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Monday, February 20, 2017

Indiana Legislature Seeks to End Access to Public Records

If Hoosiers needed anymore proof that the Indiana State Legislature is the absolute worst in the United States. Then look no further than Tony Cook's article entitled: "Should you have to pay $20 an hour for a public records search?". Cook's article first published in the Indianapolis Star on February 17th, 2016 is in reference to the attempt by a large number of Indiana lawmakers to make access to public records even more difficult.

Cook writes:

"The cost to access public records could rise sharply under a bill the Indiana House approved Thursday.
House Bill 1523 would allow state and local governments to charge up to $20 an hour for public record searches. Those fees would apply when government officials spend more than two hours searching for a record requested by journalists or members of the public.
The House voted 62-25 in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.
Lawmakers passed a similar measure in 2015, but then-Gov. Mike Pence vetoed it, saying "the cost of public records should never be a barrier to the public’s right to know."

Rep. Kathy Richardson, the Noblesville Republican who introduced the bill this year, said 27 other states and the federal government allow similar fees to address the costs of fulfilling large public information requests.
Her colleague, Rep. Karen Engleman, said that as a former Harrison County auditor, record requests could consume a lot of staff time.
“Some people come in and ask for hours and hours of research to be done,” Engleman said. “We don’t get paid anything for doing that.”

Opponents argued that citizens shouldn’t be required to pay for records created and maintained with their own tax money. They also fear the measure could allow government agencies to charge large fees for information they want to hide.
“I just think as a matter of principle these records belong to the taxpayers. Government records are the people’s records. The employees in whatever level of government are paid for by the taxpayers. They are our employees. They work for us,” said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington. “To have to come in and pay to get access to your records I just think is not a good principle, not a good policy.”
He cited a case in Florida where a county sheriff’s office charged a newspaper $339,000 for a request seeking emails containing gay slurs. Other counties quoted as little as $37 for the same request.
“I think you’re going to open it up to where people come in that are looking for stuff the government doesn’t want them to see, they’re going to get a really high fee,” Pierce said.
State law currently allows local governments and most state agencies to charge a fee for actual copying costs, but not for the time employees spend gathering records."

As the article notes a bill just like this one did pass in 2015. But in perhaps the only good move that Mike "Pampered" Pence made while he was Governor he vetoed this insane piece of legislation. Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden have both blogged on this their articles can be found here, herehere, and here. This bill is nothing more than politicians attempting to shield themselves from being held accountable by the voters that they are supposed to be the servants of! So that you know who is looking out for you and who is only seeking to protect themselves from we the people. We have provided below the names of the legislators so far that have supported and opposed this bill. If you want to do your best to make a difference contact each and every legislator by phone, email, mail, and fax and tell them you want this bill HB 1523 destroyed! Make them fear you the voter! As promised here are the traitors who have voted for this garbage already also listed are the patriots that voted against this bill:

Judases who have voted for HB 1523:
Authors of this POS:

Rep. Kathy Richardson-RINO, Noblesville. Email: courtney.heiden@iga.in.gov
Rep. Phillip GiaQunita-D, Fort Wayne. Click here to contact him.
Rep. Karen Engleman-RINO, Corydon. Click here to contact her.
Rep. Kevin Mahan-RINO, Hartford City. Click here to contact him.                                     

 Other Representatives who voted for HB1523:

Arnold, Llyod-RINO  

Bacon, Ron-RINO   

Baird, Jim-RINO   

Beumer, Greg-RINO   

Borders, Bruce-RINO  

Braun, Mike-RINO 

Brown, Tim-RINO  

Burton, Woody-RINO, Johnson County  

Carbaugh, Martin-RINO   

Cherry, Don-RINO  

Clere , Ed-RINO  

Cook, Tony-RINO (Not INDYSTAR Tony Cook)  

Culver, Wes-RINO  

Davisson, Steve-RINO  

Eberhart, Sean-RINO  

Ellington, Jeff-RINO 

Friend, Bill-RINO

Frye, Randy-RINO

Gutwein, Douglas-RINO

Hamm, Dick-RINO

Heaton, Bob-RINO

Heine, David-RINO

Huston, Todd-RINO

Jordan, Jack-RINO

Judy, Christopher-RINO

Kerickhoff, Cindy-RINO

Klinker, Shelia-D

Lawson, Linda-D

Lehe, Don-RINO

Lehman, Matt-RINO

Leonard, Dan-RINO

Lucas, Jim-RINO

Lyness, Randy-RINO

May, Chris-RINO

Mayfield, Peggy-RINO

McNamara, Wendy-RINO

Miller, Doug-RINO

Morris, Bob-RINO

Negele, Sharon-RINO

Nisly, Curt-RINO

Ober, David-RINO

Olthoff, Julie-RINO

Pressel, Jim-RINO

Siegrist, Sally-RINO

Slager, Hal-RINO

Smaltz, Ben-RINO

Smith, Milo-RINO

Soliday, Ed-RINO

Stemler, Steven-D

Steurwald, Greg-RINO

Sullivan, Holli-RINO

Thompson, Jeff-RINO

VanNatter, Heath-RINO

Washburne, Thomas-RINO

Wesco, Timothy-RINO

Young, John-RINO

Ziemke, Cindy-RINO

Representatives that voted against HB 1523:

