Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Marion Co. GOP Leader Accuses Joe Hogsett Of Hatchet Act Violations

The federal Hatch Act is a pesky law that's been on the book for decades that bars employees of the executive branch of the federal government from engaging in partisan political activities. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Kyle Walker lays out a case of circumstantial evidence that former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett violated the Hatch Act by actively developing plans to run for Indianapolis mayor next year while he was still employed as the Southern District of Indiana's top prosecutor. Here are some examples Walker provides:
  • The initial claim is that Hogsett used "a multi-media PR blitz" soon after becoming U.S. Attorney aimed at raising his public profile in an anticipated run for Indianapolis mayor. This is a common practice of U.S. Attorneys, who do quite frequently run for political office after leaving their federal job so that's probably not going to stick since it has never posed a problem for other former federal prosecutors before him.
  • Earlier this year, Hogsett told the Star's political columnist Matt Tully that he would be serving out his term as U.S. Attorney and not running for mayor in 2015. Walker suggests that Hogsett had been actively discussing a potential run for mayor with Democratic leaders at that time. Again, there's nothing really there.
  • In June, Hogsett announced he was convening a September summit in Indianapolis with DOJ officials to discuss crime. Assuming the September summit still goes off as planned and Hogsett participates as a private citizen, then Walker has a valid claim that Hogsett may have been using his office to lay the ground work for a planned mayoral campaign that would focus on fighting crime.
  • On July 8, former state Democratic party chairman Dan Parker announced he wasn't running for mayor and hinted strongly that the preferred candidate should have a strong law and order background, which many took to refer to Hogsett. Days later, Hogsett announced he would step down at the end of the month as U.S. Attorney. Again, there is more "there there" to the suggestion that Hogsett was openly discussing and planning his future mayoral campaign while still acting as U.S. Attorney. That claim is further bolstered by Hogsett's close political ally, Evan Bayh, making a swing through Indiana at the same time to promote Hogsett's mayoral bid among local media. Another potential Democratic candidate for mayor, Frank Short, told reporters that Hogsett had called him to discuss his potential plans while still serving as U.S. Attorney.
  • Hogsett's announcement in the middle of July that he was stepping down as U.S. Attorney was followed by a barrage of efforts to draft him to run for mayor next year, further suggesting some coordination on the part of Hogsett while still acting as U.S. Attorney to bolster his mayoral prospects.
  • Just days before he stepped down as U.S. Attorney, Hogsett announced he was joining the law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans. Because Hogsett knew that he would be running for mayor, Walker asks if Hogsett had been discussing his future mayoral bid with other law firms in town, in addition to Bose, while seeking post-employment work after he left the U.S. Attorney's Office. Perhaps of greater concern is whether Bose or anyone else was representing clients faced with federal prosecution by his office at the time he was discussing post-employment opportunities.
  • Walker points out press releases put out by Hogsett's ofice touting his Violent Crime Initiative, seemingly in direct response to Ballard's complaint that part of Indianapolis' crime problem was the failure of prosecutors to seek harsher sentences for repeat offenders. There's definitely a political tenor in those press releases.
  • Perhaps one of the strongest arguments laid out by Walker is the last point he makes regarding the hiring of Thomas Cook as his campaign manager. Cook, a former political blogger and campaign worker for the Indiana Democratic Party, was hired by Hogsett to work as part of his media team in the U.S. Attorney's Office. What exactly Cook did is unclear since he was never a front person in communicating on behalf of the U.S. Attorney's Office under Hogsett. Cook left his job in the U.S. Attorney's Office last year. Walker wonders if Cook's role both during and after his departure from the U.S. Attorney's Office was strictly political. Perhaps that's an area ripe for further digging.
All in all, I don't expect anything to come of these allegations. Far worse criminal activity is taking place within the Obama administration in Washington that is being ignored by the Justice Department, which is led by the most corrupt person ever to occupy that office in the Department's history, Eric Holder.

Democratic reaction on Twitter:

My reax to GOP Hogsett presser draws from GOP judge: "a soggy wet tissue mass...thrown against the dorm wall to see if it will stick."
Retweeted by Thomas Cook
Talk about desperation fr &


Anonymous said...

"Desperation" is the correct word.

It's a bit odd that Walker seems to be unaware of how Indianapolis works. Perhaps they only hire true believers for his job.

The people who run Indianapolis have decided that Indy would be better off being headed by a more competent and professional leader than Ballard. Given that the elite is much happier with a Hogsett than a Melina Kennedy, expect a true campaign against Ballard, this time.

Ballard, likely to be permanently embarrassed and damaged by a vigorous campaign against him, should withdraw prior to the primaries to leave office with a salable image intact.

By bowing out, Ballard will also please the elite by not forcing them to spend too much money to claim the office. Call this the John Edwards Rule. If Ballard makes it too difficult to replace him, he may find himself with deep problems emerging from nowhere and few friends to protect him.

rls46032 said...

It is sad to see the system break down to this point. I was a Proud Republican for all of my adult life.

To see them engage in the same low brow tactics as they accuse the Dem's of using is truly concerning.

There are a number of other recent actions, like the Criminal Justice Center, that have me questioning what is going on?

I haven't left the R's but I feel like they are leaving me.

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at Jennifer Wagner's tweet, because she quoted the U. S. District Judge's Conclusion in her ruling when the Democrats unsuccessfully challenged State Law requiring voters to show ID prior to voting.