Daniels still waiting on lobbying decision

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels still is waiting to find out whether he'll be able to lobby the state Legislature next year when he takes over as president of Purdue University.

The Journal & Courier reports that the state inspector general had not ruled as of Friday whether Daniels will be covered by Indiana's "revolving door" law. Jane Jankowski, the governor's spokeswoman, said earlier this week that she was unaware of any report on the issue from Inspector General David Thomas, who was appointed by Daniels in 2005.

Thomas' office does not comment or confirm ongoing investigations.

State ethics rules require a one-year "cool down" for public officials after leaving office. The rule is intended to keep former public employees from working as lobbyists for a year after leaving a job in state government.

But Daniels signed an executive order that differs with the state ethics code on whether the rule relates to lobbying of the Legislature or the executive branch. The governor's general counsel has said the law won't affect Daniels as president.

Daniels said if the law is unclear, he would "lean" against lobbying in his first year at Purdue. If the law does apply to him, he said he would appoint another Purdue official to lobby in his place next year.

The upcoming legislative session will be critical for university leaders as lawmakers craft the state's next two-year budget. Indiana's public universities have struggled with state funding cuts and rising tuition costs. Since 2009, Daniels has ordered more than $150 million in cuts to public education–about $30 million to Purdue.

But there likely will be more money to dole out to cash-starved programs next year. The state's collection of taxes has improved, Daniels amassed a cash savings of roughly $1.8 billion, and a massive error in collecting corporate income taxes resulted in roughly $100 million more annually becoming available to the state.

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