IBJNews

Ethics panel set to review Turner lobbying situation

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana House Ethics Committee is set to review the actions of a senior lawmaker who worked in private to block legislation that would have cost his family's company millions of dollars.

Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner fought a nursing home construction ban in the final days of the 2014 session. The Associated Press reported last week that Turner's 38-percent ownership stake in Mainstreet Property Group means he stands to receive $1 million or more on each new home that the company builds.

Turner has said he did nothing wrong and argues the ban wouldn't have caused him financial harm.

The ethics panel is scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon at the Statehouse. House ethics rules place limits on official actions, but Turner's actions came during private meetings of House Republicans.

Lawmakers said last-minute lobbying and promises about job creation killed the nursing-home legislation.

The ethics panel could have trouble finding clear-cut answers, in large part because of unclear ethics rules and the Indiana General Assembly's status as a "citizen legislature."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Elected Officials vs Business
    Sipper Slope - You need a few lessons in representative government and business vs government. Subject matter knowledge is good but there is a difference from using subject matter to debate and craft good public policy and using an elected position to further your private interests behind closed doors. Corporations are not public entities and are a "for profit" enterprise; government is not. In addition, subject matter expertise can be brought to bear on public policy via open hearings conducted by the legislative committees of jurisdiction. Surely, you don't believe what you have written.
  • Slipper Slope
    Really, how short sighted can you people be? I suspect nearly all legislation benefits or doesn't benefit a business interest. So the insurance agent legislator should not bring his knowledge of insurance to discussions? So the street contractor should not bring his knowledge of street repair to the discussion? So the lawyer should not bring his knowledge of the law to the discussion? You need subject matter experts to assist in legislation and many of these legislators have this expertise. If Turner was on a corporate board, he would have a disclosure requirement and would be required to recuse himself on a vote but it would not prevent him from discussing the matter. Why should the legislature be any different than a corporate board? This is a slippery slope if you ban all private discussion in such a manner there will be no discussion.
  • Remove Turner from Leadership
    I agree wholeheartedly with AP. I would go a step further and recommend that Turner be removed from any leadership/committee head position.
  • 2 Things
    IC 2-2.1-3-7 provides that the ethics committee: (3) may recommend whatever sanction is appropriate with respect to a particular member as will best maintain in the minds of the public a good opinion of the conduct and character of members of the general assembly; and (4) may recommend legislation to the general assembly relating to the conduct and ethics of members of the general assembly. At the very least, Turner's actions should be publically condemned and legislation should be proposed banning legislators from private caucuses regarding a vote to which one of the caucusing members is prohibited from voting under the ethics rules.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

  4. GOOD DAY to you I am Mr Howell Henry, a Reputable, Legitimate & an accredited money Lender. I loan money out to individuals in need of financial assistance. Do you have a bad credit or are you in need of money to pay bills? i want to use this medium to inform you that i render reliable beneficiary assistance as I'll be glad to offer you a loan at 2% interest rate to reliable individuals. Services Rendered include: *Refinance *Home Improvement *Inventor Loans *Auto Loans *Debt Consolidation *Horse Loans *Line of Credit *Second Mortgage *Business Loans *Personal Loans *International Loans. Please write back if interested. Upon Response, you'll be mailed a Loan application form to fill. (No social security and no credit check, 100% Guaranteed!) I Look forward permitting me to be of service to you. You can contact me via e-mail howellhenryloanfirm@gmail.com Yours Sincerely MR Howell Henry(MD)

  5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.

ADVERTISEMENT