Thursday, March 03, 2011

Charlie White Indicted For Vote Fraud

Former Indianapolis City-County Councilor Patrice Abduallah did it with the help of Marion Co. Clerk Beth White without legal consequences, but Secretary of State Charlie White won't be afforded the same lenient treatment. A Hamilton Co. grand jury has charged White with 7 counts of voter fraud, theft and perjury stemming from a special prosecutor's investigation looking into allegations he falsified his voting address as that of his former wife so that he could continue to serve as a member of the Fishers Town Council. The Star reports on White's indictment

The state’s top election official will face seven felony counts, including voter fraud, perjury and theft, a special prosecutor said today.

Secretary of State Charlie White was accused of intentionally voting in the wrong precinct during the May 2010 primary, a potential felony.

If ultimately convicted of a felony, White would have to give up the position that he won by a wide margin over Democrat Vop Osili in November’s election.

White has admitted to voting in a district where he no longer lived. The registered address was a home he had shared on and off with his now ex-wife until 2009 . . .

Special Prosecutors John Dowd, a Republican, and Daniel Sigler, a Democrat, also investigated less-serious charges that White's campaign neglected to place a payment disclosure on a mailer, as required by election guidelines.

In light of today's indictment, I think Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry needs to reopen the case of former Indianapolis City-County Councilor Patrice Abduallah, who falsely claimed an address in a city-county council district in which he did not live for nearly four years. Even after Marion Co. Clerk Beth White discovered he was living outside the district after he filed a statement of candidacy for the May 2007 primary election showing his address outside the district, White ignored it and allowed his name to be placed on the primary ballot and to continue serving as a councilor drawing salary and benefits in clear violation of Indiana law. When I later discovered in August of that year that the home he was claiming as his voting address was an abandoned home and published it on this blog, Democrats forced Abduallah to resign from the council and drop his bid for re-election--after the legal deadline for naming a replacement candidate for the November ballot. Democrats caucused and appointed Andre Carson to fill Abduallah's seat, but White, as the chief elections officer for Marion County, allowed Carson's name to replace Abduallah's on the ballot in violation of Indiana law. Former Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John refused to press the issue on behalf of Republicans. He was later hired by a close political ally of the Carson political machine, Lacy Johnson, to work as a lobbyist at Ice Miller following the November election. This story bears repeating because it is emblematic of the hypocrisy in our political and legal system today. I don't excuse what White did, but I abhor selective enforcement of our laws.

UPDATE: The perjury charges relate to false statements White is accused of making on his marriage license for his marriage to his second wife and his voter registration. The theft charge relates to taking his salary as a Fishers Town Council member when he didn't reside in his district. He is also charged with fraud for lying on his mortgage application. Again, Prosecutor Curry, we're waiting for you to bring similar charges in the Patrice Abduallah matter. We're all paying for a 65% increase in our local income tax with his deciding vote because he fraudulently claimed to represent my district on the city council when he lived in another council district. Fox59 News reports White turned himself in to the Hamilton Co. Sheriff's office at 2:30 for processing on the criminal charges accompanied by his father Darrell White.

UPDATE II: I previously reported Gov. Mitch Daniels had privately asked White to resign his office. Now he is publicly calling for him to step down. Daniels says his position is supported by White's fellow Republican statewide officeholders. Here's his statement:

“This news is sad and regrettable, but the only course of honor is for Mr. White to step down from his duties, at least during the duration of these proceedings until a verdict is reached.

"It would be neither credible nor appropriate for the state’s top elections official to continue to perform his duties while contesting criminal charges, some of them under the very laws the Secretary of State implements. I have consulted with each of the other statewide elected officials and our judgment about this is unanimous.”
Daniels will name White's successor if he resigns.


Cato said...

Daniels needs to hold a special election. The SoS is to be a separately elected office, but allowing Daniels to appoint a puppet for a four-year term gives the Governor de facto control over a separate office.

Advance Indiana said...

Sorry, Cato, your party blew it by waiting until the eve of the election to raise the charge.

Jon E. Easter said...

Do you think it would have mattered when the issue was raised? Charlie White could have been Freddy Krueger and gotten elected as a Republican in 2010.

As far as the Abduallah situation, it's different. White moved MILES out of his district and tried to game the system by switching his voter registration back and forth.

To compare the two cases is ridiculous. While they have similarities, the scale is completely different.

Advance Indiana said...

No, Jon, it is not different. I learned after the fact it was common knowledge among Democrats long before I pointed it out that he did not live in his district. One councilor gave him a ride home one night after a council meeting and realized he wasn't living anywhere near his district. By all accounts, he never lived in the district unlike White, who moved out of his district long after he was elected to it. More sickening is the fact that State Rep. Win Moses has lived up in Broad Ripple in a luxury home instead of the Fort Wayne district he claims to represent for years. Both examples are a complete joke and mockery of the system. Democrats are complete hypocrites on this point as they are with respect to the enforcement of all laws.

interestedparty said...

"Democrats are complete hypocrites on this point".

You should have stopped right there, but you had to add

"as they are with respect to the enforcement of all laws."

This is so predictable and it ruins your argument every time.

Advance Indiana said...

In the realm of election law, it is precisely the case, IP. Over and over again we see Rs hammered over minor violations of election law while Ds are given a complete pass. Hell, Barry's campaign for president did not even have a mechanism for determining the identity of people contributing to his federal campaign and there were dozens of documented cases of foreign citizens illegally pumping money into his campaign. We don't know how many tens of millions of dollars were illegally funneled into his campaign from foreign sources because his campaign made sure there wasn't any paper trail the FEC could ever follow even if they had the resources to investigate it. Same thing with the Clintons. Case after case of deliberate fundraising from Chinese and Indonesian nationals and yet no accountability for the folks who made that happen. Election laws are a total joke in this country. Ds knock off people from the ballot for council for not filling out a form completely because it was a candidate the party didn't endorse, while they let a guy they knew didn't live in his district live, run for office and draw a salary in clear violation of the law.

Cato said...

WTF is "my party?"

Saw this comment on the Star forums. Any truth to it?

"How is what Mr. White did any different than the Governor voting in Marion County while living in Hamilton County. He uses the Governor's Mansion as his address but does not live there. He rarely spends any time there except to get away from his wife."

Advance Indiana said...

Under the state constitution, the governor has to have a residence at the seat of government. If he wants to sleep at a home in Hamilton County and call the official residence in Indianapolis his residence for this purpose, the court decisions on residency are very loose as I've pointed out before. Evan Bayh grew up in D.C. and only moved back to Indiana to run for Secretary of State. S.C. said his intent of having a residence here overruled the overwhelming evidence of his lack of a residence her for the requisite period of time when he ran for governor 2 years later.