Austin, Terri-D 

Bartlett, John-D 

Brown, Charlie-D  

Candelaria Reardon, Maria-D 

DeLaney, Ed-D 

Dvorak, Ryan-D

Errington, Sue-D

Forestal, Dan-D

Goodin, Terry-D

Hamilton, Carey-D

Harris, Earl-D

Hatfield, Ryan-D

Kersey, Clyde-D

Macer, Karlee-D

Moed, Justin-D

Morrison, Alan-Real Republican

Moseley, Chuck-D

Pelath, Scott-D

Pierce, Matt-D

Porter, Gregory-D

Pryor, Cherirsh-D

Shackleford, Robin-D

Summers, Vanessa-D

Taylor, Joe-D

Wright, Melanie-D



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Jim Atterholt going back to IURC

Hello all! Earlier this year we blogged about how political hack and Daniels-Pence retread Jim Atterholt was begging and pleading with Governor Eric "Bagman" Holcomb to be given his old job back at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission doing whatever the utility industry wants. Apparently his pleadings not surprisingly worked and good old Eric had decided to give Jimmy Atterholt his job back. The Indianapolis Business Journal reported on February 9th, 2017 about this. From the IBJ:

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday (February 9th) announced Jim Atterholt, former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, will once again serve in that role.

Atterholt will replace former IURC Chairwoman Carol Stephan, who stepped down Jan. 1 after 2-1/2 years.

Atterholt, a former lawmaker, most recently served as chief of staff to former Gov. Mike Pence. He was IURC chairman from 2009 to 2014. Atterholt is also a former commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance.
“Jim Atterholt’s history of service and depth of knowledge on utility issues make him the best choice to lead the IURC, particularly over the next four years,” Holcomb said. “IURC’s work will be central to my focus as governor to provide great customer service for Hoosiers in every corner of the state.”

If Holcomb is truly saying that Atterholt is the best person to run the IURC and to provide great customer service to Hoosiers. Than Holcomb needs to seriously rethink his idea of what "great customer service" is! As we, Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden have pointed out before Jim Atterholt should have his ever widening butt kicked to the curb! His past history at the Indiana Department of Insurance and his previous tenure at IURC show him to be completely ill suited to run a lemonade stand! Let alone the IURC! The article does point out that there is bipartisan support for Atterholt to go back to ruining running the IURC:

A nominating committee of four Republicans and three Democrats interviewed and made recommendations to the governor for selection on Feb 3. Holcomb said the decision was “unanimous."
The IURC is a powerful agency that regulates $14 billion worth of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. It approves utility projects and determines how much utilities can charge customers.

This of course is not news to us or to those who have been paying attention at all to politics in good old Honest-To-Goodness Indiana! For decades now the IURC whether it by run by Republicans or Democrats is simply interested in screwing over the rate payers and carrying out the will of the Bipartisan Cabal that runs much of Indiana state politics!

Holcomb has shown that his time as Governor is the time of the second rater!

Should Hoosier Republicans Form a Third Party?

Should real Hoosier republicans form a third party? That's a question that is being asked of us a lot these days. With there being no discernible differences between the two major parties in Indiana. At least in the area of good government. It is a question that most if not all serious conservative/libertarian republicans must ask ourselves. It's certainly a tempting thought to declare the party of Bill Hudnut and Rex Early dead and buried and walk away to create a new party one dedicated to individual liberty and freedom. But for reasons we will elaborate on. We here at IR have come to believe that starting a new political party would be ultimately counterproductive. Before we get to why we are not in favor of forming a new political party in Indiana. We wanted to provide some new information about the Indiana GOP's plans to hike the states gas tax. On January 25th, 2017 the Indianapolis Business Journal ran a story entitled "GOP lawmakers draw criticism for calling tax hikes 'user fees'" the same day a bill to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees for Indiana passed through the House Roads and Transportation Committee according to a story on WISH-TV's website. With the obvious abandonment of fiscal responsibility by Governor Eric Holcomb, Rep. Ed Soliday, State House Speaker Brian Bosma, and the Marion County GOP Leaderships pushing for higher taxes, along with the gutting of the State Board of Accounts. It understandably makes us ask "Why are these people Republicans?" The only answer we can come up with is they are Republicans merely out of convenience rather than ideology. The only core conviction that Daniels, Holcomb, Bosma and McQuillen hold is they believe they are entitled to serve in public office. Recently we reported about Christine Scales decision to leave the Republican Party to become a Democrat. We here at IR cannot speak for Mrs. Scales. But in our minds we cannot help but think that if the Marion County and Indiana Republican Party had a few more people like Christine Scales and fewer apparatchiks like Mike McQuillen she might have stayed.

