Thursday, July 31, 2014

Star Asks If Hogsett Wins Mayor's Race Whether His Law Firm Will Benefit: Does The Sun Rise In The East?

When Greg Ballard was running for mayor in 2007, he liked to make a big point of arguing that his predecessor, a former partner at Ice Miller, spent too much money on "other services" in the budget, which is more accurately described as pinstripe patronage. The big law firms which contribute the most to a candidate are always big beneficiaries of no-bid contracts where they are given a blank check to inflate their billable hours to run up as big of a legal tab as possible when it's a government entity paying the tab. As long as they keep their end of the bargain and continue kicking back money to the mayor's campaign committee, all is kosher.

The Star's John Tuohy has a story asking if Bose McKinney & Evans will benefit from U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett's decision to join the firm starting tomorrow if he is elected mayor next year as many political observers now believe he will be. Yes, the firm will make out well, but so will law Hogsett's former law firm, Bingham Greenebaum Doll, where he worked for many years. Hogsett's former law partners at Bingham will contribute just as generously to his campaign as Hogsett's new law firm, which is likely the reason he made a conscientious choice to select a different law firm to work temporarily between public jobs. He's now got two big cesspools from which he can mine campaign contributions.
. . . By joining the large, respected law firm, Hogsett has immediate access to a cadre of well-paid donors and experts in myriad legal and consulting fields. The firm also benefits because Hogsett lends a degree of name recognition and could elevate the firm's prestige said Cynthia A. Baker, a law professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis
And if the Democrat does run for mayor and wins, it could mean a victory for Bose McKinney. Traditionally, new mayors bring more than themselves to City Hall. They also bring consultants, aides and lobbyists — often lawyers — and reams of no-bid legal work for local law firms .  .  .
The Republican administration of Mayor Greg Ballard has awarded more than $16 million in legal contracts since 2008, about $2.2 million a year. More than $9 million of those contracts have gone to the Indianapolis law firm of Barnes & Thornburg, which is also the city's lobbyist.
The firm's managing partner, Robert Grand, and its lawyers backed Ballard when few others would for his first run for mayor in 2007. Since then, several Barnes lawyers were appointed to top level jobs, including two chiefs of staff (Chris Cotterill and Ryan Vaughn), a public safety director (Scott Newman) and a top lobbyist (Joe Loftus).
The firm has snagged a steady lobbying contract of between $211,000 and $226,000 each year since 2008. In addition, Barnes & Thornburg has rung up $9,389,639 in legal and bond bank counseling fees during that period.
Among the legal work was $100,000 to defend the city against lawsuits by the victims of the drunken driving crash of Indianapolis police Officer David Bisard. The city paid $3.7 million in settlements to Kurt Weekly, Mary Mills and the family of Eric Wells.
By comparison, Hogsett's new firm, Bose McKinney, has received just $471,031 in contracts of all types since 2008 — and none in 2013 or 2014.  
During former Democratic Mayor Bart Peterson's time in office, Baker & Daniels, received a large portion of city business. In 2007, the Peterson administration spent $8.8 million on outside lawyers. Baker and Daniels collected $444,240 in lobbying fees, $863,035 in bond consulting fees and $1,095,000 in legal fees that year . . .
Yet another in a string of campaign promises Ballard broke. He doles out more no-bid "other services" contracts to his campaign contributors than Peterson. Pay To Play is the Ballard way, and Mayor Joe Hogsett will conduct business no differently since he's as much of a political animal as is humanly possible for a public official.


Anonymous said...

Many are hoping that Hogsett brings justice too many under a democratic mayor while working at a law firm that will do this. Ponder it all...

Anonymous said...

Many are wondering if Hogsett, who had a miserable record of fighting government corruption as U. S. District Attorney, will support the credo:
"Corruption is as corruption does."