Saturday, December 05, 2009

Politicians' Reply On Durham Contributions: The Money Is Spent

It looks like most Republicans have decided to take the view that they've already spent the money Tim Durham lavished on them so they feel they are under no obligation to return any contributions based on a story in today's Star by Heather Gillers. Gov. Daniels, who raised a record amount of money in his re-election campaign and who has received at least $200,000 from Durham, took that view. Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi only plans to give up $3,500 he has received more recently from Durham. The $160,000 he earlier received from Durham was spent during his 2006 re-election campaign he says. The House Republican Campaign Committee has made no decision on the $59,580 it accepted from Durham. House Republican Leader Brian Bosma dodged questions about the $10,000 he personally accepted from Durham. The Indiana Republican Party says it has spent the $211,200 it got from Durham. There are exceptions. Sen. Mike Delph and Attorney General Greg Zoeller plan to set aside their contributions, awaiting the investigation of Durham to unfold. Marion Co. Sheriff candidate Tim Motsinger ended his campaign and says he is dissolving a $200,000 loan he got from Durham.

Not surprisingly, Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John takes a very dismissive view of the whole matter. He works for Ice Miller as a lobbyist where Durham once worked and devotes his energy to landing plum appointments for his new wife's family members and government contracts for her business. "Marion County Republican Central Committee Chairman Tom John said he had no concerns about Durham's leadership of GIRFCO, which he said entailed making calls to donors seeking support," Gillers writes. "He said neither the Marion County Republican Central Committee, which has received $16,200 from Durham since 2003, nor GIRFCO, which has received $25,000, plans to return the money." The truth is that the party is broke and has nothing to return.

There seems to be consensus that Brizzi faces the most difficult dilemma because of his personal and business ties to Durham. Gillers writes:

Brizzi not only received a large donation -- $160,000 -- when he ran for re-election in 2006, he also trusted Durham to be his campaign finance chairman, which entailed seeking contributions and hosting a fundraiser. Brizzi has received $3,500 in cash donations from Durham since.

Then there is his personal and business relationship with Durham.
Brizzi has called Durham "one of my best friends." Durham footed the bill -- $4,500 -- to take Brizzi to the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

Brizzi even appeared in a YouTube video plugging Durham's son's campaign for high school office -- joking that young Tim Durham is "single-handedly responsible for bringing down crime in Indianapolis." The video starts with the aspiring teen politician pretending to take a bribe from a friend.

Brizzi's business relationship includes his decision to serve on the board of Durham's company Fair Financial, which is under investigation, and his ownership of what Brizzi once reported was more than $10,000 worth of stock in another Durham company, CLST Holdings, which is under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission . . .

Henry Karlson, an emeritus professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, agreed that Brizzi's relationship with Durham "could have a negative effect on his re-election if he wants to be re-elected. Particularly if he doesn't give (the money) back."
Some Republicans are asking whether Democrats, who were quick to urge Republicans to give up the money they received from Durham, should be doing the same with the money they've received from the ISTA, which has been accused of securities fraud in a lawsuit filed this past week by the Secretary of State's Securities Division and is being investigated by the FBI. The ISTA PAC pretty much bankrolled the successful political campaigns of State Reps. John Barnes, Mary Ann Sullivan and Ed DeLaney, for example. I would like nothing more than to see Democrats forced to give up the millions they have received from the ISTA, which dwarfs the contributions Durham gave to Republicans; however, I think there is a fundamental difference between the two. The ISTA contributions would appear to come from money its member teachers contribute to the statewide union organization and not from any fraud its financial arm may have committed on Indiana's school districts, which appears to amount to $24 million. If it turns out that any of those contributions were derived from its financial activities in administering health and long-term disability plans for school districts, then I would agree that those contributions should be given up.

The IBJ's Greg Andrews has a story today on the obvious. Tim Durham only appoints close friends to the boards of businesses he controls regardless of their business acumen. We already know about Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi accepting a directorship with Fair Finance, from which he abruptly resigned after the IBJ began raising questions about the self-dealing loans Durham had the company make for his benefit. He put his buddy David Tornek, who co-owns the Touch restaurant in South Beach with Durham, on the board of CLST Holdings, which is now facing an SEC investigation. He put Dan Laikin on Fair Finance's board before he got nabbed by the SEC in a stock manipulation scheme at National Lampoon, another company controlled by Durham. Brizzi took his place on Fair Finance's board. When Brizzi left that board after a short time, Durham named his childhood friend and former WISH-TV reporter Scott McCain to take his place on the board. McCain also serves as an officer of Durham's Obsidian Enterprises. Durham helped out McCain and his wife financially when she suffered from ovarian cancer.


Cato said...

Who cares if you spent it? How is that a defense? We all presumed you spent it when we told you to pay it back.

When we told you to pay it back, we didn't ask whether it would inconvenience **you**. It's a debt. Pay it back. Hopefully, it will sting like Hell, and you'll ask better questions, next time.

These Republicans' offices are ill-gotten gains. Until they return the stolen funds to investors, they are enjoying their offices on the backs of swindled investors.

Do the right thing, Mitch.


Cato, do you really think that these Republicans could care less about some Amish folks in Ohio defrauded so that their elections are bankrolled?

I think not.

Now, to expose the same levels of criminal activity going on within the Democrat party. You know it is there and likely even worse.

For instance, nothing has ever been done about the Pea Shakes. Where does that money filter?

And of course all the Democrats bankrolled by the ISTA money should be looked into.

Cato said...


I have no doubts that the Dems have some shady dealings, e.g., Peterson's soft landing at Lilly[s].

For the record, I think it's nobody's business to interfere with anyone's gambling activity. Some people don't like pea shake houses. I don't like public schools. Funding for only one of those establishments, however, is voluntary.


Cato, I hear you. I like the law applied EQUALLY to all. So if everyone else has to abide by the law with gambling, so should the pea shakes.

I also think that the Governor should replace the funds he received from Durham and place it in an escrow like Senator Delph did.

Even if that means that the Governor takes the money from his own assets to do it.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I think it's highly unfair to characterize Republicans as not caring whether Amish people in Ohio were defrauded. There are plenty that care about fraud.

Giving the money back to the victims is ideal, but for some it is more easier said than done. Daniels took $195,000 from Durham. He has $15,000 in his campaign committee fromt he last report. He isn't running for a third term or probably any election ever again. So it's not that easy to go out and raise the money when the contributors are going to know you're not a candidate.

Then on the other hand these people who are wealthy, like Daniels, could write a check out of their own bank account for the difference.

I don't understand why the Democratic Natonal Committee won't give back a measly $3,000 plus. That's pocket change for them.


Paul, maybe they aren't giving the money back because the democrat party (like the republican party) is literally crawling with sociopaths.