Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daniels Administration Revolving Door Keeps Turning Faster And Faster

The revolving door of members of the administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels turned a little faster today with the announcement FSSA Secretary Anne Murphy is leaving the administration to accept a position as a lobbyist within the health care industry. As usual, the state's one-year revolving door law will not apply to her as the state ethics commission greenlights her new job. The Star's John Russell reports:

The head of Indiana's human services department, the state's largest government agency, has been offered a job as a lobbyist for Community Health Network, which runs one of the state's largest hospital systems.

Anne Murphy, secretary of Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration was cleared today by the State Ethics Commission to take a job as first vice president of government relations for Community, based in Indianapolis.

Murphy has not yet formally accepted the position, but told the Ethics Commission this morning she had been hunting for a new job outside of government in recent months.

In her new position, she will not be permitted to lobby the executive branch for at least one year, according to the job offer letter that was submitted to the ethics panel. She would-be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with federal and state government agencies and representatives, according to the offer letter, primarily in the area of health care law changes.

Murphy has been with the FSSA since January 2005. It is the largest state agency, with 5,000 employees and managing $8 billion a year in annual expenses for such things as child welfare, health and human services. She made $130,000 a year.

Murphy told the ethics panel she has not been involved in any contracts or regulations involving Community Health Network. The salary of her new position was not disclosed.
Meanwhile, the Daniels administration is doing more clean-up work at the badly-tarnished IURC after an internal investigation discovered the state's top utility regulators were in bed with Duke Energy instead of protecting the public.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said today that it will conduct a sweeping investigation into any cases involving Duke Energy Indiana and a former administrative law judge who took a job with Duke after presiding over many of the utility's cases.

The commission said it wants to see whether Scott Storms, the former judge who accepted a job with Duke last month failed to follow normal processes or laws.

"It is of the utmost importance to determine whether the cases were handled improperly or mismanaged in any way, and if so, for us to take swift and corrective action immediately," said Jim Atterholt, IURC chairman.

The commission plans to audit all cases of its Edwardsport plant dating back to 2006, as well as cases decided after Storms became a candidate for employment at Duke.
The public should not be satisfied with an internal investigation. Joe Hogsett, the newly-appointed U.S. Attorney in Indianapolis, needs to demonstrate some leadership by convening a grand jury and launching a separate federal investigation to determine whether any criminal laws were broken. It's obvious the corrupt office of Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi won't act. The U.S. Attorney's office in Indianapolis should do something it hasn't done in decades--investigate and prosecute public corruption.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary, I was stunned also to read that the Governor appointed Stephen Robertson to head the Department of Insurance.

Does Daniels do any vetting of his appointments? Robertson has a horrible reputation in the insurance industry and is disliked by virtually everyone at the Department of Insurance. People constantly complained about him as a supervisor at the Department.

If Daniels would have asked questions around the DOI or the insurnace industry he would have quickly found these things out. But apparently he didn't do it.

Of course, with regard to the BMV appointment, Daniels named a new chief the next day, without vetting the person at all. Why not investigate people's backgrounds, talk to references, talk to people in the industry, people he or she works with. Daniels doesn't do that. It is so frustrating.

Go Cards! said...

Why don't you vet the new BMV Commish, and you will see he is incredibly qualified.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Yes, Joe Hogsett should immediately convene a grand jury and investigate the relationship between Storms, IURC and Duke. Who knows for how long he will be allowed to be U.S. Marshal.