Emigh and former Executive Director Andrew Greider were criticized by some party members after they helped form private political action committees to steer money to specific primary candidates they favored in races against other Republicans.
Emigh managed the Shamrock PAC, which mainly aided Westfield candidates, and
Greider managed the Royal-Tiger PAC, which mainly aided Fishers candidates.
Neither PAC is active today. Before the May primary, Emigh ceded control of the Shamrock PAC to the son of Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, who then donated more than $99,000 to his father. About $37,000 from the Shamrock PAC was transferred to a new PAC that remains active, HCL PAC.
Emigh also was criticized for managing employee retirement accounts in Carmel, Noblesville and Westfield valued at nearly $70 million — all cities whose mayors he has backed financially through a PAC.
Emigh and Greider have said they are acting as private citizens, not as party officials using party resources, when backing candidates with the two PACs. Emigh has said his job has had no influence on whom he supports in races.Sure...the fact that Emigh would continue to make a ton of money managing retirement accounts in Carmel, Noblesville, and Westfield if the right person won the Mayor's race had absolutely no influence over who he supported in those races. Emigh expects people to actually buy that nonsense? As luck would have it, Emigh supported all the incumbent mayors who also sent work his way.
Now that Emigh's crony-tarnished tenure is about to close, it appears he is taking one more step to ensure that the insider deals continue in Hamilton County. Reportedly, during the last month of his being chairman, Emigh made 70 plus party appointments to the county's 216 precincts, appointees who will be eligible to vote for his favored candidate, Pete Peterson. treasurer of the party and president of the Fishers City Council. Laura Campbell, who is currently vice chairman of the party and a newly elected member of the Carmel City Council, may also be running.
People may remember Peterson as Treasurer of the Royal Progress Committee and author of the infamous letter on behalf of that committee asking businesses in Fishers for $3,500 if they wished to have exclusive meetings about the future of the city. This is from the letter:
I invite you to assist us by becoming a Member of the Royal Tiger Progress Committee for an annual membership fee of $3,500, where we can meet to discuss your suggestions and ideas about improving our community. Members will be invited to exclusive meetings throughout the year in Fishers where we will plan to present a brief program to discuss current issues in the community followed by some open discussion. We will be able to share information about what is happening in Fishers, in many cases before you hear about it in the news.(An interesting side note I stumbled across during my research for this article: Hamilton County election officials redact the names of all Treasurers of campaign committees, including PACs and those of individual candidates. It is not clear what possible authority there is for redacting what is obviously public information.)
Some lengthy but necessary background on the change in rules that now allow county chairmen like Emigh to stack the deck. Until the mid-1980s, county chairmen were elected at a county party convention in June following the May primary at which precinct committeemen were elected. Both PCs and county chairman served two year terms. However, only elected PCs were eligible to vote at the June convention. That changed with statutory revisions in the middle 1980s, the so-called John Sweezy forever bills. (Sweezy was the long-time Marion County GOP chairman at the time.) The bills (which have since been replaced by party rules) set it up so that both the county chairman and PCs would be on four year terms but the county chairman would be elected in March, nearly 3 years after the election of the PCs. As a result, PCs appointed to fill vacancies by the county chairman could vote for the first time. The change allowed the county chairmen to hand pick many of the very people who would be voting at the county convention.
Elected PCs must actually live in the precinct they represent. However when it comes to a county chairman appointing someone to represent a precinct, that person can come from anywhere in the county. Appointed PCs serve at the will of the chairman and can be replaced if they don't agree to vote "the right way." I once was removed as an appointed PC because I wouldn't vote for the re-election of the county chairman.
As if being able to appoint a slew of PCs wasn't enough, the rules now also make a vice precinct committeeman eligible to vote for county chairman. Although technically PCs can pick their own VPCs, party rules require that the selection be "certified" in writing within a week after the election of the PC. If an elected PC fails to meet this deadline, and few do, the appointment of a VPC also passes permanently to the county chairman. Elected PCs and their selected VPCs have to live in the precinct he or she represents. But a PC (and VPC) appointed by the county chairman can live anywhere in the county.
The result in Marion County is that generally about 85% of PC slots eligible to vote at a county convention are appointed by the county chairman. Probably 95% of VPCs slots are via appointment. A county like Hamilton County is not nearly as bad for those wanting to challenge the party establishment due to the large pool of Republican voters available to run and be elected as PC, Still Hamilton County has enough precincts that the opportunities for someone like Emigh to put his finger on the scale and influence the vote are enormous. Campbell can still win the race against Peterson, but Emigh is going to make sure Peterson has a big head start.
The time has long passed for Indiana Republican Party to change its rules so that we return to a system that encourages the election of PCs. Those elected PCs should not have their power and authority undermined by county chairmen appointing folks to outvote those elected PCs who have earned the trust of their friends and neighbors at the ballot box.