Wednesday, October 26, 2011

State GOP Chairman Charges Democrats With Forgery For Post Card Targeting Scales

I've told you about it here and here how the Indiana Democratic Party on behalf of the District 4 council candidate, Kostas Poulakidas, sent out a post card to voters in the district represented by Republican Christine Scales impersonating her. The post card gave voters the impression Scales was sending them a post card asking for their vote from her family's vacation condominium in Naples, Florida, leaving the impression she primarily lives there and not in her district on Indianapolis' northeast side. Here's Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb's angry reaction to the direct mail piece accusing the Democrats of forgery:

Today, Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb demanded to know who was behind a mailer sent to residents of Indianapolis' 4th City-County Council District in the form of a postcard from Florida purported to be from Republican Councillor Christine Scales. The postcard included a note that looked like Scales had written it herself meant to confuse and mislead voters in her district. Following the news that hundreds of signatures on nominating petitions were forged in St. Joseph County in 2008, this is yet another documented episode of Indiana Democrats caught forging the signatures and writing of individuals for their own political gain.
"You'd think the Indiana Democrat Party had learned its lesson that forgery is a crime. Obviously not," said Chairman Holcomb. "It seems Indiana Democrats' forgery operation has expanded to campaign mailers. So now we need to know: who's accountable for this latest stunt? Did Chairman Dan Parker sign off on this deceptive and fraudulent mail piece?"
Holcomb added, "We have yet another example of why it's time for the Indiana Democrat Party to clean house. Their belief that the ends justify the means is just plain wrong. In the Indiana Democrat Party's Culture of Corruption, defrauding and misleading Hoosiers voters is the name of the game. The buck has got to stop with someone, but who?"
As I reported earlier, I believe Poulakidas' campaign paid for and authorized the post card mailed out by the Indiana Democratic Party. Campaign finance records filed by Poulakidas' campaign last week indicate that he has contributed $12,300 to the state party committee. It is unlikely that donation was made just out of generosity; rather, it was likely made to reimburse the party for the cost of the mailing. I believe the post card arguably violates not only the criminal statute for forgery, which is a Class C felony, but also Indiana's Election Code, which required a disclaimer indicating whether Poulakidas authorized the direct mail piece since it obviously was sent out for the purpose of advocating her defeat, even if it impersonated a message from her to voters.

UPDATE: If you wanted further evidence that the Star's political columnist Matt Tully is just a tool for the corrupt political insiders in this town, check out this exchange he had with another person on his Twitter account:

What is your opinion on the Kostas mailer against Scales? Just another political mailer or did it cross the line?
in reply to


Had Enough Indy? said...

Good report here. I hadn't noticed there was no disclaimer on the pictures of the card you posted earlier. The State Democratic Party does need to come clean as to who was involved in the decision to commit this fraud on the voters of District 4.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I just looked at the card again. It does say 'paid for and authorized by the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee'. The State's Campaign Finance manual specifies that one of the following must be used as a disclaimer on all pieces sent to more than 100 people:

The individual, organization or committee must include in the advertisement or material one of the following statements:
1. If both authorized and paid for by the candidate or candidate’s committee or an agent of the committee:
“Paid for by Smith for State Senate Committee.”
2. If authorized by the candidate but paid for by someone OTHER than the candidate, or the candidate’s committee or agents:
“Paid for by ABC PAC, or (ABC Political Party, or ABC Corporation, or ABC Labor Union, or ABC Association, or Mary Smith, concerned citizen) and authorized by John Doe for County Sheriff Committee.”
3. If NOT authorized or paid for by the candidate, the candidate’s committee or agents:
“Paid for by John Doe, Mary Parker and Bill Jones, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

Gary R. Welsh said...

Number 2 applies. Kostas' campaign paid the state party for it so his committee should have been listed as authorizing it.

varangianguard said...

I like schadenfreude as well as anyone, but this is a non-starter.

First, anyone who cannot comprehend that this is a political mailer from an opposing party deserves the government they get.

Second, excepting for some possible sympathetic publicity over this, Eric Holcomb is just going to look like a bigger buffoon than I had previously thought he was. I know being a Republican State Chairman in a majority Republican state isn't a real intellectual or even marketing stretch, but - really?

Third, if anyone thinks this is "forgery", legally speaking, then comedy (and politics) are DOOMED. There are just so many holes in any attempt at calling this forgery (see U.S. Constitution, Admendments, First), that any attempt to do so is, at the very least, sounding pretty desperate. I don't even think that this would fall under "defamatory" as it has been historically interpreted in political cases.

This would really be hilarious, if too many of those involved didn't seem to be dead serious.

Gary R. Welsh said...

We're dealing in unchartered waters here. No party or candidate has ever impersonated another candidate in a mailing to voters containing what purports to be a handwritten note. You are clueless if you simply want to dismiss this as just standard fare in negative campaign mailing pieces. Every attorney I've spoken to agrees that he or she would have advised against this tactic for the very reason that it appears to be impersonation. There is no question that the Federal Trade Commission would come down like a hammer on a business that impersonated a competitor for advantage.

Phil said...

For the life of me, I still can't figure out why Christine Scales sent me a postcard asking in big red letters whether she really represents me.

DennyK said...

Postcard from the Edge

I consider myself to be a Progressive Liberal Democrat, and strongly adhere to my political beliefs. So I tend to vote for Democrats in most elections. However, I also recognize the sanity of voting for true Statesmen (when we have them), and thus, I have voted for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar several times. And I will vote for anyone who truly understands their civic responsibility, and accurately represents their constituency in the democratic process. And I will actively shun those who intentionally distort facts (and actually lie) during the democratic process to mislead people into supporting their personal (or Party) agendas.

That actually just happened. I recently received in my mailbox, a “postcard,” ostensibly sent from Florida, distorting facts (and actually lying) about an incumbent City County Council representative. The person who sent this postcard, and the person who allowed it to be sent in their name represents much that is wrong with our political process these days, and is not worthy of our votes. Shame on you!

Therefore, in this next election, I will be voting for the incumbent, a Republican. Someone whom I have encountered at community meetings in my neighborhood, at public hearings about issues affecting my neighborhood, and who has been accurately representing the stated interests of her constituents.

varangianguard said...

Perhaps you're right that I'm clueless, AI.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Kudos to you DennyK. That's the only way to discourage unethical politics and encourage improvement in our Party.

indyindependent said...

if the Star and Matt Tully are in the pocket of the corrupt political machine, then what does that say about the Scales endorsement?