Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Lugar Campaign Launches Unsuccessful Retaliation Against Citizen Whistle Blower

It seems the re-election campaign of Sen. Richard Lugar is taking a page out of the Obama-Alinsky play book on how to discredit your political enemies. An anonymous complaint filed with the American Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) against Indianapolis certified fraud examiner Greg Wright appears to have originated with the Lugar campaign. Wright, who is not affiliated with any one's political campaign, has become a thorn in Lugar's side after his research uncovered the fact that Lugar was using the address of an Indianapolis home he sold 35 years ago to register to vote and obtain an Indiana driver's license. Wright filed a complaint with the Indiana Election Commission questioning whether Lugar and his wife were committing vote fraud by using their former home for voting purposes. Wright further uncovered evidence that Lugar had been using his official Senate office as the registered business address for Lugar Stock Farm, Inc. and referred the information to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics for further investigation. Days after Advance Indiana reported on Wright's discovery, Lugar quickly amended records on file with the Secretary of State to change the registered agent for the family farm to his brother's name and address in Indianapolis.

Wright's sleuthing was too much for the Lugar camp. According to a February 21, 2012 anonymous complaint sent to ACFE's general counsel, Wright was accused of violating the bylaws of the organization of which he is a member by investigating Lugar's and his wife's property ownership records and absentee voting records in Indianapolis "wholly for his personal political agenda." The complaint accused Wright of failing to conduct his investigation "in an objective manner." The complaint attached e-mails Wright had sent to Lugar's Senate office inquiring about the matters in which he identified himself as "a tea party member and certified fraud examiner." The complaint referenced comments Wright made to the Daily Caller blog, which reported on the findings of Wright's investigation as evidencing  "his bias" by questioning why "the elite press has not picked up on this." The anonymous complaint further accused Wright of violating ACFE's rules for use of the organization's trademark "by associating them with his politically motivated investigation." It accused Wright of giving the appearance ACFE "sponsors or endorses Wright's investigation of the Lugars." The complaint called on the organization to "expel, suspend and/or discipline Mr. Wright."

Wright learned that a complaint had been filed against him not through his association but rather a media inquiry from political blogger-pot stirrer extraordinaire, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, who has been decidedly pro-Lugar in his reporting of the hotly-contested race between Lugar and Indiana Stare Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Shabazz requested a face-to-face interview with Wright, who declined his invitation given that he knew nothing of any complaint being filed against him. Shabazz then provided Wright a copy of the complaint and attachments that had been forwarded to him from a source he refused to identify. Wright knew the Lugar campaign had to be the source of the complaint because only Lugar's office could have had copies of the e-mail exchanges he had with Mark Helmke in Sen. Lugar's office last December unless his e-mail account had been hacked. Shabazz ran an item entitled "The Lugar Accuser Who Stood Accused" in his Cheat Sheet subscriber-only, online publication. Shabazz included no comments from Wright on the complaint filed against him.

This morning, Wright received a phone call from ACFE's general counsel, Carrie Kelly, who advised him that no action was being taken in response to the complaint. Carrie Kelly, ACFE Associate General Counsel, called me this morning to confirm that the ACFE had reviewed the complaint letter and had responded to the sender that there was no violation," Wright said. "It is their policy not to disclose the source of the complaint." Nonetheless, Sen. Lugar has broadcast a very loud message to Hoosier citizens who question whether he represents our interests in Washington any more: Investigate me and I will use the powers of my office to destroy you. Lugar's first shot fired a blank, but you can bet it won't be the last shot he fires before he is finally shown the door by Hoosier voters.

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