Two days ago, citizen activist Adam Longworth, disgusted at what he saw, filed a complaint with the Marion County Board of Elections. In his complaint, Longworth conceded that the mere act of being photographed in uniform with a candidate was permitted under Indiana law. Today, I received a copy of the proposed letter (dated February 29, 2008) from the Board dismissing the complaint in part because of the exemption Longworth cited. "This exception appears to permit the actions you allege with regard to the appearance of uniformed officers in campaign advertisements," Andy Mallon writes in his response to Longworth's complaint. Mallon, however, conceded Longworth's complaint alleged potential actionable items concerning the location of the filming and photographing, although omitting the possibility of law violations occurring because the officers performed these acts while on duty. "In addition, the Election Board has reviewed your other allegations regarding the locations of acts you assert were taken by certain uniformed officers in light of the violations listed in IC 3-14-1 et seq over which the Election Board would have investigative jurisdiction," Mallon writes. Apparently, proving once again just how useless the Election Board is as an investigative body, Mallon's investigation consisted of one phone call to the Sheriff's legal counsel and the case was closed. Mallon writes:
Although it is not clear that the Election Board would have investigative jurisdiction over all of the matters you raise, the Election Board has taken the step of contacting legal counsel for the Marion County Sheriff's Department to determine whether that department could add any detail or context regarding your allegations. Based on that communication with the Sheriff's Department, we are not able to confirm your allegations that Sheriff's Department property was used for a Carson campaign "photo shoot" or that any unlawful conduct occurred as a result of the attendance by uniformed officers at "press conferences." Therefore, the Election Board does not have substantial reason to believe an election law violation has occurred, and no further investigation is warranted under IC 3-6-5-31 at this time.
Mallon's letter notes that Longworth failed to provide any copies of the complained of materials to support his allegation. Well, the phone call with Kevin Murray may have been good enough for Mallon but it's not good enough for public accountability. Mr. Murray, or his client Sheriff Anderson, need to tell the public now: 1) Who asked these law enforcement officers to participate in Carson's press conferences in full uniform and show up at a filming location to make commercials and campaign photos for the Carson campaign? 2) Were there any inter-office memoranda, letters or e-mails discussing the participation of Sheriff's department employees in these events? If so, let's see them. 3) What are the names of all members of the Sheriff's department who participated in these Carson campaign events? 4) What is the time and place where each of these acts occurred? 5) What is the stated working hours of each of the Sheriff's department employees who participated at these political events? 5) If any of these employees requested time off to engage in these political events, lets see the dated and signed requests of each of them. Until Sheriff Anderson's office provides answers to these questions, the public has a right to question whether his office is as interested in serving the public safety needs of Marion County as it is in the election of Andre Carson to Congress.