RICH JAMES: Krieg is Lake GOP's unofficial mud-thrower

2013-12-01T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Krieg is Lake GOP's unofficial mud-throwerBy Rich James nwitimes.com
December 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Eric Krieg has every right to speak his mind. It would just be nice if he would get something right once in a while.

In case you don’t know Krieg – and you've been blessed if you don't – he is the unofficial mud-thrower of the Lake County Republican Party.

He also has run for office several times, only to get hammered at each outing. You’d think he would get the message.

But no, he just likes to attack Democrats – who often deserve it, unless Krieg is doing the name-calling because he’s always wrong.

Krieg has run for County Council a couple of times and county surveyor as well.

Most recently he has attacked Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who sometimes deserves it, but in this case doesn't.

Krieg wants the Lake County Election Board to investigate McDermott’s use of campaign funds to pay his wife and friends for work.

Krieg says McDermott’s in violation of state law for failing to file a written contract detailing the services for which the campaign was paying.

There is no need to do so, according to Brad King, co-director of the bipartisan Indiana Election Division.

I've dealt with King for decades. No one knows Indiana election law better than Brad. He must have written that chapter of statutes, I sometimes think.

The mayor contends Krieg is reacting to a defamation suit his brother, Aaron McDermott, filed against Krieg.

Krieg contends he is holier than thou and that Democrats invented public corruption.

When Krieg ran for county surveyor last year, he refused to say he would leave his job at BP if elected.

When Krieg felt the political heat for that ridiculous stand, he abruptly said he would quit BP. Yeah, sure.

He unfairly pounded Surveyor George Van Til during the campaign, calling for an investigation of drainage work on Plum Creek. County commissioners said all was fine.

Other absurd Krieg comments include his charge that county Councilman David Hamm shouldn't have been allowed to vote on the income tax because he was selected by committeemen to fill a vacancy, not elected by the voters.

And he said it was wrong for suburban police departments, like his hometown of Munster, to sometimes loan cops to the north county team designed to curtail crime in Hammond, Gary and East Chicago.

Krieg called them “failed Lake County cities,” and suggested they wallow in their own crime.

And when he ran for County Council, Krieg opposed anything that would benefit the county, including an income or food and beverage tax, the Regional Development Authority, bus service, expanded commuter rail and the Illiana Expressway.

Krieg’s problem is that he says what he thinks voters want to hear, rather than embracing the facts.

And Republicans wonder why they can’t make inroads in Lake County.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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