the Election Board, Voter Registration can neither fulfill nor deny your request."

Really??? In 2010, the Marion County Board of Registration gave me an electronic copy of the voter file when I ran for Pike School Board, a nonpartisan position for which the parties do not slate.  So contrary to the attorney's letter, the Board has provided the voter registration list to candidates despite the Election Board not having adopted the "nondiscrimination" policy.  Thus this isn't about the Election Board not having adopted a policy. This is about the fact I wasn't slated and the party chairman, through the Board of Voter Registration, trying to disadvantage my campaign by not providing to me the list the law requires to be provided.

The two members of the Board of Voter Registration are appointed by the county chairmen who are the ones behind our rigged slating system where the chairman, and not party workers, get to pick the candidates who are endorsed by the party. 

This is a big game to the party bosses Republican County Chairman Kyle Walker and Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy. They know they can never prevail with that ridiculous legal argument.  But they know that the longer they can delay providing the voter registration file to unslated candidates, the better chance they have for the slated candidates to win. One unslated Democratic candidate recently told told me the vote registration file wasn't provided to her until the week before the election, giving her no time to do a mailing to Democratic voters.  I won't wait that long.  Members of the Election Board and Board of Voter can expect to be sued Monday morning. 

Lugar v. White, a Shameful Demonstration of How the Law is Not Applied Equally in Indiana

Yesterday, the Star had an editorial criticizing the focus on Sen. Richard Lugar's plight.  Today the Star has an editorial talking about the new Secretary of State and how former Charlie White had disgraced the office.  The contrasting media treatment, as reflected by the Star editorials, reflect an unfortunate fact of Indiana law...the popular and powerful often get a pass on the laws that others of us have to live under.  That is something all of us in the legal profession should be worried about.
Charlie White

You would think from the media reaction to the White and Lugar stories, that White committed the crime of the century while Lugar is being unfairly persecuted.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  What was White's offense. White was accused of ONE time voting using his ex-wife's house as his voting address.  The Election Commission found that that was indeed where he was living, but let's assume for the sake of argument, he did that.  It was one offense.  People assume terribly evil motives to White for his act, while ignoring reality.  White was getting about a $1,000 a month on the Fishers Town Council.  He was almost certain to be the next Secretary of State.  Does it really make sense that this was all part of a devious plan so he could. continue serving on the Council to continue getting that $1,000 a month?  That makes no sense.  Being a statewide candidate is extremely time-consuming. Being on the town council would have been more of a pain than it was worth.  Yet White continued going to the meetings.

Well maybe he registered at the ex-wife's house for the May 2010 primary to be able cast a vote in a hotly contested race.  In fact, the ballot for his condo's precinct and his ex-wife's precinct were virtually identical, with the exception being one township board race.

It makes no sense that this was some sort of devious White plot to flout Indiana's election law  But White had did one thing in Indiana that's unforgivable.  He pissed off powerful people on both sides of the aisle.  The Democrats wanted their guy in there.  The Republicans were tired of the allegations and wanted Gov. Daniels to appoint a replacement.  White was not popular and in Indiana, when you're not popular, the powers-to-be will go after you with a gusto if you don't do what they want  The special prosecution team spared no expense in going after White, scouring records to find additional things to charge White with. White is probably the only person in the state who has ever been convicted of perjury for allegedly writing down wrong address down on his application for a marriage license.   His prosecution was nothing short of a public lynching.
Sen. Richard Lugar
Then we have Sen. Richard Lugar.  The former Mayor of Indianapolis has served 35 years in the United States Senate.  He's popular and well-respected.  But when it comes to election law violations, Lugar is Charlie White on steroids.  Lugar sold his home at 3200 Highwoods court in Indianapolis in 1977 and continues to voting using that address, signing documents under oath that the home he sold and is now owned by Elizabeth Hughes is his residence.  He was fearful of getting in trouble for the practice so he got his Republican lawyer and two Republican Attorney General to write opinion letters with the far-fetched legal conclusion that Lugar could continue voting from someone else's home. 

The Election Board took up the issue this week and in an extremely detailed look at the law, determined that Lugar's work in D.C. did not entitle him to abandon his Indiana residence and continuing voting from that address. The Board said he had to have another residence in the district and he needed to stop using someone else's house.  It was a very fair and detailed interpretation of the law.  Still Sen. Lugar and the Indianapolois Star had a meltdown. They were outraged that Lugar was being called upon to follow Indiana law, like everyone else in the state has to.    Lugar now vows to go to court to be allowed to continue voting using Elizabeth Hughes' home.