Alright now to why despite the temptation to do so. We here at IR would oppose Hoosier Republicans bolting the GOP and forming or joining a new political party. One of the biggest reasons is the immense difficulty inherent in attempting to win an office as an independent or third party candidate. Take a look at the case of former Republican Congressman Ron Paul who ran for President on the Libertarian Party line. He did not earn a single electoral vote when he ran in 1988. However when he returned to congress as a Republican in the mid 90's and then twice ran for the GOP presidential nomination he did much better. Congressman Paul has generated far more interest and attention for his ideas as a republican than he ever did as a libertarian. As a difficult as it is to reform a political party. It can only be done by changing the parties office holders and structure. After all why should a political party be open to any change if the activists who seek it all walk out? Lastly one issue that has not been brought up much is: Are third parties any better run than the two dominant political parties? Many a disgruntled republican in Indiana has left to join the Libertarian Party. Many have left the LP because in this state at least the Indiana Libertarian Party is just a social club that likes to play games with both parties. For an alternative political party they spend time kissing up to people like Democratic State Rep. Ed Delaney and pseudo republican and former Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle. We feel that the State and National Republican Parties have a heritage that is to beautiful to surrender to the Daniels, Holcomb's, Oesterles, and Ballards! We believe as President Reagan did that what our state and nation needs is not a third party but a revived and vibrant second party!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Residency Issue Cost Former Indiana School's Superintendent Tony Bennett a seat on the Clark County Council

Finally some good news this week for a change! Earlier today it was reported that former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett was originally set to be appointed to a seat on the Clark County Council. But apparently is ineligible to take the seat because he has not resided in the county for the required period of time need to serve on the council. Elizabeth Beilman writing for the News and Tribune reports on this issue:

Former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett won't be serving on the Clark County Council after all, as he doesn't meet the residency requirements to hold office.
State law requires office holders must have lived in the district they represent for at least six months and within the county for at least a year.
The Clark County Assessor's office recorded Bennett became the owner of his Jeffersonville home Sept. 8, which doesn't meet the six-month requirement to live within the council district. His former home in New Albany was transferred to a new owner Aug. 29.
Bennett confirmed Thursday he has only lived in Clark County about six months, having previously lived in Floyd County.
"I'm not aware of any [such law]," he told the News and Tribune when informed by the newspaper of the residency requirement. "Frankly, I would assume [Clark County GOP Chairman Jamey Noel] would know that."

Bennett said he would step aside and allow someone else to fill the seat.
"I had no intentions of running when the two years were up," he said of the District 2 term. "I strictly saw this as serving the county."
Attorney Larry Wilder, often hired to represent local Republicans, took fault.
"Sometimes when you have lawyers that don't read every word in a statute, they give bad advice," Wilder said. "Tony and I talked about the opening, and I spoke with [Noel] as well, and they both asked a question about eligibility to serve and quite honestly, I made a mistake."
Bennett was one of two Republicans caucused onto the board Wednesday evening in a surprise move. But Bennett wasn't named to fill the seat vacated by Mike Popplewell, who resigned amid misdemeanor charges.
Instead, Bennett was going to represent District 2. Brian Lenfert, sitting District 2 councilman, was elected to fill Popplewell's at-large seat.
A call to Noel was not immediately returned.

Chelsea Schneider one of the only good reporters left at the Langley-Run Indianapolis Star had this to say:

Former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett returned to Hoosier politics this week — but his stay was brief.
Bennett had been appointed to the Clark County Council in Southern Indiana on Wednesday. But a day later, Bennett said he would no longer serve after the News and Tribune reported he hadn’t lived in the county long enough to hold the office. State law requires a council member to live in the county for at least one year. Bennett told the newspaper he had lived in Clark County for about six months.
The development is the latest chapter in the high-profile Republican’s political career. He took a break after losing re-election as state schools chief in 2012 and resigning as the Florida education commissioner a year later.
After his selection, Bennett told IndyStar Wednesday that filling the vacancy was an “opportunity to do something that I think is really positive.”
“It’s just to serve the community I grew up in in a very positive way,” Bennett said. “I wanted to be a service to our county given my background. I have a good understanding of fiscal policy and budgeting.”
After learning he was ineligible for the seat, Bennett told the News and Tribune that he “had no intentions of running” when the current term was up.
Bennett and Clark County GOP Chair Jamey Noel didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

We are over joyed to hear that at least for now that Tony Bennett will not being serving in public office. It appears that his attempt to serve on the Clark County Council just went "A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!" Couldn't have happened to a nicer lowlife! One can't help but wonder if Tony Bennett is thinking about why they chose to apply local residency law to him when so many other office holders have flouted residency laws to keep their offices! Former Senator's Dick Lugar and Evan Bayh both have. Former Governor Mitch Daniels lived at his house in Hamilton County even though the Constitution of the State of Indiana states that the governor must reside at the seat of Indiana State Government which the court's have interpreted to mean Marion County. But at least Bennett is grateful that he is not facing any legal repercussions for this. He is undoubtedly thankful that he was not charged with federal wire fraud violations from stunts that he and his staff pulled when he was Education Superintendent.

Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh both have written extensively on Bennett's time in office. Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has also discussed this at length on his podcast series "The Charlie White Show".

Especially of interest is a blog post by Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana back on December 02, 2014. The post  is titled "Joe Hogsett And Terry Curry Gave Tony Bennett Pass On Multiple Wire Fraud Violations". Mr. Welsh gave some facts which should be reviewed in light of Tony Bennett's past and also the fact that he is clearly willing to seek office again. From the keystrokes of the Grand Master himself:

Before Inspector General David Thomas entered into a settlement agreement with former Education Supt. Tony Bennett this summer letting him off with a hand slap for using state employees and state resources for political purposes, he prepared another 95-page report in which his investigation concluded there were 100 instances in which Bennett or his staff violated federal wire fraud laws. For some reason, Thomas didn't bother to release that report at the time he entered into the state ethics settlement with Bennett, but State House reporter Tom LoBianco has now obtained a copy of the original report, which should have been posted on the IG's website for public inspection but wasn't.

. . . In a section labeled “Scheme to Defraud,” the inspector general laid out its case, saying Bennett “while serving as the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Indiana, devised a scheme or artifice to defraud the State of Indiana of money and property by using State of Indiana paid employees and property, for his own personal gain, as well as for his own political benefit to be re-elected to the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.”  
The violations fell into five categories: political campaign fundraising, responding to political opponent’s assertions, calendar political activity meetings, political campaign call appointments and general political campaign activity.  
Through reviews of emails and calendar entries and more than 50 interviews with top Republicans and former staffers, investigator Charles Coffin determined that Bennett falsified mileage logs to cover fundraising trips and the use of two state workers as campaign drivers. The report also details 20 days on which Bennett used the SUV to go to local Republican fundraisers coded as “business” in his handwritten vehicle logs, as well as instances when trips to events billed as education-related also had calendar notes about political donors being present.  
Bennett also used tax dollars to send a staffer to attend the 2012 Republican Party convention on his behalf . . .
According to LoBianco, the report analogized Bennett's case to the recent federal prosecution of former Lake Co. Surveyor George Van Til, who pleaded guilty last December to six federal wire fraud counts related to the use of county employees and resources for his political campaigns. Bennett could have also been prosecuted for official misconduct and ghost employment under state law just like one of his predecessors, Harold Negley, who former Marion Co. Prosecutor Steve Goldsmith prosecuted on nearly identical charges. The question now that must be answered is why former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett and Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry, both Democrats, passed on prosecuting Bennett. What was the quid pro quo? Inquiring minds want to know. The answer should be quite obvious in both instances. Both of them should be holding their heads in shame for breaching their respective oaths of office.

Welsh then goes onto point out some interesting information about former Indiana Secretary of State now Congressman Todd Rokita and how one of the staff members cited in the Inspector General's report on Bennett office. Had a spouse who was mentioned in regards to alleged violations at the Secretary of State's office under Todd Rokita.

I (Gary Welsh) would be remiss if I didn't remind people that former Secretary of State Charlie White reported his predecessor, Todd Rokita, to the state's Inspector General and the Marion Co. Prosecutor, for similar violations after he and his staff uncovered campaign-related documents on the state's computers in his office when he took office. The spouse of one of the employees cited in the Inspector General's report on Bennett's office was at the center of those violations in the Secretary of State's office. Both the Inspector General and the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office refused to investigate White's allegations. The State House media has refused to report on White's allegations because they don't like him and want him destroyed.

