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The entrance to the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point.

Potshots fired with reckless abandon on social media are white noise, especially in our Region and the national political dialogue.

But when such shots are taken from the clandestine anonymity of a phony Facebook account — and high-ranking public officials and felonious political operatives are linked to it — a whole new level of dirty politics takes shape.

This past week in Region politics saw the apparent uncovering of such a scheme in what appears to be a new twist on old underhanded motives.

Voters and public officials who played no role in this nonsense should be shouting criticism from the highest ground.

The newest low in dirty Lake County politics can be found in an ongoing criminal investigation into the phony Facebook account that takes potshots and espouses falsehoods about various people, including sitting public officials.

Evidence recently turned over to the Indiana State Police shows a trail leading from the phony account to computer IDs and/or home addresses registered to the Schererville Police Chief and Lake County sheriff candidate David Dowling; convicted felon and Region political operative Robert Cantrell; the Crown Point Community School Corp.; Lake County coroner's investigator Gilbert Gutierrez and others.

Though much still is unknown, we hope if any responsible parties are found to have used taxpayer resources for such dirty political purposes, corrective action is taken.

Voters and other public officials can take their own corrective action by denouncing such behavior.

And it may amount to more than just a bad taste in our collective mouth.

Indiana State Police are weighing whether to probe if any criminal act occurred. Indiana law makes it a felony to assume a false identity online with the intent of doing damage to another individual.

Freedom of speech may not be a defense in this case, and it shouldn't be, at least from a moral standpoint. If individuals are going to criticize or even lampoon another person, they should have the courage and strength of conviction to do it in the sunlight, with their name attached — not from the darkness of a bogus social media account.

It seems a new whirlwind of dirty politics is whipping into a frenzy in our Region. We all must do our parts to usher dirty politics into a secure cage.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.