Helen's recent resignation is also raising questions about another senior employee of the Marion County Prosecutor's office, who has been running for the Republican nomination for Hamilton Co. Prosecutor for the past year. Bryan Walters (alias?) has sent an e-mail to a number of persons today questioning whether David Wyser can be a candidate for Hamilton Co. Prosecutor and be employed by the Marion Co. Prosecutor. Walters writes:
David Wyser, as Chief Trial Deputy of the Marion County Prosecutors Office, an executive position, is running for Hamilton County Prosecutor in 2010. He will be on the primary ballot in May and then on the November general election ballot. It appears from news articles that he has been campaigning for this office since late 2007 or early 2008. Campaigning, however, would depend on when he announced to the public or when he filed the appropriate paperwork to run with the election office. David Wyser has been in his current position since he became a candidate for partisan political office. In is present role, he supervises all of the deputy prosecutors in the office, including those whose salaries are federally funded. Federal funds pay for prosecutors to investigate, charge, and prosecute criminal cases. Again he has held this position while actively running for public office. This is a direct violation of the Hatch Act.
I am not sure if he has used his official authority to influence and/or interfere with the nomination or election process. It is public record how much money in federal grants the Marion County Prosecutors Office has received over the course of the last 2 or 3 years and how many prosecutors salaries are paid by those grants. This is a clear violation on the part of Mr. Wyser. He also may have participated in other federally funded programs over the course of his position. It has also been reported that he has been fundraising for political office while in his current position again for the last 2 or 3 years.
The proper remedy would be for David Wyser to lose his current position as Chief Trial Deputy and not be placed on the ballot to run for the partisan political office. Carl Brizzi, the current Marion County Prosecutor, needs to take action and ask for Mr. Wyser's resignation otherwise he is putting the county at risk a risk of millions in penalties. Also, he should not be considered as a candidate in the Hamilton County political office. Helen Marshaul (sic), whose is now running for Marion County Prosecutor, made the choice to step down before her position was in violation of the Hatch Act, which was the right thing to do. The Marion County Prosecutors Office should not be allowed to let blatant violations occur for 2 or 3 years with executive staff supervising federally funded employees and then be able to run for office. Not to mention it's a violation with extreme ramifications including the loss of federal funding and millions in penalties.
We are asking for your help in rectifying this situation in order to benefit our county and those surrounding it.
In the past, I've noted that several members of the Indianapolis City-County Council have been candidates for and been elected to their respective council seats despite working for government agencies and nonprofits that receive federal funds. Democrats made a big deal in the 2007 Terre Haute mayoral election when the Republican who won that race in an upset was challenged because of his employment by a nonprofit organization that was partially funded by federal funds. The Indiana Supreme Court ultimately sided with the Republican winner because the Democratic incumbent had failed to timely raise the issue during the campaign and the mayor had resigned his job before taking office.
UPDATE: The Star's Jon Murray has blogged about Marchal's response to the criticism over her party loyalty. Here's what he she told him:
Not that Marchal is a fierce partisan: She's married to a Democrat, Jeff Marchal, who serves as an appointed commissioner in Marion Superior Court and has sought his party's nomination for judge previously.
On to the two pieces of evidence to hit my desk this week. First, Marchal is listed alongside her husband on a mailing list showing members of the Southside Democratic Club.
Verdict: True -- sorta. Marchal told me that when her husband joined the organization a couple years back, he mailed a dues check drawn on their joint checking account, and she has chuckled each time she sees mail addressed to both of them.
Now the second piece of evidence: Marchal once voted in the Democratic primary in Marion County, in 2002. That was the year Brizzi was first elected, though both he and his Democratic opponent, James Osborn, were not challenged in their parties' primaries. Her husband wasn't on the ballot. In fact, there weren't many contested races of note for Democrats.
"Absolutely, I did vote Democrat in 2002," Marchal said. "I'm proud of the fact that I can look at candidates and issues independent of their affiliation." She said the reason she crossed the political line that year was personal, though she declined to say which Democratic race drew her interest.
"I have stuffed donkeys all over my home," Marchal joked. "I had no idea that would be controversial."
For the record, Marchal's voter registration record reveals that 2002 was her only recorded partisan transgression, going back nearly 20 years.