Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pence Nominates Sen. Dan Coats Non-Resident Wife To Be National Committeewoman

Neither Sen. Dan Coats nor his wife, Marsha, reside in Indiana. Like most Washington politicians, they reside in Washington year-round. In fact, it's been many years since either of them have resided in Indiana. When Coats retired as a Washington lobbyist, he and Marsha purchased a $1.8 million retirement home in Wilmington, North Carolina where the couple were living when he decided to come out of retirement to seek the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Evan Bayh. Nonetheless, Gov. Mike Pence has recommended Marsha Coats as the Indiana GOP's next national committeewoman to take the place of former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who was only elected to the position at last year's state convention. The state committee will get the final say on the appointment, although it is expected to rubber stamp Pence's choice.

Skillman recently resigned due to the unexpected time commitment and expense associated with serving on the national committee. Members are expected to travel to Washington for periodic meetings that can prove costly. Unless someone resides in Washington or has very deep pockets, they cannot afford the cost of serving on the party's national committee since the party doesn't reimburse them for their travel expenses. Coats' wife has had virtually zero involvement in Republican Party affairs. It's just another example of why the Republican National Committee has become so distant from grassroots supporters. Unless you are a Beltway insider, you are persona non grata.

In related news, an attorney and former love interest of former GOP National Committeewoman Dee Dee Benkie, who wrote a critical tell-all book about her, has been disbarred from the practice of law by the Indiana Supreme Court. Carmel attorney Joseph Stork Smith authored "Rove-Ing Her Way To the White House: Machiavelli's Sexy Twin Sister" about his former client. "The Court concludes that [Smith] violated the Indiana Professional Conduct Rules by, among other things, revealing confidential, sensitive information relating to his representation of a former client by publishing it in a book for personal gain and by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty or misrepresentation," the Order reads. "For professional misconduct, the Court disbars [Smith] from the practice of law in this state effective August 28, 2013." Note: The Court's Order does not identify Benkie or the name of the book Smith authored, but the book, which is still available for purchase on, and the ongoing feud between Smith and Benkie have been of a matter of great discussion in national and state Republican circles, as well as political blogs, for a number of years. Benkie is a regular guest contributor on Fox News' Sean Hannity.


Pete Boggs said...

It's a "Be The Parents" thing, "Circle of Rust."

Anonymous said...

The Indiana Supreme Court either knows what's expected of it, or it takes its orders straight from Power.

Either way, that disbarment is one scary action to take against the First Amendment and the press and evidences that the Court is a political body, controlled from outside the State.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I can only go by the facts stated in the order, anon. Smith was her attorney and involved with her romantically according to the facts contained in the order, a big no-no. It would stand to reason that there would be consequences for doing that and then writing an unflattering book about your former client. Until I read the opinion, I wasn't aware that he had served as her former attorney; I thought she was just an ex-girlfriend.

I learned something about Florida law that I did not know. With all the news of Angela Corey's enethical conduct in the George Zimmerman case, it turns out that Florida does not allow you to file a disciplinary complaint against a sitting prosecutor. You have to wait until the prosecutor is removed from office until you can file a complaint against her. Yet Corey has apparently been prolific in filing complaints against other attorneys who are critical of her work.