Friday, April 27, 2012

Indy Star endorses Reske, McGoff, in 5th race

The Indianapolis Star has endorsed State Representative Scott Reske for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the open seat representing the Fifth Congressional District.  That district, which now stretches from Broad Ripple to north of Marion, includes Anderson and substantial numbers of Democratic voters, and is considered far more viable for a Democrat in the past.

In endorsing Reske, they stressed his leadership, experience and ability to compromise:

Reske boasts a strong track record in that area, having garnered substantial Republican support in his election campaigns and in policymaking in the General Assembly and the Council of State Governments, of which he has been Midwest chairman. "Market the Midwest" is his slogan, and he'd be a good bet to back it up. 
A Marine Colonel, Iraq vet, civil engineer, volunteer firefighter, and legislative leader, Reske is well-respected across party lines.  The Star endorsement is available in full here:|newswell|text|Opinion|s

On the GOP side, the Star has endorsed former Marion County Coroner and three-time Congressional candidate, Dr. John McGoff.  The Star pointedly snubbed former congressman David McIntosh and former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks, who lead in fundraising and have brought in big-name support.  However, serious questions persist about McIntosh's residency and charges of vote fraud, and Brooks has never before run for office.  The Star liked how Dr. McGoff challenged Congressman Dan Burton twice and exposed his vulnerability.  That Star endorsement is here:|newswell|text|Opinion|p

Depending upon your party, both of these candidates deserve your serious consideration in the May 8th primary.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


In a move anticipated since his felony convictions were handed down by a Hamilton County jury, former Secretary of State Charlie White has been suspended from the practice of law by the Indiana Supreme Court.  The decision of the Supreme Court is here:

This is standard procedure for an attorney convicted of a felony.  White's convictions are on appeal.  Should his convictions be reversed, he could theoretically recover his law license and even the Secretary of State's office.

The drama continues.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I dislike Richard Mourdock

I can't decide if this will be a long post or a short one.  There are so many reasons why I dislike State Treasurer Richard Mourdock that it is hard to categorize all of them.  And to start off at the top, no it is NOT because I am a Democrat and he is a Republican.  I have many Republican friends, sometimes we agree, sometimes not.  Its not even that he beat a Rhodes Scholar (who is now Mayor of South Bend) in the 2010 race for State Treasurer.

Partly is because he is a hypocrite.  He has been running for one office or another literally as long as Dick Lugar has, but he attacks Lugar for being a career politician.  REALLY?  At least Lugar has won all of his races, Mourdock has lost far more than he has won.

For me, a big part of my dislike for Mourdock is what I think of as his attempted murder of Chrysler.  You may recall that Chrysler went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  But Mr. Mourdock made a legal fight, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, trying to kill that reorganization, and spent about $2 million in taxpayer dollars doing it.  Had Mourdock WON that fight, he would have killed hundreds of thousands of American jobs, because there was no other way to reorganize Chrysler other than the way they were doing it.

Why did Mourdock make this fight?  To cover up one of the most idiotic decisions in Indiana political history, and there are plenty of those.  Mourdock had invested Millions from the state pension funds he controls in junk bonds.  These were Chrysler junk bonds.  They were junk bonds because everyone with half a brain knew Chrysler was going bankrupt, so their value was falling like a stone.  The market itself should have warned Mourdock off, but NOOOO, he thought it was a Great Deal.  Hogwash.

Worse, the reorganization was a better deal for creditors than if Chrysler had just been liquidated.  All of this has been covered ad nauseum elsewhere.  So we have this not-so-smart investment decision to invest pension funds in junk bonds, when they should not have been put to that level of risk at all, then a multi-million dollar legal coverup of that investment stupidity, accompanied by legal hogwash from people who don't know the inside of a bankruptcy court.

And there is more, so much more.  On a partisan note, I probably shouldn't bash Mourdock, since Joe Donnelly will (hopefully) beat him come November should the GOP be so stupid as to nominate him.  But I just can't stand to do that.  I don't think he is qualified for ANY office, not even the one he holds.   And I care about my state too much to sit by silently and let them try to elect this moron without me shouting about it.

Rant over.  For now.  Anybody but Mourdock.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Money talks in the Fifth District Congressional race

Common wisdom in politics is that to be successful, you need three things:  money, message, and people.  Very often, but not always, the candidate with the most money wins.  There are plenty of examples to the contrary tho, such as the 2007 win of Greg Ballard for Mayor of Indianapolis, where he was hugely out-spent by the incumbent and won regardless.

But looking at money in politics, and where it comes from, is always a productive exercise for anyone trying to see behind the scenes.  And since the 1st quarter 2012 numbers are just in on the Federal Election Commission website, let's see what we can glean from that.

First, it is a crowded field, mostly on the Republican side, where 8 candidates filed for the seat being vacating by finally-retiring Congressman Dan Burton.  Of those 8, only 4 seem serious candidates, those being Susan Brooks, a Carmel attorney and former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana; Dr. John McGoff, a physician and former Marion County Coroner making his third run at the seat; Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold; and David McIntosh, a former Congressman who's residence in Virginia has been the subject of numerous attacks by Brooks, McGoff, Seybold, and numerous commentators, including yours truly in this blog.  There are also two Democrats, State Rep. Scott Reske of Pendleton, a retired Marine Colonel and civil engineer, who seems the only viable Democratic candidate, and a former union representative from Kokomo, Tony Long. 

Of the ten filed candidates, Brooks and McIntosh have raised the most money by the March 31, 2012 reporting deadline.  Brooks has raised a total of $594,895 since she started in July 2011, and has $328,047 cash on hand.  McIntosh also started in July 2011, and has raised a total of $656,249, a great deal of it from out of state, and has $309,805 cash on hand. 

From there is a sharp drop.  Dr. McGoff reports raising $268,839 while he has only $90,422 on hand.  Mayor Seybold is even worse, raising only $75,622, with $31,134 cash on hand.  All 4 major GOP candidates continue their fundraising.

Notably, Democrat Scott Reske has raised $146,351 despite only getting into the race in October, well after Brooks, McIntosh, and McGoff, and has $49,106 on hand, more than Mayor Seybold.  Reske will not have to spend any money on media in the campaign (his opponent's coffers are running red ink), but the GOP candidates will likely spend everything they have on ads in this competitive race.  Reske seems to have raised more money than any Democrat in the Fifth in decades, and has the hurdle of convincing donors that he is for real and viable, which he may just have done with these figures. 

One might think that the GOP side of the race would be a toss-up at this point between Brooks and McIntosh, except for that pesky residency thing.  Brooks, McGoff and Seybold have all attacked McIntosh over his Virginia residency, and complaints have been filed with the new Indiana Secretary of State, the Madison County Election Board, and the Madison County Prosecutor.  If those GOP contenders all put media money into hitting McIntosh on this issue, he could be in bad trouble. 

My call at this point, absent access to any polling numbers, is that Brooks has the advantage in the Republican primary because of her cash on hand and McIntosh's potentially crippling residency problem.  Reske should be a no-brainer because of his experience and organization on the Democratic side, but he should not take the race for granted, as bizarre results have happened before when a candidate assumed victory. 

But for sure, the next three weeks until the primary will be entertaining.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why does residency matter?

A Republican friend of mind recently commented on Facebook that he thought my concerns over David McIntosh's residency was "childish".  He did not explain why, and did not even want to discuss it.  But that friend is a locally-prominent supporter of McIntosh's Congressional candidacy, so perhaps that explains his disdain.

But some other folks have also raised this issue.  In the space of about a year and a half, we have the specter of some sort of residency issue haunt Charlie White (which I first brought to light), venerable U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (which I had nothing at all to do with), and David McIntosh, were I was one of the earliest people talking about it, nearly a month ago.

But why does it matter?

My first thought, as a lawyer, is respect for the law.  The law requires certain things of us as voters in terms of residency, and to a greater or lesser extent, as a candidate.  Local candidates often have to live in the district they wish to represent and to be properly-registered voters in that district.  Falsifying a voter registration to qualify for office, or to retain office, is considered serious enough in Indiana that it is a felony.  Assuming that you can do whatever you want because you have power, or position, or because you think no one cares, is the height of arrogance.

But the philosophy behind these laws is more important.  That is, to represent people in a democratic system, you must be of and from the people you represent.  You must be sufficiently connected to them, their lives, and their concerns to represent them whether it is in a town council, a state legislature, or in Congress.  The best way to assure that is for the candidate to actually live with and know the people he or she would represent.

This is why the residency of Dick Lugar and David McIntosh matter so much to so many people in this election.  Not because some people think that the law may have been violated.  But because voters want their representatives to be one of them, not someone who used to live here and moved to another state.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Seybold's Mom and Health Care

I am not usually one to pass along rumors, but this one is just too much for me to resist.  According to a source in Marion, Indiana, where Fifth District GOP Congressional candidate Wayne Seybold is Mayor, Seybold's mother, despite living in the USA for many years, remains a British citizen.  According to the source, the reason is that Mom Seybold wants to stay on Britain's national health service. 

THAT might be a bit of a quandry for Mayor Seybold, his mother being on "socialized medicine".  Seybold's published position on American healthcare reform is this:
Wayne Seybold will aggressively advocate a repeal of the radical government take over of our nation’s healthcare system., accessed 4/2/12, 4:20 pm EDT. 

Not only is the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") most decidely NOT a "government take over", it feeds several million new customers to private insurance companies, and was originally an idea of the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation. 

But I digress.  We have the sight of a conservative Republican candidate blasting healthcare reform that to my mind is pretty modest and of GOP and conservative origins, and his own mother is on REAL socialized medicine?  Give me a break. 

This inspires me to do more digging on Mayor Seybold, to see if the Mayor's image equals reality.  Stay tuned.