Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Former Pence Finance Director Working To Defeat Mourdock While Fundraising For Romney

Earlier this year, I questioned whether it was wise for Mike Pence's campaign to employ as its finance director a man who worked for indicted Indianapolis real estate developer John Bales at Venture Real Estate while Bales was allegedly engaged in double-dealing his client, the State of Indiana, on the leasing of real estate for the state's Department of Child Services. Obst left the Pence campaign shortly after my blog post to become President of Hoosiers for Economic Growth, a SuperPAC that is aiding the re-election of Sen. Richard Lugar by running negative attack ads against Lugar's primary opponent, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. The Super PACs paid mouthpiece, Robert Vane, recently gave to reporters a private e-mail that Mourdock's campaign manager, Jim Holden, sent to Obst, chastising him for his new role. As the Star's "Behind Closed Doors" column reported:

Jim Holden, the campaign manager for Mourdock, apparently didn't take it too well when he learned that Marty Obst, a former finance chairman for the Indiana Republican Party, was working for a super PAC that is backing Lugar.

Holden, using his own email and not the Mourdock campaign account, sent Obst an email saying: "I just read about your new job. Congratulations, you are now the newest lowest form of life on earth. I hope you choke on your 30 pieces of silver."

Just in case Obst didn't get the point, Holden included a link to a Wikipedia article on "Judas Iscariot."

Christopher Conner, a spokesman for Mourdock, said only that this was "a personal email between the two of them on a personal matter."

Robert Vane works with Obst at the super PAC Hoosiers for Jobs. Vane is communications director while Obst is the fundraiser.

"He showed (the email) to me and said, 'I want you to take a look at this,' " Vane said. "My actual reaction was, 'Well, Jim Holden has colored more books than he's read.' What does this say about Richard Mourdock's judgment if he keeps Holden as his top aide?"

Mind you, these are all Republicans. Just think what they'd be saying about each other if they were of different political parties.

Hoosiers for Jobs, by the way, started out as Hoosiers for Economic Growth and Jobs. Vane said they shortened the name recently to make it more concise.

Changing the name also might have avoided confusion with another political action committee, Hoosiers for Economic Growth, which was formed a few years ago by businessman Fred Klipsch and Luke Messer, a former state representative and GOP executive director who is running for Congress.

And presumably Klipsch and Messer are happy that their PAC won't be confused with the super PAC. Particularly if it gets into name-calling fights with Senate campaigns.
According to a solicitation for a May 7, 2012 Indianapolis fundraiser at the J.W. Marriott for Romney Victory, Inc., a political action committee supporting Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, Obst is listed as the contact person for purchasing tickets to the event that start at $1,000 per person and run as high as $50,000 per person. Romney Victory, Inc. is a joint fundraising committee composed of Romney for President, the Republican National Committee and the official state Republican parties for Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont according to a disclosure contained on a solicitation for the fundraiser. Ironically, Mourdock is among the various elected Republican officials serving as honorary committee members for the event being hosted by Gov. Mitch Daniels. One of the listed host committee members is Jerry Slusser. Last year after this blog reported on Slusser's controversial role as a fundraiser for Daniels and then-Marion Co. Prosecutor candidate, Mark Massa, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced that he was taking Slusser to court to force him to pay up $600,000 he owed the federal government for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. It's nice to know that Republican insiders still turn to a questionable cast of characters for their fundraising efforts in this state. Obviously, nothing has been learned from the Tim Durham experience.

1 comment:

blake said...

It really is time for Dick Lugar to hang up his cleats. Does indiana really want its own version of Strom Thurmond representing them when he is 86 years old at the end of this hypothetical term? unreal. I found www.lugarrecord.com to be a great reference for info on Senator Lugar's record.