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Ethics: When To Hand Off And When To Run It In

What, really, can be said about Inspector General Dave Thomas' ruling in the RV1 case?  It's predictable.  It's political.  And it probably doesn't matter to the average citizen, who doesn't understand campaign laws, let alone the state's ethics policies, some of which are in law,  some of which are in administrative rule and some of which are divined by a secret society whose members live in the Statehouse cafeteria.

Here's what TDW takes away from the case: These guys don't know how to talk out of both sides of their mouth.  It can -- and TDW would argue should -- be done, especially in a situation like this one.

Thomas cleared the Guv entirely, but he left it up to Harry Gonso to say that the RV will no longer be used for transportation to political events.  What he should have done, if he wanted to pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time, was to give Mitch Daniels a clean ethical bill of health but to promise taxpayers that because there's something of a gray area here, he would take it up with the actual Ethics Commission for clarification.  The Ethics Commission being appointed by the Governor but under the requirement to be bipartisan.  This would have taken the weight off everyone in the administration's shoulders and put it squarely on the shoulders of five random appointees.

By the time they got around to figuring something out, people would have forgotten this whole incident.  But that's just TDW's take. 

It might seem to you, dear readers, that she's not being as harsh or rapidly angry as she should be about this situation.  Please don't get the wrong impression.  This upsets her a great deal, as she takes the state's ethics laws and rules quite seriously.  It's just that she expected nothing less from the new Inspector General, who apparently lacks the backbone to stand up to his boss and say, hey,  man, I like you, but that wasn't right.

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» Governor appointee clears Governor of wrongdoing from Masson's Blog
The Governor's hand-picked inspector general has cleared the Governor of wrongdoing in an ethics charge. State Inspector General David Thomas says a complaint by Democrats that Gov. Mitch Daniels violated ethics rules by taking RV1 to a political fundr... [Read More]

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P.S. Anyone out there in cyberland know whether Dave Thomas actually has the authority to clear Mitch Daniels of an ethics violation? Or does that judgment, under law, have to come from the Ethics Commission? Inquiring minds...

So are the other statewide office holders now going to stop reimbursing the state when they take state cars to fund-raisers?

The fact that Gonso said the practice will stop is proof that they knew/know it's wrong. That needs to be repeated over and over and over by Parker. A bit simplified? Sure, but that's the name of the game now. The R's do it better than we do frankly and that's why they keep winning.

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