The Election Board did Lugar a favor in finding that he broke the law but didn't have the criminal intent.  One wonders though how Lugar signs BMV documents and state and federal tax returns under oath claiming he lives at 3200 Highwood Court.   Again, White was prosecuted for ONE time putting down the wrong address on his marriage application.  At least with White, his residence at that time was debatable.  Lugar's though isn't a close question.  He knows he doesn't live at 3200 Highwoods Court yet he uses that address on those BMV and tax forms.  There is nothing in the law that allows him to do that.  And even if there was a special exception for him as U.S. Senator, where is the exception that applies to Char Lugar, Sen. Lugar's wife. Not one person has come forward with any legal explanation as to why Char Lugar gets a pass on following the law.

The answer is the Lugars are popular.  While unpopular Charlie White gets prosecuted, the Lugars get a pass.  The Indianapolis Star seems to have no problem with the unequal treatment.  Apparently the Star's editors think the law should only be applied to the little guy or people who are unpopular and don't do what the politically powerful people want done, such as resign from office.

I won't even get into Evan Bayh living in D.C. and voting using a condo in Indianapolis where he clearly doesn't live or Gov. Daniels living in Hamilton County and voting using the Marion County Governor's Mansion where he doesn't live.  I would note they are popular politicians so of course the law doesn't apply to them.

The law should apply equally to everyone regardless of who they are.  The White v. Lugar situations demonstrate what is wrong with our legal system in Indiana.   The rich and powerful, in Indiana, too often get a pass when it comes to following laws that we all have to live under.  That is a shameful fact of our Hoosier state.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Election Board Finds Lugar Committed Noncriminal Election Law Violation By Voting Using Abandoned Residence

Greg Wright
Today I sat in on the Marion County Election Board hearing.   Abdul tweeted today inaccurately uggesting the challenger failed as Lugar was not removed from the ballot.  In fact certified fraud examiner Greg Wright challenge was not to get Sen. Lugar removed from the ballot, but dealt with Lugar and his wife's eligibility to vote using a house at 3200 Highwoods Court that they sold 35 years ago.

Gary Welsh
The attorneys were impressive.  Attorney/Blogger Gary Welsh presented Wright's challenge.   Welsh probably knows voter residency law better than anyone in the state.  He made the case that Lugar had abandoned his home at 3200 Highwoods Court and that he had not established any other residence in the state.  Welsh argued that the "fail safe" provision in the Constitution and statute which says people don't lose their Indiana residency because they are out of state while on state business did not give Lugar the right to abandon their home, leaving no specific residence in the state identified that he planned to return to.  Welsh also pointed out that the constitutional "fail safe" provision was adopted in 1851 at time when Congressmen worked part-time in D.C.  He said it the "fail safe" provision was never intended to apply to members of Indiana's part time congressional delegation, but rather to people such as those serving in the military.   Before watching the argument I read Welsh's lengthy brief which skillfully took apart the Lugar argument.

Wayne Turner, a partner with Bingham Greenbaum, presented Lugar's defense.  He argued that the Board's jurisdiction only allowed it to make a referral to the Attorney General or Marion County Prosecutor if the Board found that the Lugars had violated the election law by voting at 3200 Highwoods Court.   Turner also pointed out how Lugar had relied on the opinion of the Marion County Voter Registration Board which said the Lugars were free to continue using the 3200 Highwoods Court address to vote from as long as Sen. Lugar served in the Senate.  Turner also pointed to the opinion of a Deputy Attorney General's opinion (that was apparently not signed off on by then AG Ted Sendak) and opinions from former AG Linley Pearson.  Those opinions suggested that Lugar, for voting purposes, maintained his residency at the house he sold.
Wayne Turner

Turner made a strong presentation  But I got the impression he didn't 100% believe his client's position.  Any attorney worth his or her salt would have long ago advised Lugars to stop signing documents under oath that they resides at a house they clearly have not lived in for 35 years and to get an actual residence in the state.   Turner strikes me as the sort of attorney that would have given Lugar exactly that advice. Where Turner excelled was in arguing that Lugar had not done anything criminal because the voter fraud statute requires knowledge that the person is breaking the law, not just knowledge the person is committing the act.  By relying on legal opinions, Turner argued Lugar shielded himself from criminal consequences should he be found to have violated the law.

Turner's brief lacked the detailed legal arguments that Welsh's contained, relying instead on a lot of exhibits, including a nonsensical law professor's opinion, media reports and the aforementioned Board of Registration and Attorney General opinions.  I can't fault Turner though.  He simply didn't have a strong legal argument.

