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Blog: Logic according to the State Ethics Commission

On Wednesday, the Indiana Ethics Commission fined former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett $5,000 for ethics violations.

But in the process, the panel also ruled that statewide elected officials are free to use state property for their own campaign purposes - as long as they give themselves permission in advance.

The logic of that ruling brings to mind reasoning invoked by former President Richard Nixon.

July 10, 2014 1:45 pm Video

BLOG: Coats complimented for crying

It's not often that a senator is congratulated for being reduced to tears, but it happened Wednesday to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats.

"Mr. Chairman, I just want to note for the record that Sen. Coats just found out in the hallway he had his 10th grandchild," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, said during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"And I heard he cried," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said. "A guy who cries over his grandchild is very cool."

I'ts another form of cartel," an off-camera person added.

Click here to watch the video.

July 09, 2014 4:30 pm

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June 26, 2014 9:55 am

Blog: Twitter reacts to historic day in Indiana

A federal judge's ruling, striking down Indiana's ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional unleashed a flood of reaction over Twitter.

The Marion County clerk wasted no time.

June 25, 2014 5:30 pm
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Blog: The alleged voter fraud Indiana's ID law failed to catch

From Wisconsin, we find the strange tale of Robert D. Monroe, who investigators say was able to illegally vote in Indiana, despite the state's voter ID law that was supposed to stop such fraud.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

According to the complaint:

Monroe cast two ballots in the April 2011 Supreme Court election, two in the August 2011 Alberta Darling recall election, five in the Scott Walker-Tom Barrett recall, one illegal ballot in an August 2012 primary, and two ballots in the November 2012 presidential election.

In the presidential election, Monroe cast an in-person absentee ballot in Shorewood on Nov. 1 and drove a rental car to Lebanon, Ind., where he showed his Indiana driver's license to vote in person on election day, Nov. 6, the complaint charges. Monroe owns a house there, according to the complaint.

So there's the hole in the voter ID law, which seems to not catch voters with homes (and driver licenses) in multiple states. Then again, critics of the law say it has less to do with preventing voter fraud and more to do with making it more difficult for certain citizens to vote.

You might recall that the actual Indiana voter fraud that proponents say justified the Voter ID law involved absentee ballot fraud in the Robert Pastrick-George Pabey East Chicago mayoral election. The fact that voter ID does nothing to prevent such absentee ballot fraud once again becomes evident.

June 24, 2014 12:00 pm
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June 24, 2014 9:07 am

Blog: Coats on IRS scandal: 'Trust is broken'

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats said on the Senate floor Monday that even though he's not a big fan of special prosecutors, the lost emails in the IRS scandal merit a special prosecutor with subpoena power "to get to the bottom of this mess."

“When a so-called independent agency of the federal government attacks average American citizens for expressing their beliefs, a fundamental trust is broken,” said Coats. “This trust must be restored. We owe it to the American taxpayers to reveal the full truth of what happened at the IRS and to repair the damage of this agency’s reckless actions.”

A little more than a year ago, former director Lois Lerner disclosed that IRS agents had improperly scrutinized applications by tea party and other conservative groups from 2010 to 2012.

The Justice Department and three congressional committees, including Ways and Means, are investigating the IRS.

Recently, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen claimed that the hard drive belonging to Lerner crashed in 2011 and tens of thousands of emails dating back to 2009 were lost.

June 23, 2014 5:30 pm Video
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June 20, 2014 9:48 am
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Robert Blaszkiewicz

Robert Blaszkiewicz

Robert Blaszkiewicz is a Northwest Indiana native and joined The Times in 1994. He has filled a variety of roles, including night editor, Porter County editor, features editor and new media coordinator. His current position is assistant managing editor for operations.

Doug Ross

Doug Ross

Doug Ross has been covering Northwest Indiana for 30 years, including two decades at The Times of Northwest Indiana.

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