Daniels aide calls Dem ethics complaint 'nonsense'

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

 A Democratic lawmaker filed a complaint Wednesday seeking an ethics investigation into whether Gov. Mitch Daniels overstepped his role when his office sent out a statement about renovations to Purdue University's president's office — the post Daniels will assume in January.

State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said in his request to state Inspector General David Thomas that "Daniels clearly misused state property for personal reasons" when he asked his staff to send out a statement last week to respond to stories about $380,000 in renovations being done on the Purdue president's office.

Brown contends that Daniels, a Republican, violated state ethics rules when a state government e-mail list was used to distribute the statement in which Daniels said he had asked Purdue to halt those renovations.

He said Wednesday afternoon that Daniels' statement raised the question of whether the governor was acting in his role of governor or his future role as Purdue president — a question he said could come up again in Daniels' four remaining months as governor.

"That's the cloudiness there, this uncertainty as to which hat he's wearing at any given time. And all I'm asking is that the ethics committee clear that up for all Hoosiers," Brown said.

Daniels spokeswoman Jane Jankowski called Brown's request for an ethics investigation "partisan nonsense" and said the governor acted properly when he issued the statement in response to news stories about the Purdue renovations.

"Governor Daniels set the record straight after what could have been misleading headlines about him. But, as governor, he could very legitimately and properly comment about university expenditures at Purdue or elsewhere," Jankowski said in a statement.

After Daniels office released its statement last week, Purdue spokesman Chris Sigurdson said acting school president Tim Sands "honored" the governor's request to halt further renovation work on the office.

In his request for an ethics investigation into Daniels' actions, Brown also asked Inspector General David Thomas to reconsider an opinion issued in August clearing the governor to lobby state lawmakers on Purdue's behalf as soon as he takes over in January as the university's president.

Thomas, a Daniels appointee, decided that a one-year "cooling off" period required by the State Ethics Code would not apply to Daniels.

Brown said he disagrees with that and believes that the same ethics rule that applies to him as a state legislator also should apply to Indiana's governor.

"Why would the governor — any governor, not just this governor — be treated any differently than any legislator? There's got to be a year's hiatus for me as a legislator before I can lobby. Why would that not apply to the governor?" he asked.

Jankowski said Thomas already has addressed that issue.

"Now resources will have to be wasted disposing of this silly charge," she said in her statement.

Brown's request asks Thomas' office for a response by Sept. 25, including whether he will file a formal ethics complaint with the State Ethics Commission seeking a hearing on those matters.

A daily log maintained by the state Inspector General's office shows that the office had received Brown's complaint against the governor's office.

But Thomas said Wednesday his office cannot comment on requests for ethics investigations "until we have a chance to look at things."


  • Agreed
    It's scary how many people in Indiana just because they are republicans can't see all the financial games and self serving moves Daniels has been smart enough to pull over on them.
  • Play by the Rules Mitch
    I think they got our man Mitch on this one. $1 bet, he will not take the job !! Just saying
  • Simply a Partisan
    Anyone who claims Daniels "ruined" Indiana is is putting partisanship before common sense. Why not just own up to being blindly partisan and leave it at that, instead of making things up out of whole cloth? Charlie Brown's been making specious charges against Daniels for years. He probably picked up on this because the contract Daniels cancelled involved union labor, one of Charlie's core constituencies. Charlie should concentrate on Gary, which has descended from a nice place to live in the 1950s to the free-fire zone it is today!
  • go mitch!
    one day purdue will be the fiscal model for all the schools in the nation - just like Indiana is a model for all of the other states. A liberal could never do this because they would be afraid of offending someone.
  • Smoke and mirrors
    Mitch's surplus does not include the 2 bill we owe the feds for unemployment compensation, it does not included lowering the amount of money funding perf, and cutting 300 mill from our schools. I am offended that the serfs defend Mitch and his record. In addition, he has worked to minimize the inheratance tax to take care of his rich buds, instead to lowering the gas tax which is one of the highest in the nation. Typical, take care of the rich and punish the poor. The truth will come out in the next few years. Indiana will suffer under the gov's lack of leadership.
    • Fuzzy Ethics
      Mitch can certainly be credited for improving Indiana's fiscal and employment situations, but he does tend to establish rules for others that he doesn't follow himself. Why should Daniels be exempt from the rules that he imposed on others? A low level state employee carries much less clout and influence than does Daniels, yet that lower level employee cannot lobby for a year. Daniels will work for an institution that gets millions from the state, yet he - the most influential state employee - is exempt?
    • Ruined our state
      Ruined our state? He inherited a $1B budget deficit and turned it into a $2B budget surplus. I hope Pence continues to "ruin" the state the way Mitch did.
      • Contractor
        I wonder who was the contractor that was awarded the work that was halted? I would almost guarantee they have a relationship with Charlie Brown. Follow the money on this one.
      • Hypocrite
        Oh cry me a river. Daniels gave Indiana a surplus and made some tough decisions which has made Indiana fiscally responsible for the first time in years. The public won't stand for teachers being "lifers" and having no accountability and failing their students. Education in Indiana is finally on the right track, no thanks to Democrats and their masters at the ISTA.
      • There you go again!
        The people of our state do not understand, the rules only apply to others, not to Mitch. His record, including taking over public schools, and ethic laws do not pertain to Mitch. He gives money to his bud bill o, and angie's list, he gets a job from people he appointed, and he can now lobby people he helped get elected. You go Mitch, go ruin PU as you have ruined our state, and the state of education.
        • Play by the rules
          Actually, if he used time and equipment from the Indiana governors office, probably not ethical if not legal. When I was a teacher, I could not use my computer or school equipment for personal opr my other business ventures. What is right, is right. Icertainly appreciate the legislator bringing this to the public's attention.
        • NItwit
          CB is a certified nitwit

        Post a comment to this story

        We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
        You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
        Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
        No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
        We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

        Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

        Sponsored by

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
        thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

        Subscribe to IBJ