IBJNews

Rokita to politicians: Careful with donations from union

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

If you take political donations from the teacher's union, expect the state to come after you.

That’s the message Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita sent this month in a letter to all candidates for statewide political offices.

Rokita sued the Indiana State Teachers Association for defrauding local school districts of $23 million in a health insurance plan that went bust last year.

In his letter, dated Oct. 1, Rokita warned candidates that if he prevails in court, his securities division staff will pursue any money the candidates received from the ISTA’s political action committee.

“The Securities Division will aggressively trace and attempt to recover all funds associated with ISTA in its transfers and expenditures of resources for whatever purposes,” states the letter, which went to more than 200 candidates or their campaign organizations. Rokita asks the candidates to either return the money to ISTA now or set it aside in a separate account until the lawsuit concludes.

But the ISTA says Rokita is making political hay out of a non-issue. Rokita is running this year for Congress in Indiana’s 4th Congressional district.

“Rokita’s heavy-handed attempt to intimidate pro-public education candidates is insulting to ISTA members and public education supporters across the state,” ISTA leaders wrote in an Oct. 6 message to their members. “His letter is another ploy aimed at discrediting ISTA and pro-public education candidates in an attempt to thwart efforts to maintain a pro-public education majority in the Indiana House.”

ISTA reiterated that its political contributions do not come from member dues, but from voluntary contributions made by members specifically to the political action committee.

About three-quarters of ISTA members contribute $2 a month toward the political committee, said ISTA spokesman Mark Shoup.

Rokita sued the ISTA to recover money owed to school districts who paid into a health insurance plan operated by the ISTA. That fund ran short of cash and was shut down by the Indiana Department of Insurance after the plan's investments—many of which were placed in illiquid, high-risk hedge funds—tanked in value.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Here's your clue...
    In case you didn't realize it, the state is alleging fraud on school districts by the Indiana State Teachers Association. Since fraud was committed against a unit of government, that makes it a matter for the state to pursue. The letter is merely a notification that the state may ask for ISTA donations back to cover the cost of their alleged fraud. Pretty simple, right?

    Now, on to the Durham case...since there has not yet been any fraud claims made by any unit of government, the civil aspect of his situation is up to those who do have fraud claims to pursue. If anyone who invested in, and therefore lost money through Durham fruadulent activities, feels compelled to retrieve those monies donated to political organizations, they're free to do so, and in would quite possibly succeed.

    However, this action would have to commence within a reasonable time from when the donation occurred, or it may simply be too late.

    In the case of ISTA, it's quite disgusting that they're continuing their political maneuvering while stepping out on $23m debt that will be paid by local school districts who already have record high labor costs, again due in no small part to the ISTA.
  • Why not--seems unfair
    AFTER ALL--------big companies now now support whoever they want. That means the GOP and their big business interests.

    I still cannot believe the Supreme Court said this is legal.
  • double standard?
    And just which Statewide Politicians of High Office didn't feel compelled to return dirty money from the cheater Tim Durham? Hmmm? Bigger names than Rokita is pointing out.
    • Not a believer
      Rokita is an idiot trying to get his name in the paper, which what the IBJ just did for him. Instead of writing this drivel, ask Rokita how he is going to improve education and bring jobs to Indiana.

    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. Liberals do not understand that marriage is not about a law or a right ... it is a rite of religous faith. Liberals want "legal" recognition of their homosexual relationship ... which is OK by me ... but it will never be classified as a marriage because marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. You can gain / obtain legal recognition / status ... but most people will not acknowledge that 2 people of the same sex are married. It's not really possible as long as marriage is defined as one man and one woman.

    2. That second phrase, "...nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens..." is the one. If you can't understand that you lack a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and I can't help you. You're blind with prejudice.

    3. Why do you conservatives always go to the marrying father/daughter, man/animal thing? And why should I keep my sexuality to myself? I see straights kissy facing in public all the time.

    4. I just read the XIV Amendment ... I read where no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property ... nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens ... I didn't see anything in it regarding the re-definition of marriage.

    5. I worked for Community Health Network and the reason that senior leadership left is because they were not in agreement with the way the hospital was being ran, how employees were being treated, and most of all how the focus on patient care was nothing more than a poster to stand behind. Hiring these analyst to come out and tell people who have done the job for years that it is all being done wrong now...hint, hint, get rid of employees by calling it "restructuring" is a cheap and easy way out of taking ownership. Indiana is an "at-will" state, so there doesn't have to be a "reason" for dismissal of employment. I have seen former employees that went through this process lose their homes, cars, faith...it is very disturbing. The patient's as well have seen less than disireable care. It all comes full circle.

    ADVERTISEMENT