Friday, August 28, 2015

Harper Hits Out At Henry's Pay To Play Culture

It's a discussion that should be taking place here in Indianapolis and many other communities across the state where municipal elections are taking place this year. I'm talking about pay to play, the practice of elected officials trading government contracts for campaign contributions. Fort Wayne mayoral Republican hopeful Mitch Harper is raising that very issue against incumbent Democratic Mayor Tom Henry, who trade contributions for city contracts as generously as they do here in Indianapolis and elsewhere. Fort Wayne's 21 Alive sums up Harper's arguments:
The mailing, paid for by Friends of Mitch Harper, reads on the front, "Who is running Fort Wayne?” sporting a shadowy figure holding a cigar that towers over downtown.
The ad charges that Democrat Mayor Tom Henry has a habit of receiving big donations from businesses that make money from the city of Fort Wayne.
It takes issue with $92,000 in contributions from out of town engineering firms, claiming that from 2013 through 2015, those firms secured $20-million in city contracts.
It also cites $91,000 in gifts from out of town law firms, with the ad claiming those firms took in $5-million in city funds.
"That's got to end. The taxpayer doesn't get their value if you don't have a large number of vendors, large number of engineering firms who are willing to submit their bids," Harper said.
So yes, the same thing occurs here in Indianapolis, except on a much grander scale. Predictably, Henry sends out a paid surrogate to accuse Harper of negative campaigning:
"It's sad that Mitch Harper has chosen baseless attacks over participating in a substantive discussion of the issues, but we're going to continue talking to voters about Mayor Henry's record and our city's positive momentum," said Rob Dible, Henry’s campaign manager.
Unfortunately, 21 Alive seems to play into the Henry campaign's argument by raising TV ads Harper has used in his past council race speaking out against negative campaigning. Harper notes there's nothing hypocritical about his factually-based advertising.  "It makes the policy point that if we're a community that ends the pay to play culture, we end up with a community that's more attractive," Harper told us.


Josh said...

Wow, who wouldn't spend $92k to make $20m?!? What a wonderful city to do business in!

Anonymous said...

Don't we already all know that's how it works everywhere? Even Donald Trump asserts as much on a national stage and it doesn't even raise eyebrows. He says he gave money to Hillary and so she had to come to his wedding. We already know this pay to play stuff is the way it works. Its that way in Indy, and Hogsett never prosecuted it because it isn't going to change. And you can rant and rail about it till the cows come home. Nobody listens because we don't have another way. Its that way all over the world. Money greases the skids. Why do you act shocked over and over again.

Gary R. Welsh said...

There's a long line of politicians who have been sent to prison for trading campaign contributions for government actions. The fact it's not being prosecuted in Indiana doesn't make it okay.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Gary.

Linda said...

Which begets the question, Why isn't it being prosecuted? It's that their job? Pay to Play is a kickback.
I was a child when Oklahoma's County Commissioners (1981-1984) were placed in prison for purchasing kickbacks. Why are Indiana politicians allowed to do the crime without paying the time.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Indiana needs prosecutors who WILL forcefully stand again against pay to play, and enlighten the citizens that those in power in Indiana NEED to be condemned.

Rod said...

There is no question that "Pay-to-Play" is happening here and in most other cities. It will keep happening until the public stands up and says "ENOUGH!", and then throws the scoundrels out. To think that it is OK simply because it is done all over, is the beginning of total tyranny by our officials. A few generations ago we would tar and feather these officials and the run them out of town on a rail.
We have lost our collective spine and now we are going to lose our country.