Friday, June 13, 2008

Montagano Caught On Tape Buying Votes?

Indiana's NewsCenter in Fort Wayne caught Third District congressional candidate Mike Montagano doing what U.S. Rep. Mark Souder calls "buying votes." It started as a publicity stunt by Montagano to demonstrate that gas prices were $1.13 when Souder was first elected to Congress. Here's how Nicole Pence and Peter Ambrose of Indiana's NewCenter describe what happened next:

As gas prices continue to climb, congressional candidates for the third district seat here in Indiana argue over who can better solve the problem. But, now it appears one candidate may have broken campaign laws while doing so.

With the national average of a gallon of gas well over four dollars, Democrat Mike Montagano says his Republican opponent in Washington is partly to blame. But, now the way he went about showing that is being questioned.

This is video of democrat Mike Montagano Thursday afternoon. He along with campaign staffers passed out $1.13 to costumers at a Shell gas station in Fort Wayne to symbolize the price of a gallon of gas when Congressman Mark Souder first took office.

Montagano says, “In 1995, when Mark Souder stepped into office, his first day, gas was $1.13. We could fill our tanks for under $20. Because of failed policy, ineffective leadership, and because of stagnation, gas prices have risen."

The Democrat argued to those gathered that domestic drilling is needed---but not necessarily in ANWAR. Montagano told Indiana’s NewsCenter the money came from his campaign.

Souder and the Republican National Congressional Committee accuse Montagano of buying votes - a violation of election law. "Nobody's going to argue that $1.13 is going to switch a vote. Election law says you cannot pass money," said Souder, "and you have him on tape passing money to influence a vote."

According to the Allen County Election Board, money can only be given out in certain circumstances. Even though it was a little over a dollar, officials at the Election Board tell Indiana’s NewsCenter it's sending "up red flags”. Campaign funds, it appears cannot go directly from the candidate to potential voters.

A pretty big mistake for a young, attorney candidate, heh? Montagano might want to ask members of his own party why they have shut down every attempt to develop new oil sources within the U.S. The U.S. has the largest, untapped oil reserves in the world, but Democrats in Congress have made sure it all remains off limits so we are totally beholden to the OPEC countries.

As an aside, do you think Allen County Democrats who pushed hard for the investigation of Matt Kelty's campaign improprieties last year push as hard for an investigation of Montagano's cash for votes scam?


Concerned Taxpayer said...

How interesting! A democrat saying that we need to get more of our own oil!

I guess that's why the democrats have PREVENTED domestic drilling or building new refineries in this country for the last 20 years!!

Anonymous said...

"Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers have a similar obligation with respect to judicial misconduct. An apparently isolated violation may indicate a pattern of misconduct that only a disciplinary investigation can uncover. Reporting a violation is especially important where the victim is unlikely to discover the offense."

Since you said that Montagano was "caught on tape buying votes", an act that violates Rule 8.4, have you initiated a complaint against Mr. Montagano?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The proper route for these matters involving campaign violations is for them to take their course through the election complaint process first. From the news reports, it appears that is already taking place. If a finding is made against the complainant, in the case of an attorney, the matter would be forwarded to the disciplinary commission as a matter of course. And it's Rep. Souder's claim that Mr. Montagano was buying votes based upon the news reports.