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Bennett campaign ethics hearing further delayed

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Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett's hearing over charges that he violated state ethics laws was moved Monday to August as defense attorneys review thousands of pages of evidence turned over by the state inspector general.

The State Ethics Commission announced Bennett's case would be heard Aug. 14, instead of May 8. Bennett's lawyers and Inspector General David Thomas agreed to the delay.

Bennett is accused of using state resources, including staff and state computers, in his failed 2012 re-election bid. The inspector general filed the charges last November, shortly after The Associated Press reported Bennett had kept Republican Party fundraising lists on his state computers and top staff had been campaigning on state time.

Bennett issued a statement in November saying he had done nothing wrong and would cooperate with the investigation. He hired a pair of high-profile defense attorneys — Larry Mackey and Jason Barclay, with the Indianapolis firm Barnes and Thornburg.

Barclay said Monday that the defense team received 10 binders worth of documents from the inspector general's office last month in response to their discovery request and is reviewing their contents.

"You can imagine when you've been in office for four years, there's lots of email communications, calendar entries. I would describe it as documents that are typical in any state elected official's office," he said.

Depositions of witnesses could begin after the review of evidence is complete, Barclay said.

Bennett resigned as Florida's schools chief last August after the AP published emails showing he had changed the state's school-grading formula to benefit the Christel House Academy, a charter school founded by a major Republican donor. A bipartisan legislative investigation issued last September found that Bennett and his top staff were not up to the task of crafting a new school grading formula, but did not delve into any political motivation behind the grade changes.

Since then, Bennett has moved back to Indiana and returned to consulting. He is currently working with the national student testing company ACT, which is marketing its Common Core-aligned test to different states. Indiana joined the Common Core in 2010, under the guidance of Bennett and then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, but a conservative backlash made Indiana the first state to exit Common Core this year.

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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