Monday, August 27, 2007

ATC: Carson Can Serve On City-County Council

Current regulations for the state's excise police officers allow them to engage in political activities according to a spokesperson for the state's Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Jennifer Williams. She says the Secretary of State's office sets those guidelines for employees at the ATC and, according to those guidelines, Andre Carson can run for election to and serve on the Indianapolis City-County Council.

Williams confirmed that Carson is currently assigned to the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center within the state's Department of Homeland Security, where he says he is working counter-terrorism. Employees whose salaries are paid in whole or part by federal funds are prohibited from engaging in any political activities under the federal Hatch Act. A July 19, 2007 press release from the state's Department of Homeland Security indicated the agency had been awarded $41.7 million in federal homeland security grants. Carson's salary, however, continues to be paid fully by funds from the budget of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission according to Williams.

Interestingly, a state law prohibits local alcohol board members from holding any other lucrative office. State excise police, who are responsible for enforcing our state's alcoholic beverage laws, frequently appear and testify at local alcohol board hearings. Indeed, Carson has testified before, and participated in, meetings of the Marion Co. Alcoholic Beverage Board on previous occasions, which is chaired by local attorney Belle Choate, whose husband serves as chief of staff to Carson's grandmother, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson (D). Choate also shares a law office with the City-County Council's legal counsel, Aaron Haith.

Think about it. If you are a bar owner and you are solicited to contribute to Carson's campaign, would you not be more inclined to contribute to his campaign knowing he works as an excise police officer? Looks to me like we need to change our current law if this is permissible.


Wilson46201 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wilson's stupid and subject-dodging post aside, this is a very intriguing subject, Gary. One that I hadn't thought of.

I don't think Andre's current job even existed, funding-wise, prior to the Homeland Security funding. So it'd be pretty hard to argue that some, or all, of his salary does not come from federal funds.

This is the trouble you find, when public employees run for office. It's a sticky wicket.

I watched the Public Safety Committee budget hearing on Ch. 16 this weekend (replay). I did a nose count, and four of the six Dems on the committee, as well as one Repub, were on the public payroll. The chair's spouse is a policeman.

It's getting a little ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it kind of defeat Carson's counter-terrorism work for him to be a public figure and announce that is the work he is doing? Just thought these folks generally operated somewhere below radar.

Anonymous said...

"Carson" and "Intelligence Fusion" is funny.

And for anyone coming late to this game, the first post, which states it was removed by the author was by Carson's secretary for the campaign, one Wilson Allen, yet again comment on Carl Brizzi. Funny, I dont' know why he didn't as about heading over to 300 East?

Anonymous said...

The question on the table appears to be who is Andre being paid by in his current position.
I'm not exactly sure just what enforcing the State's excise laws has to do with Andre's stated job description of doing counter terrorism work.
If he is solely doing the Homeland Security gig then his paycheck IS coming thru the State via the Federal funding. Without the Federal funding then he doesn't get paid for what he says he's doing.
I guess I'm having a hard time understanding what in the hell the ATC has to do with Homeland Security.
He can be with one or the other but he can't be with both.
Who hired him?

Sir Hailstone said...

Right on Gary. I brought this up last week when Andre's name was brought forward for consideration by the Dem PC's of District 15.

Anonymous said...

Since when does the Secretary of State set guidelines for employees at the ATC? Absurd, and I can't believe it's at all true. The SoS has no jurisdiction of any type over the ATC, as least not so far as I am aware.

Sir Hailstone said...

AR - I guess the authority the SoS has over elections is where the opinion originated.

SoS Rokita assumably opined that Carson could serve on the CCC and work at his "job" as an Excise Police officer.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the SoS reaches beyond his authority.

Politically, he'd love to see Andre selected. Republicans ought to smell blood in the water here...if the district were not so D oriented.

Can someone please save us from Todd Rokita, before he does something else stupid? Isn't there another foreign capital he can visit, for a long time?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Secretary of State is in charge of the Elections Division.

Anonymous said...

forget the ccc. i can not believe that Carson is assigned to Homeland Security. When he has ties to a domestic terrorist organization. What kind of idiots do we have working in homeland security? Are background checks not done. Lets see here Member of Nation of Islam + employee working on homeland securrity= trouble. Think about that people.