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Lawmakers seek review of inspector general's office

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Top Statehouse Democrats called Thursday for a review of the Indiana inspector general's office following several cases that they say raise questions about the ethics code applied to those in the executive branch of state government.

Sen. Tim Lanane and Rep. Scott Pelath sent a letter to Inspector General David Thomas seeking a "fundamental review" of the office's duties. They cited a number of troubling cases, including a scandal over former schools chief Tony Bennett's changes to the school grading formula to benefit a top Republican donor's school.

The Associated Press last week published emails showing Bennett and his staff changed the grading formula to raise Christel House Academy's score from a C to an A. School founder Christel DeHaan has donated $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett.

Indiana's school grades are used to determine how much money schools get and whether "failing" schools are taken over by private operators. They also have become critical economic development tools in recent years, used in part by homebuyers picking locations based on the quality of their schools.

Bennett denies any wrongdoing, but he resigned as Florida's education commissioner. He has asked the Indiana inspector general's office to review his handling of the formula change.

The Democratic lawmakers called Bennett's request "rugged new terrain" for the office and questioned its role in absolving Bennett of any ethical wrongdoing.

They also cited concerns about rulings involving Interstate 69 land deals by an Indiana Department of Transportation official and his family and former Gov. Mitch Daniels' appointment as Purdue University's president upon leaving office in January.

Pelath and Lanane also ask Thomas whether he intends to pursue an update of the executive branch's code of ethics.

Daniels established the Inspector General's office on his first day in office in 2005. The office is charged with investigating criminal and ethics violations by state employees and contractors and writing the Indiana Code of Ethics.

Thomas, who was appointed by Daniels, did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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  • IG and BSU
    They should also check out the questionable bidding and procurement on the Ball State Planetarium purchases.

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  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

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