The Election Board members asked a number of questions of the attorneys and made several statements during the course of the hearing.  Republican Patrick Dietrick particularly focused on a newly-executed, self-serving affidavit by Sen. Lugar that said he was a resident of Indiana and fully intended to return to Indiana after his service ended.   Dietrick offered the argument that although Lugar abandoned the home at 3200 Highwoods Court, he didn't abandon his "residence."  But Dietrick never identified where that Lugar "residence" was located.

Andrew J. Mallon
The Board's attorney Andrew J. Mallon, was very impressive.  He had researched the issues in detail and knew the statutes and case law inside and out.  Mallon addressed every problem Dietrick suggested there was with his analysis.  Mallon agreed that the "fail safe" provision could be used to prevent the Lugars' from losing their right to vote.  The problem though was that Lugar didn't lose his residency because of his service in D.C.   The problem was he abandoned his home at 3200 Highwoods Court and did not establish any other residence.

By a 2-1 vote, the Election Board agreed with Mallon that the Lugars had committed an election law violation by voting at the Wayne Township precinct encompassing 3200 Highwoods Court.  The Lugars still have a month to register with a new residence.

The rumor now is that Sen. Lugar is going to appeal the decision.  That would be a foolish decision.  While Lugar might be able to get some political considerations by going to an elected county judge, the fact is he's just going to increase the publicity that he's running for Senate and doesn't have a home in Indiana.  Lugar's voter registration and inhabitancy problem are easily fixable.  He just needs to get an apartment and start staying there on occasion when he comes back to Indiana.  Problem solved.   The only reason to not do it is Lugar's incomprehensible arrogance.

Why Does the Public Safety Director Need Bodyguards?; Time to Eliminate the Public Safety Director Position

Jon Murray of the Indianapolis Star pens an article this morning suggesting the shortfall in the public safety originally pegged at $10 million is now over $15 million.  That's a shocking figure since we're only a few months into the new budget year.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub

One though has to be careful of any claimed deficit.  I remember the Capital Improvement Board a few years ago claiming publicly that it faced a terrible deficit.  It turns out that the the CIB all along had a private set of books that showed the organization was in much better shape financially than what appeared in the set of books they were using for the public.  The CIB claim of an overwhelming deficit was simply a ruse to increases its revenue by getting the legislature and council to approve additional tax increases.

Could the claim of a deficit could be a ruse by Public Safety Director Frank Straub and others to get their hands on that big pile of cash still sitting in the bank from the utility sale?  If that were the case it would be a shame.  That one time infusion of money, which was paid by a publicly-owned Citizen's Energy borrowing, a loan we the public will have to pay back, certainly should not be used to fund ongoing operating expenses. 

Apparently though things are not just bad in public safety.  Murray reported yesterday that the City is in 2013 is facing a preliminary deficit of $50 million to $70 million across all agencies.  Of course, this isn't news if you've been following Pat Andrews' blog "Had Enough Indy" or Gary Welsh's blog "Advance Indiana."  Both bloggers have been frequently taken Mayor Ballard to task for dishonest budgeting that appears now to come back to haunt the Mayor...conveniently after the Election.

With regard to public safety, it is time for Mayor Ballard to take drastic action and finally reign in big spending by Mr. Straub.  While Straub was shorting IMPD such necessities as toilet paper, he had no problem engaging in reckless spending in his own office.   Straub spent hundres of thousands of dollars to renovate his office.  He added several high level, high paying staff jobs to the public safety payroll.  He routinely spends thousands on out-of-town consultants to render reports on such issues as which fire stations in Indianapolis should be closed, an issue one would think better suited to the local folks who actually know the city.

Most appalling though is that Director Straub feels he needs to bill the tax payers for two bodyguards.    Nobody who has been convicted of a crime is going to target the public safety director for revenge.  That person may go after the judge, the prosecutor, even the police officer...but the public safety director?  Absolutely not.   As far as being so famous that he needs a bodyguard to protect him from the crazies, well someone needs to break the news to Mr. Straub - he is not that well-known.  Mayor Ballard is a prominent person, as is the Prosecutor Terry Curry and Sheriff John Layton.  The public safety director position, which is appointed by the Mayor, amounts to inside baseball.  I bet 90% of the people on the street couldn't identify Frank Straub if presented with his photograph.

Mayor Ballard adopted a good idea from challenger Melanie Kennedy when he recently appointed a Deputy Mayor of Education.  Mayor Ballard needs to adopt another Kennedy idea that was right on the mark - the elimination of the position of Public Safety Director and his lavishly furnished office.  It is a needless layer of bureaucracy for a City that can't afford it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PBS Documentary "Slavery By Another Name" Shows How Slavery Survived the Civil War and the Enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment

I finally got around to watching the documentary, "Slavery By Another Name."  I would highly recommend it.  I just wish now I had read the book of the same name first.

We all learned in school that slavery was finally abolished by the 13th Amendment adopted in 1865 following the Civil War.  Or was it?  A lawyer looking at the 13th Amendment would see a gaping loophole:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Following the Civil War, many southern states adopted "pig laws," designed to criminalize black life.  According to PBS's explanation of the documentary:
".. after the failure of Reconstruction in 1877, and the removal of black men from political offices, Southern states again enacted a series of laws intended to circumscribe the lives of African Americans. Harsh contract laws penalized anyone attempting to leave a job before an advance had been worked off. “Pig Laws” unfairly penalized poor African Americans for crimes such as stealing a farm animal. And vagrancy statutes made it a crime to be unemployed. Many misdemeanors or trivial offenses were treated as felonies, with harsh sentences and fines."
Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery By Another Name, explains:

By using the criminal law, African-Americans were routinely rounded up by law enforcement authorities in the South.  They were then leased to companies and plantation owners who used the prisoners as slave labor while they served their sentence.  The companies employed overseers who had the authority to discipline the prisoners as they saw fit.  The movie notes how the treatment of the slave prisoners was often more harsh than it was under the old slavery system.  While slave owners saw the slaves as a permanent investment and thus were disincentized to cause their "property" harm, those leasing slave prisoners were less reluctant to hold back on harsh punishment for fear of injuring the convicts they were leasing as slave labor.

The movie also talks about the widespread use of "peonage," a system whereby debtors are held in servitude by creditors. This was also a system used to perpetuate the institution of slavery...although by a different name.  One of the most interesting parts of the film discusses how a creditor had used peonage to enslave a number of African-Americans.  When they tried to prosecute him under anti-peonage laws, he successfully offered an interesting defense.  He claimed he had lied about the debts that were owned to him and thus he wasn't guilty of peonage.  Rather he had held the African-Americans as slaves and even though the 13th Amendment was in effect, there were no laws making slavery a criminal offense.

Whether it be through the 13th Amendment loophole or via peonage, slavery didn't go away in 1865.  It in fact remained with us until well into the 20th Century.  With the start of World War II, President Roosevelt finally instructed the Justice Department to root out all vestiges of slavery and forced servitude.

The hour and a half PBS program can be watched on line.

Star Columnist Pens Column Mocking His Critics for Being Stupid

Matt Tully
Wow.  Just when you think Indianapolis Star columnist Matt Tully couldn't sink any lower, he does exactly that.  Today he pens a column mocking his critics as being stupid.  Here are some samples:
Jim: Your (March 9) column made me want to puke. Why? I voted for Dick Luger  in every election since mayor, and I was appalled by his ads attacking Mourdock.

Tully: Well, I'm kind of appalled by your spelling of "Lugar." But I do apologize for being the source of your indigestion.

Gary: Sir, may I disagree with the column you wrote?

Tully: Of course Please continue.

Gary: Sen. Lugar is a Republican in name only, and really a liberal.

Tully: OK, serious question: Have you ever actually met a liberal? Because if that label includes Lugar and everyone to his left, then at least three-quarters of Indiana is liberal. And, thus, we are the Berkeley of the Midwest?


Reportedly Tully got in trouble with his bosses for using his Star email to mock a subscriber who criticized him.  So here he decides to mock his critics in his column anonymously.  Tully writes his column in such a way that he implies that anyone who disagrees with his Lugar column is just plain stupid.

Of course, when Tully wrote the column, he ignored any evidence inconsistent with his position.  He offers no explanation for why the Senator should be able to use a house he sold 35 years ago, falsely signing documents under oath for voting, taxes and driving, that he resides at that address.  This was after Tully wrote a serious of columns mocking Charlie White for ONCE allegedly voting not using his residence, something Lugar has done consistently for the past 35 years.   Why doesn't Tully at least demand that Lugar get a home in the State so the Senate doesn't decide he is not an "inhabitant" of the State and refuse to seat him?

Tully's m.o. though is to ignore any facts that doesn't support his narrow-minded opinions.  I don't have a problem with Tully being a liberal.  What I have a problem with is Tully's narrowmindedness and his complete lack of intellectual honesty.  For that, there is no excuse.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Santorum Defies Polls, Scores Two Upsets in the South

Almost all of the polls leading up to today Rick Santorum finishing third in both Alabama and Mississippi.  Tonight though shows sometimes polls can be wrong.  Santorum finished tonight with  impressive win in both states despite being heavily outspent by Mitt Romney.
Sen. Rick Santorum

Right now,  Romney, the so-called inevitable GOP nominee, finished third in both states, behind second place Newt Gingrich who had staked his campaign on a southern strategy.

What if the former speaker were not in the race?  Clearly most of Gingrich's supporters would move to Santorum.  If Gingrich had dropped out, Santorum would have easily won Michigan and Ohio rather than narrowly losing those two states.  Polls in another midwestern state, Illinois, show Romney ahead of Santorum by 4 points, while Gingrich is at 12%.  Romney's quest for the nomination depends on Gingrich staying in the race, splitting the conservative and anti-Romney vote.  If the Speaker can stay in a little longer, it will put Santorum in a delegate hole he can't get out of. 

In his concession speech tonight, Gingrich though gave no indication he was dropping out.  Instead he seemed focused on Romney's poor finish and that he could be in the driver's seat in a contested convention.

Oh, by the way, the exit polling in both Alabama and Mississippi showed Santorum was the most popular candidate among women and that Santorum polls signficantly better with women than men.

One more state - Hawaii - is on the agenda for tonight.   Romney is expected to win the state though I haven't seen any polling.

Impoverished Sen. Richard Lugar Claims He Can't Afford an Indiana Home; Law Professor Fails to Any Legal Authority in Support of Senior Senator

One of the arguments that has been used to justify Sen. Richard Lugar's lack of an Indiana home is that he can't afford to maintain a home in the D.C. area and Indiana.
Sen. Richard Lugar

But the cry of protestations from the Lugar camp is that the Senior Senator can't afford that second home.  Really?  Lugar makes $174,000 a year as a U.S. Senator.  According to his 2010 financial disclosure statement, Lugar is very likely a millionaire with virtually no debt.  Yet Lugar can't afford even a $1,000 a month apartment and instead has to stick taxpayers for renting rooms at fancy hotels such as JW Marriott?

Lugar's problem is that he arrogantly wants to use a stranger's home as his current residence, a house at 3200 Highwoods Court that he sold in 1977.  Lugar continues to sign documents under oath he lives at that home and puts that address on official government documents in order to get an Indiana's drivers' license and pay Indiana income tax.  It should be noted that where Lugar actually lives, Virginia, has a higher income tax rate than Indiana.  Defenders point to a statute which says that people in service to the state do not lose their Indiana residence because they spend most of their time out of state.  Of course, Lugar didn't lose his residency because of his service in D.C..   He lost his residency because he sold his home and established no other residency in Indiana.

Indiana law does not provide an exception to voter fraud and perjury statutes which allow an individual like Lugar to sign documents under oath that they lives someplace they don't live.  And even if the above law regarding out-of-state might be misconstrued to allow Lugar a pass, pray tell what is the exception to the law that allows his wife, Char, to do the same thing?  Even Lugar defenders avoid that question. They have no answer.

Of course, none of the above has anything to do with the requirement that Lugar be an "inhabitant" of Indiana under the United States Constitution in order to be elected U.S. Senator.  The United States Supreme Court in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1995) has said that state law is irrelevant to the qualifications under Article 1.  That shot down Lugar's only defense to his claim he meets the Article 1 inhabitancy requirement because of Indiana law, an issue which, by the way, have never been addressed by an Indiana Attorney General.  Even if elected, the Senate can refuse to seat Lugar.

Prof. Douglas W. Kmiec
Into the morass of Lugar's legal defense, steps Pepperdine law professor Douglas W. Kmiec who formerly taught at Notre Dame Law School.  Prof Kmiec offers his opinion (for the reasons that follow, I hesitate to refer to it a "legal opinion")  to the Marion County Election Board which will hear a Lugar voting challenge on Thursday.   In the opinion, Prof Kmiec waxes eloquently about what a "statesman" Lugar is and how the state should be proud of him.  Kmiec decries the attack on Lugar.  Lest anyone doubt check out his ties to the Lugar campaign, Kmiec admits he made a "modest donation" to the Lugar campaign that could only be "modest" because he is a "teacher."   How incredibly obnoxious is that?  Prof. Kmiec is a long-time law professor.  When I checked out IU-Indianapolis law professor salaries several years ago, virtually every law professor made more than $100,000, with great benefits.  As a long-time law professor, Kmiec could well make more than $200,000.  Yet Prof. Kmiec disingenuously suggests he is an impoverished "teacher."

After that, Prof. Kmiec's opinion becomes even more humorous.  Even though he listed as the "Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law and Human Rights" on his letterhead, Prof Kmiec apparently lacks access to the Constitution or any law books.  In his opinion, Prof. Kmiec fails to cite any provision in the constitution, any statutes, or any case law.   Instead he cites stories in the media by Jim Shella, Matt Tully and Andrea Neal, none of which have any legal background whatsoever.  Prof. Kmiec then notes that Lugar has gotten by with using someone else's address when he files his taxes and gotten an Indiana driver's license.  Prof. Kmiec suggests that that is evidence Lugar's residency is not a problem.  The misplaced logic is astonishing.  It is akin to saying because a person has shoplifted from a store several times before, that is then evidence that it is okay to steal from that store.

If the Lugar people desire a legal defense of the senior senator from a law professor, they need to do better than the tripe Prof. Kmiec offers in his letter.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why the Star Cannot Sell Newspapers and Will Not Be Able to Sell its Content On-Line

If you want to know why the Indianapolis Star's plans to sell its content via on-line subscription will fail, look no further than today's newspaper.
Matthew Tully

The Star's leading political columnist Matt Tully writes a thoroughly boring column about his going to a Mayor's Night Out in the Lafayette Square area, which column he sums up as:
"In other words, they asked about the basics. That's what these events are about -- and that's why Ballard has focused so squarely on them for more than four years now."
Meanwhile Erika Smith pens an only slightly more interesting column about a Ball State University professor who is using junk he collects to make a point about our throw away society.

Then there are stories about the Colts facing difficult choices rebuilding the team, the new Department of Education grading system for schools, and a story about who is responsible for the State Fair tragedy.   None of these news stories are in fact "new."   They all concern matters that have been discussed publicly for weeks, if not months.

Erika Smith
Meanwhile the Indianapolis Business Journal broke a story about airport CEO John Clark's extravagant travels, which turned out to be an excellent update of a story done in November 2011 by Anne Yeager of Fox59.   This is in fact not unusual.  We live in a strange environment when the TV news reporters are breaking detailed stories while the biggest newspaper in the State prefers to rehash old, uncontroversial stories.

It's not that the Star is without talented reporters who can do great work when given the opportunity by their bosses.  Jon Murray recently wrote a detailed article analyzing the numbers on the ACS parking meter deal.  Alex Campbell took apart Indiana University's claims regarding the economic impact of taxpayers investing in the university.  Tim Evans and Heather Gillers was all over the civil forfeiture issue a couple years ago, while the Star has also published investigative pieces on the Department of Child Services controversy and the scandal at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

The problem is that those types of quality, investigative articles are few and far between.  Instead the Star tends to consciously steer clear of controversy, especially if those controversies will implicate people with political clout.  No better example is the approach Tully and Smith take to their jobs.  Undoubtedly they have received controversial (and interesting) leads on column topics.  Instead they choose column after column to address the most uncontroversial (and boring) matters.

At one time, the Indianapolis Star had Pulitizer prize winning writer/columnist Dick Cady on staff, a man who broke the story on Indianapolis police corruption during the 1970s.    If you wonder why the Star doesn't sell newspapers and its plan to sell its content on-line will fail, look no further than the fact that Cady's shoes are now filled by Matt Tully. Dick Cady is to Matt Tully as Peyton Manning is to Curtis Painter.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

IBJ Reports Airport CEO John Clark's Extravagant Travel; Why Did City Officials Ignore History of Similiar Behavior in Jacksonville?

This week's Indianapolis Business Journal has a front page article on Indianapolis International Airport CEO John Clark's extravagant travel and the plans for new President of the Airport Authority, Mike Wells, to clamp down on the abuses.
John Clark, CEO Indianapolis
International Airport Authority

The article, which is not available on-line, notes that trip expenses for Clark on other airport executives included:

·  $5,327 to go to Dallas for the Super Bowl, for the purpose of meeting with airline executives

·  $2,599 to go to Phoenix as part of a "boot" camp with Indianapolis leaders to discuss development. The trip included $909 paid in golf fees.

·  $5,563 for a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark for the Passenger Terminal Expo.

·  $10,080 for a trip to Zurich, Switzerland to discuss with Comlux Aviation executives expansion of the company's Indianapolis facility. Comlux had in fact already announced plans to expand its Indianapolis' operations over two years earlier.

·  $7,781 to travel to Athens Greece to be a speaker at the Airports Council International World Economics Council

·  $8,283 to go to Casablanca, Morocco for the Airports Council International World Board Conference. The flight and hotel, the Palmeraie Golf Palace, cost $8,020.

·  $10,008 to go to to Brazil for the Airports Council International-Airport Management Professionals Accreditation Programme meeting.  The article points out that money spent on airport executives' air travel does not come from tax dollars, but rather comes from airlines, in the form of landing fees and space rentals. Cue my eyes rolling. Airlines get the money to pay those fees from air passengers. It might be indirect, but it still comes from the pockets of passengers, i.e. taxpayers.

 Of course, Indianapolis officials had no way of knowing that Clark would engage in outrageous, extravagant travel. After all, no such problems came up while Clark was head of the Jacksonville Airport.

That was said with sarcasm. When Clark's name was being circulated for the Indianapolis Airport job, there were numerous stories in the Indianapolis media about Clark's extravagant travel in Jacksonville and, his arrogant refusal to provide public records requested by a Jacksonville city councilor. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Randall Tobias, then airport authority president, never denied on the allegations as reported by Folio Weekly, a Jacksonville alternative newspaper, were true. His response at the time was quoted by the Indianapolis Star: "People try sometimes to make things into a big deal," Tobias said. "We're just trying to hire a CEO here."  

Ballard and Tobias simply did not care that Clark had in Jacksonville misused the public's money and tried to keep secret what he had done. Clark was run out of Jacksonville by city officials asking questions. So Clark went to a place where city officials would let him do what he wanted without question - Indianapolis. Were it not for the work of IBJ, Clark's conduct probably would have flow below the radar here in Indianapolis.

It should also be noted that Democratic Councilor Angela Mansfield stepped forward and was willing to criticize Clark saying she is not comfortable with this level of spending on travel by municipal employees.  In the article, she is quoted as saying that Clark "has brought a culture to Indianapolis that wasn't here before.  There's no accountability regarding his expenditures."

I'm not sure I agree with the last part of Councilor Mansfield's observations. For some time, Indianapolis has been a wide open town where public corruption can breed, a place where elected officials won't ask tough questions when it comes to the misuse of the public's money.  I am thankful that we have councilors like Mansfield, Republican Christine Scales and Democrat Zach Adamson who are starting to ask tough questions about how the public's money is being spent.  It's a shame that an airport employee who loads luggage on a conveyor belt received more scrutiny when hired than the Airport's CEO John Clark.

 See also:
Ogden on Politics: Randall Tobias: John Clark's Abuse of the Public's Trust in Jacksonville is No Big Deal (3/19/2009)

Envision Indy: John Clark Speaks (3/19/2009)

Folio Weekly:  Has John Clark Gone Rogue (11/25/2008)  Article can be accessed by hitting the link on this page listing the archived stories.

Court of Appeals Orders Prior Restraint on Speech, Stops South Bend Tribune From Publishing Story on DCS

Judge Jim Payne, Director of DCS
Everyone who has first year constitutional law knows that prior restraint of free speech is something that will only be upheld under the most extreme situations .  That's why I found this story from the Indianapolis Star about the Court of Appeals stopping a story (at least from now) critical of the Department of Child Services to be an extremely surprising development:
The Indiana Court of Appeals approved an emergency request Friday from the Department of Child Services that prevents the South Bend Tribune from publishing a story based on the recording of a call made last year to the state's child abuse hotline.
On Tuesday, a St. Joseph County judge ordered DCS to release a copy of the May call to the hotline alleging 10 children were being abused in a South Bend home.
The Tribune briefly posted a story on its website based on the tape, along with audio clips from the 20-minute call. Both were removed after the appeals court ordered a stay of the local court order late Friday afternoon.
The Court of Appeals also set a hearing on the matter for Monday.
"We were very, very disappointed," said Tribune Executive Editor Tim Harmon. "The material that we received after the juvenile court judge's order is clearly something the public needs to know about. It is something we have reported about in the past and will continue to report about."
Harmon said the newspaper planned to use material from the call "very responsibly," and the story that was briefly posted did not include the caller's name or gender. It also did not use the names of the children involved.
One of those children was 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis, who was fatally beaten about six months later. His father, Terry Sturgis, is charged with murder in the boy's death.
DCS already has released paper copies of the Sturgis family's files. Those records included information detailing allegations made in the May call to the hotline. They also reveal that a DCS worker did not make contact with the family until four days after that call.
A few weeks later, the worker ruled the allegation of abuse was unfounded.
However, the circumstances of Tramelle's killing -- he was beaten to death with a wooden club -- closely matched details of the abuse allegation in the hotline call.
DCS Director James Payne repeatedly has pledged that the agency would be open and transparent.  But one critic of the agency, Dawn Robertson of the family-rights group, says that has not been her experience.
"I've heard Director Payne say over and over how DCS would be open and transparent," she said. "In the years since, families we have worked with have repeatedly run into hurdles just getting their own records.
"So why would you think DCS was going to allow more access to information that would help the public determine whether or not the agency's actions are correct or appropriate?"
To see the rest of the article, click here.

Courts have consistently held that prior restraint of free speech, a prohibition on the publication of speech before the speech takes place, will be rarely allowed under First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Exceptions have been made in the case of war-related materials, obscenity, and statements which, in and of themselves, may provoke violence.  The South Bend Tribune story that the Court of Appeals has suppressed based on an emergency order doesn't seem to come close to fitting the circumstances in which prior restraint on speech has been allowed.

That's not to say the South Bend Tribune acted properly in putting together the story (it was published briefly on-line and then removed).  The remedy though would seem to be an action against the newspaper for the publication, not suppression of the story.  Nonetheless, it is not certain DCS would have standing to bring the action.  Confidentiality rules protect the individual who made the report and the minors involved.  Confidentiality rules are not about protecting the agency, especially when the story was about DCS's mismanagement, a matter of public concern.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Columnist Matthew Tully Ignores No. 1 Issue Against Sen. Lugar, Calls Woman a "Jerk With An I-Phone" for Daring to Ask Question of Senior Senator

If you want to know why the Indianapolis Star is losing readers, look no further than Matt Tully's front page column decrying the challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar.  Tully and Erika Smith, the Star's two political columnists, can never seem to find anything controversial in the entire state to write about, generally preferring to write milquetoast puff pieces.   Rather it has been the IBJ, TV stations, and bloggers who have had to pick up the slack, exposing issues and controversies that the Star would apparently prefer not be exposed.  It's not surprising when people look elsewhere for good political commentary.  They sure won't find it in the Star.
Sen. Richard Lugar

Tully's column today is a work in dishonesty.  The column talks about the "distasteful" and "depressing" attacks on Sen. Richard Lugar.  But if you read Tully's column you will notice that he never takes on Issue No. 1 being used against Richard Lugar, i.e. that he doesn't live here, having sold his home 35 years ago and moved to Virginia.

Tully knows perfectly well that he can't address this issue because it would expose his hypocrisy.   He had no problem penning several articles suggesting Charlie White should resign as Secretary of State.  White's offense?  He voted ONCE using his ex-wife's house as his residence when the allegations were he was a resident of his ex-wife's house.  Yet Lugar to this day continues to vote using a northwest side address of a home he sold 35 years ago, signing documents under oath that he is a resident at that address.  Forget for a second that the perjury and voter fraud laws of this state do not have an exception that would allow him, or his wife, to do this, what about the federal constitutional requirement that Lugar be an "inhabitant" of the State when elected?   Lugar can't meet that standard and the Senate can simply refuse to seat him even if he does get elected in November.

To this huge controversy, Tully responds with utter and complete silence.  Tully knows he has no defense to what Lugar is doing, especially after White's conviction, so he chooses instead to simply ignore the issue.  How intellectually dishonest is that?

Then Tully attacks the woman who dared to ask Lugar a question while he entered a high dollar fundraiser.

Yet what inspired this column was an e-mailed news release from a Democratic Super PAC called American Bridge 21st Century. It includes a video of a young woman harassing Lugar as he enters a fundraiser in D.C., and it ridiculously attempts to paint Lugar as not caring about the recent Southern Indiana tornadoes.
Is this really what politics has come to?  A politician as respected as Lugar being hounded on the sidewalk by a jerk with an iPhone? Do some in D.C. really hope to score political points off an Indiana tragedy? 
The millionaires who finance that PAC and the parents of that twentysomething with a camera phone must be so proud of their contribution to democracy.
I would urge people to watch the video themselves.   Did that woman "harass" or "hound" Lugar when he walked into the fundraiser?    She asked ONE question in a very polite way and the Senator answered it as he was walking in the door.  Apparently Tully thinks our senior senator is above answering questions from ordinary citizens.