Thursday, February 26, 2015

Billboard Lobbyist Bankrolling And Running City-County Council Committee Chairman's Campaign

The stench at the City-County Building is competing with the sewer gases emanating from the State House dome these days. We already knew that lobbyists for the billboard industry had started flooding key members of the City-County Council with campaign contributions over the past year as they set about to turn the zoning process on its head by having the council to approve a zoning ordinance allowing for digital billboards to send to the Metropolitan Development Commission with instructions to approve, but it's much worse than that.

As Advance Indiana exclusively reported, a lobbyist for the billboard industry, Carl Drummer, was allowed to appoint a bunch of mummy dummy precinct committeemen shortly before the Democratic slating convention held earlier this month to outvote the elected precinct committeemen in District 1 who supported the re-election of their long-time council member, Angela Mansfield, and win the party's backing as its slated candidate in District 1. LeRoy Robinson, an at-large member of the City-County Council, moved from the home on which he's claimed a homestead exemption since he purchased it more than a decade ago, to an apartment in Washington Township simply to run against Mansfield in the Democratic primary. Robinson is the chairman of the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee which is hearing the controversial billboard ordinance.

Fellow blogger Pat Andrews reports that Robinson held a fundraiser for his campaign the day after he released the agenda for his committee's November 17 meeting, the first time Proposal 250 appeared on the committee's agenda for consideration. About a third of the tens of thousands of dollars the billboard lobbyists plowed into councilors' campaign committees went to Robinson. Andrews notes that Proposal 250 languished for more than three months before it was placed on the committee's agenda in violation of council rules.

Andrews further reports a recent change in Robinson's campaign committee. He filed a statement of organization on January 20, 2015, which was executed on January 7, 2015 naming Greg Hahn of Bose Public Affairs Group as his committee's treasurer. Hahn, of course, is one of the key lobbyists hired by the billboard industry to pass Proposal 250. "That's right - a billboard lobbyist doing business before the Council committee that Robinson Chairs - is now the keeper of Robinson's campaign cash," Andrews writes. "Hahn is kind of a one-man band - donating, throwing fundraisers, and now logging the checks." Hahn, along with Ice Miller's Lacy Johnson, hold sway over the Marion County Democratic Party and were instrumental I'm told in the decision to recruit Robinson to move into Mansfield's District 1 in order to take her out because of her independent streak on issues, including her opposition to digital billboards and the criminal justice center project, two matters for which Hahn and Johnson are lobbying.

No comments: