Krull wins Voter Vault challenge

2012-05-23T18:30:00Z 2012-05-24T12:27:05Z Krull wins Voter Vault challengeBy Bill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com

State Republican Party officials have refused a petition to remove Lake County GOP Chairwoman Kim Krull.

Krull and her leadership team were accused of undermining the campaigns of two Republican candidates by falsifying their party loyalty ratings listed in Voter Vault.

Joe Hero, a St. John Republican activist, who sought her removal, denounced the decision Wednesday afternoon as a coverup. "The state Republican Party decision is obstruction of justice (for not) prosecuting those responsible for computer tampering of the Republican National Committee database," Hero said.

Hero claims someone used a computer access code assigned to Krull to make the changes.

"This decision protects those who defamed legitimate Republican candidates. This will embolden any corrupt Republican official to use the Republican National Committee database to attack Republican candidates."

George Janiec, Krull's second-in-command and manager of the county's Voter Vault activities, said the decision was a vindication for Krull, but he expects further attacks from Hero and other dissident Republicans trying to fracture party loyalty.

"This decision supports what we've said all along, that these were specious allegations. They smack of a personal vendetta," Janiec said.

Michael Neal, chairman of Lake County's Young Republicans, who filed one of two complaints over Voter Vault allegations, said he is glad state party leaders have agreed to "keep Kim from having any kind of editing access (over Voter Vault) through 2012. They also will take over ... safeguards."

The controversy first arose earlier this year after Neal, Peter N. Karagan and Eric Krieg discovered their party loyalty was downgraded in Voter Vault, which lists voters and other activists as either strong or weak Republicans, strong or weak Democrats or political independents.

They claimed misuse of Voter Vault was intended to starve them of campaign contributions and votes to punish those who don't toe the local leadership's line.

Karagan, who was running in the May 8 Republican primary for the state Legislature in the 12th House District, added that someone strengthened the Republican credentials of his opponent, William "Bill" Fine. Karagan lost to Fine.

Krieg, who won Republican nomination for county surveyor, said afterward, "I'm disappointed that the state party didn't take the charges seriously. It appears to me that she or someone to whom she granted access to her account is guilty of computer-tampering."

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