Beleaguered Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White requested an independent prosecutor Tuesday to look into his allegations of vote fraud and homestead fraud against former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh and his wife, Susan.
White, a Republican who is facing charges of vote fraud himself, filed documents with Democratic Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry requesting an independent prosecutor to investigate whether the Bayhs voted fraudulently in Indiana's May Democratic primary. He's also challenging the Bayhs' Indiana homestead tax exemption when both resided primarily in Washington, D.C.
The Bayhs claim the property tax exemption on an Indianapolis condominium valued at $58,200 but also own a $2.2 million home in Washington, White said in a complaint filed with Curry.
"Everybody knows he (Bayh) doesn't live here," White said in a telephone interview.
He said Bayh should have done what Dan Coats did when he left the Senate and re-registered to vote at his Washington-area address. Coats has since been re-elected to the Senate from Indiana.
White said he didn't expect much to come of his request because the Bayhs are granted more leeway than most political couples.
"The Bayhs have been granted, in all but name, the title of nobility in Indiana," White said.
Curry spokeswoman Brienne Delaney said the prosecutor's office was reviewing documents White had provided.
Carl Brizzi, White's defense attorney, said White was trying to make a point that the charges against him were politically motivated when he had done the same thing as Bayh, a former Indiana secretary of state and governor.
"The case is just intended to show the similarities in their two situations," Brizzi said. "This whole thing started because of politics."
Bayh decided against seeking a third term in the Senate in 2010. Since then, he has become a partner in the Washington office of the McGuireWoods law firm, an adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and to a New York-based private equity firm, and a political commentator on Fox News. A message seeking comment was left at his law office.
Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker said Bayh never gave up his Indianapolis home and pays property taxes on it. He called White's request for an investigation "sad."
"He's taking himself from being a laughingstock to being reckless and ridiculous," Parker said. "He should do us all a favor and just resign."
White faces a January trial on seven felony charges filed against him in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis for using his ex-wife's home when he registered to vote in 2010. He has asked a judge to drop the charges.
Meanwhile, an Indianapolis judge will hear oral arguments Nov. 23 on Democrats' petition for a review of an Indiana Recount Commission decision in June saying White was eligible to run for secretary of state in 2010 and could remain in office. Democrats claim White was illegally registered to vote at his ex-wife's address when he declared his candidacy for the office.
White in June requested Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards in Fort Wayne to investigate possible vote fraud by Dan Sigler, one of the special prosecutors pursuing charges against him. Richards said she saw no reason to move forward after a preliminary review of White's allegations. A judge appointed Sigler last year as one of two special prosecutors or the case.
Also in June, White hand-delivered a notice to the Hamilton County attorney's office in Noblesville warning the county that his mother, Margaret J. White, intended to sue the county for up to $750,000 because her treatment by the special prosecutors had caused her to have panic attacks.