Thursday, February 11, 2016

Why Todd Young Will Stay On The Ballot: Election Laws In Indiana Always Applied Arbitrarily

Here's why Todd Young won't be tossed from the Indiana Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate. Indiana election laws have never been applied uniformly. Indiana has an onerous requirement that candidates for statewide office like U.S. Senator or Governor obtain a large number of signatures from registered voters in each of the state's nine congressional districts--500 in each--as a way of limiting access to the ballot to eliminate competition.

In 2008, a Democratic political blogger counted the valid signatures filed by Sen. John McCain to run in the Indiana primary. Thomas Cook, who is now chief of staff to Mayor Joe Hogsett, discovered McCain had collected only 498 signatures in the 4th congressional districts. When the four-member Indiana Election Commission met to hear his arguments, the commission's staff said it had two separate tallies for that district, both of which were more than 500. One count found 511 signatures while the other found 514. The media fawned all over Cook, who was a law student at the time, for a job well done as the election commission nonetheless decided on a 4-0 vote that McCain would stay on the ballot.

What political insiders knew at the time but didn't tell anyone was that Democratic operatives had forged dozens of signatures on Barack Obama's petitions in the 2nd District. If those forgeries had been revealed to the Commission as members of both parties knew about at the time, Barack Obama would not have been on the Indiana ballot, all of the attention Indiana got during the 2008 Democratic primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Obama would not have occurred and Clinton, not Obama, would have been the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. Also, recall that Republican leaders in this state trashed this blogger and anyone else who questioned Obama's eligibility to run for U.S. president because he had not demonstrated that he was a natural born citizen as our constitution requires.

A couple of years later when the dust had settled, someone hands off the story of the forged signatures to an up-and-coming cake boy named Ryan Nees, who became an overnight media sensation when his supposed independent investigation revealed the forgery scandal that would take down the long-time St. Joseph Co. Democratic Chairman and Second District Chairman Butch Morgan and four other political operates in South Bend on forgery charges, all five of whom were found guilty. Nees went on to intern for Sen. Richard Lugar's Foreign Relations Committee and the Obama White House before earning a degree from Yale University in political science and landing a big job as a New York investment banker. Nees, incidentally, came out of the closet the same week South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, also a former investment banker and CIA intelligence asset, revealed he was gay. The countdown has already started for when Nees receives instructions to return to Indiana to run for political office. And Butch Morgan still hasn't figured out that his own fellow Democrats sold him down the river.

Let's move forward to the 2012 Republican primary contest for governor. Mike Pence, the candidate anointed by the Republican Party establishment, was facing a challenge by a wealthy Fishers businessman, Jim Wallace. Mitch Roob, a political crony of Mitch Daniels challenged the petition signatures obtained by Wallace in Marion County's 7th District. Wallace submitted 1,282 signatures, but the Marion County Clerk's office claimed they were only able to match 486 signatures to the registered voter database, leaving Wallace fourteen signatures shy of what he needed to make the Indiana ballot. The commission voted 3-1 to toss Wallace off the ballot. Wallace is seeking to run against Pence again this year as a Libertarian candidate.

Bear in mind who Todd Young is as we take up the challenge to his petition signatures. He is married to the niece of former Vice President Dan Quayle. He's a military intelligence asset, having graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (like Jim Wallace), attended naval intelligence school and obtained a top security level clearance. He worked in counter-narco intelligence in the Caribbean and was trained in anti-terrorism before earning an MBA at the University of Chicago. After leaving the military, he was sent to London where he says he advised former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the University of London's Institute of U.S. Studies. He's then sent on some duties, presumably for the CIA, to former communist countries in Eastern Europe to advise on transitioning to free market economies. He comes back to Indiana, worked for South Bend-based Crowe Chizek as a management consultant before earning a law degree from IU School of Law in Indianapolis. He briefly works for Tucker & Tucker in Paoli, the law firm of Marilyn Quayle's brother, before running for Congress in Indiana's 9th District as a virtual political unknown and winning handily.

Todd Young has never had trouble raising big bucks. If you check out his campaign finance reports, all of the folks tied to the military/industrial complex and the rigged financial system drop large amounts of money in his campaign committee. They've already invested more than $3 million in his campaign to become Indiana's next senator. He is their choice to represent you in Washington. The Indianapolis Star, a Gannett newspaper run out of Langley, Virginia, has already been downplaying this ballot access story. The newspapers's political columnist, Matthew Tully, already lashed out at Indiana Democrats for filing the challenge, calling it "petty" and saying it makes them look "scared." It's funny that I don't recall him reacting the same way to Mitch Roob challenging Jim Wallace's petitions in 2012 and getting him tossed from the primary ballot. So you see they're already circling the wagons for their preferred candidate.

Here's what will happen in Todd Young's case. The election commission staff certified 501 signatures. The Democrat hand count found only 498 valid signatures. Four news services counted the signatures and came up with 497. The election commission will meet later this month and hear the complaint. Republicans will say the election staff's count should prevail, one or two of the Democrats will argue the other way, and at best what you'll get is a tie vote, allowing Young to remain on the ballot. Indiana election laws are always applied arbitrarily. If they decide you're an outcast or must go, like they did with Charlie White, laws will be interpreted in ways they've never been interpreted to destroy your career. If you're approved by the establishment, anything goes when it comes to advancing your political career. The political system, just like the financial system, is rigged in this country if you hadn't forget that out by now.

UPDATE: Some lawmakers, including Young's representative from Bloomington, State Rep. Jeff Ellington, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, who supports Stutzman, now favor changing the law to make ballot access easier in Indiana according to the Indianapolis Star. House Speaker Brian Bosma opposes the idea, blaming Young's campaign for cutting it too close.


Anonymous said...

Gary, I'm curious. Are you hearing anything from the Stutzman campaign or his surrogates concerning this challenge? Do you think the counts by "independent" media groups will have any bearing?

Gary R. Welsh said...

No and No. I'm not sure why the media groups bothered with their "independent" hand count. They're not making much of it, are they?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for raising the issue about Ryan Nees. It's always been a head scratcher to me how he got that story and had the South Bend Tribune and Howey Politics on board with him to publish it. I had no idea what happened to him after that. Now that I know he worked for both Lugar and Obama and is now working on Wall Street, the pieces of the puzzle are now falling into place.

LamLawIndy said...

Stutzman's campaign should remain quiet about it. Never interfere when an opponent has a crisis lest it appears like gloating.

Charles M. Navarra said...


Great reporting. Great analyzing. Simply put, you are the best.

Thanks also for the George Carlin video. A prescient voice on many issues facing us then and contemporaneously.

Pete Boggs said...

If the state or other candidates permit Young's disqualification; they're a party to it, which doesn't speak well for any of them or distinguish them from the establishment.