Thursday, November 10, 2011

State Ethics Commission Keeps The Doors Revolving

Indiana's State Ethics Commission should be renamed the Green Light Commission. You may recall the Commission had no problem signing off on Scott Storms' employment by Duke Energy immediately following his service as the IURC's general counsel during which he had directly presided over decisions affecting Duke Energy before it later claimed shock by his self-dealing activities following disclosure of his activities by the Star and decided to hammer him with a fine in a face-saving move. Today, the Commission signed off on Megan Ornellas taking a job with TCC, a consulting firm that has a multi-million dollar contract with FSSA, her former employer. Gov. Daniels named Ornellas to serve as interim Lottery Director after Kathryn Densborn was shown the door for lavish spending on the Lottery's new headquarters. The Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly has the details:

Gov. Mitch Daniels might not have a new Hoosier Lottery director in place yet but the interim director already has a new job lined up outside state government.
Megan Ornellas took over the interim lottery job after Kathryn Densborn resigned in mid-October following a mini-scandal over new posh lottery digs.
Ornellas previously worked as chief of staff at the Family and Social Services Administration and sought a ruling from the State Ethics Commission Thursday on whether she could take a new job with a company that has long-contracted with FSSA.
The Consultant Consortium, also known as TCC, currently has a four-year, $5.2 million contract to conduct on-site child care provider eligiblity for legally licensed-exempt providers and out-of-state child care providers.
Ornellas told the commission she has had no involvement with that contract or other matters related to TCC.

The commission approved her post-employment plans, with member James Clevenger even joking that she hasn't had time to enjoy the nice new office space.
Ornellas said she will start at TCC whenever her service at the lottery is finished.

Jane Jankowski, spokesman for Daniels, said it was clear Ornellas would always be an interim director and that a new executive will be named "in a little while yet."
Wow, the self-dealing in the Daniels administration knows no bounds. TCC just happens to be the same company that employs at-large City-County Councilor Angel Rivera, who lost his bid to win a full term for the seat to which he had been appointed following Kent Smith's resignation from the council. Gov. Daniels taped radio ads supporting Rivera's candidacy but not the other at-large council candidates, a move I found somewhat odd. Former Marion Co. GOP Chairman and Ice Miller lobbyist Tom John represents TCC. It would be interesting to see who all the shareholders of TCC are. On paper, it qualifies as a minority-owned business, which means it gets preferences in the awarding of contracts. It's made off quite well under both the Daniels and Ballard administrations.

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