Here was my reaction last July when the IG's settlement agreement with Bennett was announced:
Clearly, the admissions made by Bennett involve violations of criminal statutes, including official misconduct and ghost employment under state law. Former Education Supt. Harold Negley was forced to resign and prosecuted for exactly those same offenses back in 1985 by then-Marion Co. Prosecutor Steve Goldsmith. The state ethics commission can recommend forwarding the findings to the prosecutor for further investigation, but nothing is stopping Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry from acting on his own. It remains unclear why he sat back and allowed the Inspector General's investigation to play out before convening a grand jury to conduct his own independent investigation. Remarkably, Bennett's lawyers at Barnes & Thornburg claim they have an agreement with Curry not to prosecute him, which is a complete outrage if true. Curry claimed he planned to get tough on the prosecution of public corruption cases when he ran for office four years ago, but he declines to take any action in the most brazen cases set in front of him.
It is completely beyond reason as to why Tony Bennett was not charged like his predecessor in office Harold Negley was back in 1985 for pretty much the exact same offenses! Some democrats complained about the refusal to prosecute Bennett and such refusal certainly cost the democrats their chance to pick up some more elected offices. Why Todd Rokita has been allowed to skate by in the matter of their being claims made that their was campaign related documents on the state's computers is also astonishing. It is way past time that someone looked into Mr. Rokita and his tenure as Secretary of State! We all must be vigilant in regards to Tony Bennett. He and other's might have thought that with the unfortunate demise of Gary Welsh. That he and the other parasites and vultures that seek to drain the life blood out of the citizens of Indiana with nobody noticing them. Surprise! Gary Welsh maybe gone but his influence lives on! You know we will let the great actor Henry Fonda break it down for you:

Once again we are your host here at the Indy Republican Blog saying goodnight and be happy wherever you are. But before we leave you we want to share a little treasure from the good Tony Bennett and also a link to a podcast by that great freedom fighter himself MR. CHARLIE WHITE!

Here is Tony Bennett performing that great classic "Anything Goes" with Lady Gaga:

And last but certainly not least Charlie White's take on Tony Bennett: http://indianatalks.com/site/2014/10/the-charlie-white-show-10-29-14-podcast/

RINO Jim Merritt seeks to be Marion County GOP Chairman another reason why the Marion County GOP is Screwed!

It seems that the Marion County Republican Establishment has learned nothing from losing their greatest officeholder Indianapolis City-County Councilor Christine Scales! Word is out that Democratic Republican State Senator Jim Merritt has decided he is the cure for what ails the Marion County GOP. So he has decided to bestow upon them his great gifts be seeking to be their next chairman. Today's issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal has an article about Merritt's run for County Chairman:

State Sen. Jim Merritt is throwing his hat into the ring to become chairman of the Marion County Republican Party.
Merritt told IBJ that he “holds the party pretty close to my heart” and said his focus issues in the state Legislature—including poverty, hunger and addiction—are “ideally suited for Marion County and the urban Republican model.”
“If we don’t reach out to those addicted to drugs, those who are hungry, those who have vacant homes on their block, we are not doing our duty,” Merritt said. “I think the GOP should stand for community.”
Others are also expected to seek the leadership spot. A new chairman will be selected March 4 as part of the Marion County Republican Central Committee reorganization process.

IR has does not yet at this time have any information about any other candidates running for the chairman's position. Merritt may have ambitions beyond just being the new county chairman the article continues:

Many Republicans insiders believed that Merritt would run against Democrat Joe Hogsett, in the mayor's race in 2015, but he did not enter the GOP primary. The Republican candidate, businessman Chuck Brewer, ended up losing to Hogsett.
Democrats currently control the City-County Council, with 14 seats compared to Republicans’ 11 seats. Republican council member Christine Scales defected to become a Democrat this week.
Merritt, who represents portions of Marion and Hamilton counties as a state senator, said he believes "Republicans can win in Marion County with good organization.”

“We’re going to work on the grassroots,” Merritt said. “We’re going to work on raising money and working on communications and messaging. I think I can provide the leadership."
Merritt is seeking to replace Council Minority Leader Mike McQuillen, who led the party on a temporary basis until announcing he would step down this week.
"I believe that there is much work to do in my role as minority leader of the City-County Council, working with our Republican councillors to move the needle on thoughtful policy, hold the mayor accountable to the people, and prepare for 2019,” McQuillen said in a statement.
Asked if Merritt would be interested in running against Hogsett in 2019, he said he is focused on “reviving the party.”
“We’re not going to win the mayor’s office if we don’t have a strong party,” Merritt told IBJ.
Merritt said he counts on others running for the seat and that he will be working on a “full-throated plan of what I plan on doing in leading the party.”

A few thought come to mind. For one when Merritt says he is going to "work on the grassroots". We are all scratching our heads trying to figure out if there is any grass where this man walks. It is also beyond laughable the idea that Merritt could beat Hogsett in 2019! He is correct when he states that they will not win the mayor's office without a strong party. Merritt however does not have the intelligence, drive or leadership to rebuild the Marion County Republican Party. Writing on his blog a few years back the late, great Gary Welsh had this to say about Jim Merritt:

Readers should know a couple of things about Merritt. He is behind the cabal of good ole boys who drafted Tim Craft to move into Councilor Christine Scales' new third district and run against her in the Republican primary next year. He approved of the same council Republicans who never asked Lincoln Plowman to resign or leave the caucus after being indicted for taking a bribe from an undercover FBI agent booting Scales from the Republican caucus because of her conservative and independent streak. Former Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn liked to copy Merritt on e-mails deriding Scales for putting her constituents ahead of their petty politics. Merritt would reply approvingly to Vaughn's cutting e-mails of Scales. Secondly, Merritt lobbied hard for the bone-headed decision to locate the Regional Operations Center at Alex Carroll's Eastgate Mall property despite the legitimate misgivings former Public Safety Director Frank Straub had with using that location. Know the man before you jump to support him.

