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Ethics rulings say Daniels can lobby for Purdue

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Two state ethics rulings have concluded that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels can lobby the state Legislature for university funding and other matters once he becomes Purdue University's president next year.

After Daniels was chosen as Purdue's next president in June, questions were raised about whether a one-year "cooling off period" required by the State Ethics Code would apply to him when he assumed his new post in January.

The code bars former public employees from working as lobbyists for a year after leaving a state job.

But opinions released Friday by state Inspector General David Thomas and Tim Grogg, the Indiana Department of Administration's executive director of executive branch lobbying, found that no restrictions will apply to Daniels after he becomes Purdue president.

The Journal & Courier reported Saturday that Thomas, who was appointed by Daniels in 2005, wrote that a state officer or employee leaving the executive branch is not restricted from lobbying the Legislature.

The employee would be barred from lobbying the executive branch, Thomas said.

But Grogg, in his opinion, pointed out that university officials are not considered executive branch lobbyists, according to state code.

Daniels' ability to lobby the Legislature as Purdue president will be a boost to the school because funding appropriations for Purdue and the state's six other public colleges will be determined next year as part of the state's biennial budget.

Jake Oakman, a spokesman for Daniels, said both opinions were sought because the inspector general has the sole authority to interpret the Indiana Code of Ethics.

The Department of Administration's executive director of executive branch lobbying is responsible for all executive branch lobbying matters.

The opinions, however, are not binding, because only the full ethics commission can issue an official advisory opinion, Thomas noted.

Despite the two opinions in his favor, Daniels has requested further clarification from Thomas on all rules that apply to his exit from state government.

A letter sent to Thomas on Friday from Daniels' general counsel asks for an informal advisory opinion on all post-employment rules and restrictions.

"The governor wants to fully understand all post-employment provisions to ensure full compliance," the letter stated.

Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, was not impressed with the opinions released Friday.

"This begs the question of what purpose does the ethics commission serve?" he said. "Sounds like Indiana taxpayer dollars are being wasted on an agency without a function except for a rubber stamp."

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  • Purdue Protest Scheduled for Friday, September 7th
    Society for an Open, Accountable Purdue (S.O.A.P.) is actively planning for the Fall Purdue Campus Rally on Friday, September 7th after students, faculty, and staff return to campus from summer break. Check Facebook and Twitter for updates: Facebook: "Society for an Open, Accountable Purdue" (S.O.A.P.) Twitter: @SOAPurdue and @RockTheCollege E-Mail: SOAP@soapurdue.org Online Petition: Change.org - Purdue University Trustees: Withdraw Governor Mitch Daniels' Bid For Purdue President
  • Not Surprised
    Well of course they were going to run this little ethics charade. What did we expect. And to find out that his Governorship appointed these people? Guess the joke is on us for not writing big enough checks. Really ashamed to call Indiana home.
  • Lobbying
    Although it is ironic that Mitch Daniels will be at the State House lobbying for increased funding at Purdue, considering his position while governor, that's part of his new job. Perhaps he will attempt to influence law makers to reverse the funding cuts he himself espoused. LOL
  • what else is new?
    haha Daniels not only appointed the members that voted him predicent, he appointed the members that say it's ethical for him to lobby government for his new position. I thought it might take years to see the damage he had created.......he isn't even out of office yet.
  • See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.
    These people show no shame. Indiana Senator Mike Delph and Rep. John Day passed ethics legislation in 2010 specifically designed to close lobbying loop holes by colleges. We are still waiting on the FORMAL investigations and binding rulings on the ethics violations by Mitch Daniels, the Purdue Trustees, & Purdue Presidential Search Committee PRIOR to Governor Mitch Daniels being hired, in addition to FORMAL BINDING rulings on restrictions to post employment lobbying and employment. Suspect they will claim they never got the request we sent over 30 days ago and didn't know about the public protest at Purdue.
  • Conflict of Interest
    Governor Daniels claims he didn't seek the Purdue job and didn't know the Purdue's Trustees and Presidential Search Committee Members that hired him. Guess he forgot about being on the Board of Angie's List with the Chairman of the Purdue Trustees, giving millions of dollars in economic incentives to both Angie's List and the Purdue Presidential Search Chairman's company, and getting Political Campaign Donations from all 8 of the 10 Purdue Trustees he appointed. http://www.wibc.com/news/Story.aspx?ID=1751648
  • Is This legal?
    How can this governor claim to still be the governor for all State supported universities, when you clearly paved the road to your questionable appointment to such a responsible,non political position. This is disgusting DR. DANIELS! It almost makes me want to laugh.

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