Gary lawmaker accuses governor of violating state ethics rules

2012-09-12T19:00:00Z 2012-09-12T19:15:11Z Gary lawmaker accuses governor of violating state ethics rulesDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
September 12, 2012 7:00 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Mitch Daniels on Wednesday, accusing the Republican of misusing governor's office resources for personal gain.

The complaint stems from a news release issued by the governor's office Sept. 4 that contained a quote from Daniels responding to media reports that Purdue University was spending $380,000 to renovate his future office. Daniels will become Purdue's president when his term as governor ends in January.

In the statement, the notoriously frugal governor said he did not know of the renovations and asked that any work not completed be canceled.

Brown said Daniels' news release "misused state property for personal reasons," in violation of state ethics rules, by employing "the state media advisory network and email system to disseminate information clearly unrelated and outside his official duties as governor."

The Gary lawmaker also claimed the governor violated an ethics prohibition on "ghost employment" by directing university staff to take certain actions even though Daniels is not yet head of the university.

Daniels' spokeswoman Jane Jankowski called Brown's complaint "partisan nonsense."

"Gov. Daniels set the record straight after what could have been misleading headlines about him. But, as governor, he could very legitimately and properly comment about university expenditures at Purdue or elsewhere," she said. "Now resources will have to be wasted disposing of this silly charge."

Brown urged Indiana Inspector General David Thomas to promptly investigate the allegations and decide by Sept. 25 whether to bring the matter before the State Ethics Commission for possible sanctions against the governor.

"Considering the impending end of Gov. Daniels' term of office, the taxpayers of Indiana deserve swift action and investigation into these complaints," he said.

Brown also asked Thomas to reconsider his earlier ruling allowing Daniels to lobby the General Assembly as Purdue president without waiting one year as required by state ethics rules Daniels enacted in 2005.

Editor's Note: Story updated from a previously published version.

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