All of us have only this to say. If the above mentioned facts by Gary Welsh about Merritt are any indication of his style of leadership. Then the hell with it! We will have no part of his faux brand of Republicanism!

For further reading:

Marion County GOP pushes Christine Scales away

Christine Scales

Yesterday Indianapolis City-County Councilor Christine Scales announced on Facebook that she was leaving the Republican Party to become a Democrat. We here at IR have for many years supported Christine Scales and we all will continue to do so regardless of her party switch. We previously have mentioned the inept leadership of the Marion County Republican Party under former Mayor "Boss Greg" Ballard and current fellow RINO Traitor Mike McQuillen. Although we here are all very sorry that Councilor Scales has left the Grand Old Party. We certainly can sympathize with her decision to leave. She was treated abysmally by the apparatchiks that pass themselves off as republicans when real republicans like Paul Ogden, Christine Scales and the late great Gary Welsh are treated as pariahs for holding the parties officials accountable. As for ourselves we all have been Republicans for many decades. We will agitate for reform until we leave this world. The Republican Party of Marion County and of Indiana is not and has not been worthy of laying claim to the historic conservative and libertarian principles of the GOP for many years. There have been some positive developments such as the ousting of former US Senator Dick "Carpetbagger" Lugar in 2012 and the refusal of former Mayor Greg Ballard to run for a third term in 2015. But there is still a long way to go to reclaiming the Grand Old Party in the Hoosier state. As we have pointed out the state house republicans wish to raise our state gas tax, and continue to fund projects of dubious value such as the previously mentioned bicentennial projects that were started by former Governor and now Vice President Mike Pence. Along with shielding our state legislators emails from we the people. Former Governors Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence and now current Governor Eric Holcomb have all ran on making state government more transparent but have increased the secrecy surrounding government immensely. Former Governor Pence went as far as to push to keep his emails a secret and so far Eric Holcomb has shown no willingness to rollback previous administrations secrecy. If newly elected State GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer so desires he can order a long needed overhaul of the Marion County Republican Party structure. Until the State Republican Party returns to its historic roots of limited government, opposing pay-to-play schemes, obeying the rule of law, and not blindly following ever yahoo that runs with an R after their name they will continue their deserved decline! If it must come to the point where the State GOP is reduced to rubble. So be it. All us true republicans will be there to rebuild and reclaim our parties heritage. Godspeed Christine Scales! And to all our fellow brothers and sisters in arms! In the words of the savior: "Let not your heart be troubled." John 14:1 also remember "Blessed are you who are persecuted for righteousness sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10

Paul Ogden of Ogden on Politics fame and our colleague on the left and still the undisputed king of Indiana Democratic Bloggers Jon Easter have both written about Christine Scales Party switch. The links to their pieces are below:

Republican Indianapolis City Councilor becomes a Democrat:

Jon Easters post on Christine Scales party switch:

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ex Governor "Pamepered" Mike Pence stiffs Indiana taxpayers on State's Bicentennial Consrtuction Projects!

Former Governor and now Vice-President Mike "Pampered" Pence may no longer be in Indiana but we are still stuck dealing with his fuck ups as Governor! Tony Cook once again has another outstanding story. On INDYSTAR.COM today Mr. Cook has posted an article about how our state lawmakers are scrambling to fund several dumbass ideas construction projects that Pence started without a way to fund them! We know you are all just as shocked as we are! This stuff just doesn't happen in Eerie, Indiana! And for all you party hacks out there reading this: Yes we just here insulted you! Tony Cook writes:

At issue are $53.5 million in new projects Pence sought as part of the state’s 200th birthday celebration last year. They included a new $2 million Bicentennial Plaza at the Indiana Statehouse, a $2.5 million education center at the neighboring State Library, a new $25 million state archives building and a $24 million inn at Potato Creek State Park in St. Joseph County.
Construction on the plaza — with its two large sculptures and water features — and the education center already are complete. Some design work for the archives building also has occurred. So far, the state has spent more than $5 million.

Skeptical lawmakers allowed Pence to spend taxpayer money on the projects as part of the state's 200th birthday celebration after he assured them he could pay for projects by leasing excess space on the Indiana's 340 state-owned cell towers.
But two years after those assurances were made, a cell tower deal has yet to materialize.

So let's just think about this for a minute. Lawmakers agreed to spend tax dollars on these assorted projects because Mike Pence had assured them it would be paid for by leasing excess space on state-owned cell towers. And two years later the state has no cell tower deal. Now the IR staff does not generally handle large scale business transactions. But it seems to all of us that both Pence and the legislators share blame for this. Pence should have at least had some deal ready to cover the costs of these projects in full before proposing this to the legislature. The legislators on the other hand should have made certain that Pence actually had something on the table and wasn't just blowing smoke to get them to agree to another of his half-baked schemes!

Cook continues:

Now, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Pence's successor and fellow Republican, is trying to find a way to fill the $5.5 million hole those projects left in the state budget.
He initially proposed dipping into a fund traditionally reserved for public health initiatives, but is now reworking that plan after questions from IndyStar.
The need to find $5.5 million for the bicentennial projects comes at a time when Holcomb is already grappling with a $378 million revenue shortfall compared to what lawmakers had originally budgeted for this year.
"We did the projects. We have to pay for the projects," said Stephanie Wilson, Holcomb's spokeswoman.

In the two-year state spending plan Holcomb sent to lawmakers earlier this month, he sought to use money from the state's Tobacco Master Settlement fund to pay for the projects.
Money in that fund comes from a 1998 multistate lawsuit settlement with big tobacco companies over the health impact of their products. Indiana receives about $128 million a year from the settlement. Other states have used their share of the settlement for unrelated purposes, but Indiana traditionally has reserved the funds for public health initiatives such as children’s health insurance, community health centers, mental health treatment and programs to combat HIV and AIDS.
Holcomb's proposal to use the fund to pay for bicentennial projects raised concerns among public health advocates given the state’s HIV outbreak last year, a sharp uptick in opioid abuse and deaths and the state's 12th-highest-in-the-nation smoking rate.

Cook goes onto point out that last year that State Rep. Greg Porter-D, and other legislators in both parties had questioned if any cell tower deal would be able to fully fund these projects. And what deal that then Governor Pence had in place would most likely have not fully funded the bicentennial projects funding needs!

“That money was intended for health-related programs and that’s where it should go,” said Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis. “Our governor talks about having an honestly balanced budget with no gimmicks. I think this would be a nice gimmick.”
He and other lawmakers raised concerns when Pence first proposed funding the projects with a cell phone tower deal. Even Republican fiscal leaders expressed doubts about Pence's proposed funding mechanism after IndyStar exposed last year that any cell tower deal likely would fall short of fully funding the projects.
“I’m going on faith," Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said last year. "They assured me they can get this done.”
Amid such concerns — and in the heat of the presidential campaign — Pence announced in September that a cell phone tower deal had been reached with Ohio-based Agile Networks. The deal would provide the state with $50 million upfront and more during the life of the 25-year lease, his administration said.
“This agreement, if approved, will put underused assets into full play, enhance Indiana’s communication capabilities throughout the state and fund the state’s bicentennial projects,” Pence said at the time.
What Pence didn't say was that the deal with Agile Networks was far more expansive than advertised. Not only would it have given Agile control over the state's cell phone towers, it also would have allowed the company to use the state's vast fiber network.
That stirred fierce opposition from the state's cable and broadband trade groups, which represent companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner.
A spokesman for Agile declined comment for this story.

The deal was supposed to go before the state budget committee for final approval in December, but it did not end up on the agenda amid the behind-the-scenes controversy.
Now, the fate of the deal is uncertain.
Wilson said the governor is reviewing "the entire deal."
"It’s not done," she said. "We don’t know if or when it will be done."
In the meantime, Holcomb is backing off his initial proposal to pay for the bicentennial projects with money from the tobacco settlement fund.
Wilson said Tuesday that Holcomb  is now asking House lawmakers to change the funding source for the projects to the general fund.
The tobacco settlement money will instead be used to support a planned increase in funding for the state’s adult protective services, which an IndyStar investigation found last year is woefully understaffed and ineffective in protecting vulnerable adults exposed to abuse and neglect.
“This is in keeping with the governor’s commitment to using health-related funds for health-related purposes,” Wilson said.
When asked about the bicentennial funding problem, fiscal leaders in the General Assembly tried to cast it in diplomatic terms.
"Let’s say we had some friendly jousting going on between me and the (Pence) administration over the bicentennial projects," Kenley said. "At one time I said, 'I’m not sure I can afford to celebrate our bicentennial.' But we went ahead and celebrated. Now that we’ve celebrated, we’ve got to pay the bills."

This story alone shows why most of our legislators in both parties should be thrown out of office! If as State Senator Luke Kenley states that they were not certain they could afford the projects but went ahead and did them anyway. That is reason enough to show that he has no business being in charge of anything! If past experience is any indication the legislators including Kenley will probably come up with some other bone-headed plan to take care of former Governor Pence's mistakes! Kudos to Tony Cook for writing this story! If he keeps this up he will get snatched up by a real news outlet sooner or later!

Update: All of us here are especially honored and thankful for a mention by Mr. Jon Easter about this post on his blog. Click here to read his wonderful work.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jon Easter's Take on Raising Statewide Officeholders Pay

Good Evening everyone. We all think it would be worth your time to check out this great post by Jon Easter of Indy Democrat fame. Nice work as always Jon! Checkout Jon's Pulitzer worthy piece Senator Head Wants to Give Gov., Others Raises

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Political Hack Jim Atterholt is begging for his old job back ruining the State Utility Commission

Just like a bad slasher film villain who just does not know when to quit. Soon to be former Chief of Staff to outgoing Governor Mike Pence thinks he should be allowed another chance to screw up the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). John Russell of the Indianapolis Business Journal has the story:

jim atterholt mug

Jim Atterholt

Gov. Mike Pence’s chief of staff, who will lose his job when Pence leaves office on Monday, is seeking to return to the five-member state commission that oversees utilities.

Jim Atterholt confirmed Thursday he has applied for an opening on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, where he served from 2009 to 2014—the last four years as chairman.
During his previous term as chairman, Atterholt was given the job of cleaning up the commission following the messy tenure of his predecessor, David Lott Hardy.
Hardy was accused of failing to disclose several secret meetings with Duke Energy executives concerning cost overruns at the company’s Edwardsport plant and of helping the agency’s top lawyer break ethics laws. He was charged with four felony counts for official misconduct, but the charges were later dismissed.
The IURC is a powerful agency that regulates $14 billion worth of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. It approves utility projects and determines how much utilities can charge customers.
The commission has an opening due to the retirement of Chairwoman Carol Stephan, who stepped down Jan. 1 after 2-½ years.
“I have submitted my application to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Nominating Committee to fill the remainder of Carol's term,” Atterholt told IBJ in an email. “Governor-elect Holcomb will determine who will serve as chair of the commission.”
Prior to joining the IURC in 2009, Atterholt was the Indiana insurance commissioner for more than four years. He previously worked as director of government affairs for AT&T-Indiana and spent two terms as a Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives
It’s unclear how much competition Atterholt will have in his bid to get his old job back. The process to fill openings on the IURC is cumbersome, with applicants required to submit letters of interest to a nominating committee, which selects candidates to interview and then recommends three finalists to the governor, who picks the winner.
The nominating committee has not yet released the names of other interested candidates.

Interestingly the article declines to mention Atterholt's sordid and unethical history at running both the Indiana Department of Insurance and also his time at IURC. Especially considering that John Russell reported on Atterholt's issue at the IURC back in a 2011 article he wrote for the Indianapolis Star! At the time both Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden both reported on Atterholt's unusually close relationship with Duke Energy. Which was the problem his predecessor David Lott Hardy had and was the reason why Hardy was forced out and Atterholt put in Hardy's place! Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden's pieces on Atterholt and the IURC can be found here and here. As for his conduct as head of the Department of Insurance Atterholt was told repeatedly by then Title Insurance Division Head Paul Ogden about various legal problems being created by a department head at the IDOI who had been put into their position by former Governor Joe Kernan. Atterholt responded by firing Ogden from his position. Longtime readers of Advance Indiana and Ogden on Politics.com will be aware of the story. But for those of you who may not have heard of it we will post links to both Mr. Ogden's accounts of his situation as reported on his blog and also a link to the asinine decision made by the Court of Appeals granting summary judgement to the Department of Insurance. If you like twisted and nonsensical judicial decisions then you will enjoy reading the Court's dismissing of Ogden's lawsuit.

If Eric Holcomb is indeed stupid enough to give Atterholt any job in his administration than he deserves to get his butt whipped if he seeks reelection in 2020! This story of Atterholt's attempt to stay on in state government is disturbing enough. But we are all scratching our heads here as to why Mr. Russell made absolutely no mention of Atterholt's past problems at IURC since he reported on them five and a half years ago! Tell us John why did you fail to mention these facts in your IBJ article last week? It is relevant information and any competent third rate hack would have put it in there article! Why didn't you? If you ever care to explain yourself we are all ears! If any of you feel so inclined you can call John Russell at his office (317) 472-5383 or ask him on twitter if you feel so inclined at www.twitter.com/JohnRussell99.

We suspect that Mr. Russell will most likely not respond or will give some lame excuse as to why he dropped the ball in reporting on Jimmy Atterholt! If and when we here anything at all about this we will let you know. From all of us here at Indy Republican until next time have a good night and God bless.

Paul Ogden's time at the Department of Insurance:




Court of Appeals boneheaded decision on Ogden's lawsuit against the DOI: