Tim Berry Campaigns on Your Dime

Just exactly how is Tim Berry paying for his campaign appearances? The next State Auditor Mr. Sam Lock thinks he knows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Indiana Statewide

LOCKE CALLS ON BERRY TO FILE TRANSPARENT CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS

Auditor of State Tim Berry’s recent campaign finance report reveals much about his campaign.  Despite listing dozens of campaign stops on his campaign website and Facebook page, he lists no travel expenses on his quarterly financial report.

This exclusion means that Auditor of State Tim Berry has either (1) filed an incorrect financial statement with the Secretary of State or (2) used resources available to him as a public official (car, mileage reimbursement, etc.) to make campaign stops.
Our campaign immediately calls upon Auditor Berry to either file an amended financial report with the Secretary of State or to reimburse Hoosier taxpayers for the public resources used for campaign appearances.
One can learn a lot from financial statements.  Whether they are the State’s financial statements, as we examined earlier in the week in our opinion-editorial piece, or the quarterly financial reports political candidates are required to file with the Secretary of State, numbers tell the story of priorities, successes, and failures.
Our second quarter campaign finance report reveals some critical facts about our campaign as well:

· We nearly tripled the contributions of our opponent

· Our donations came largely from private citizens, in most cases in amounts of $30 or less

· We are committed to taking our message of innovation and transparency across the state, our second largest expense item was statewide travel

The primary goal of the State Auditor’s office, under Sam Locke’s leadership, will be to provide unprecedented access to transparent information about the State’s finances.  How can we trust Tim Berry to provide the same level of transparency when his campaign finance reports illustrates such carelessness?
For more information on the campaign, please visit www.lockeforauditor.com.

Here He Comes!

Those of you who have been wondering “where are Congressman Brad Ellsworth’s ads?!” can stop waiting.

Look for these to run all July right on the heels of Congressional Quarterly moving the race from “Leans GOP” to “Toss-up.”

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) today released his first ad in his Indiana Senate campaign. In the 30-second spot, Ellsworth, a former sheriff, talks about how he developed “zero tolerance for bull” in his old job and how that prepared him for his current post on Capitol Hill.

Ellsworth, who was nominated by party officials in the wake of Sen. Evan Bayh‘s (D) retirement announcement earlier this year, will face former Sen. Dan Coats (R) in November.

CQ-Roll Call rates this race a Tossup.

Check out the ratings for other Senate contests with our election map.

We especially like this one. We know the track says “One thing that twenty-five years as a sheriff teaches you is zero tolerance for bull.” But we could swear he says bullshit. Maybe we are just being hopeful.

And of course the Matt Tulley piece in the Indianapolis Star is pretty stellar:

Some answers for those asking, ‘Brad Ellsworth?’

The Indianapolis Star
By Matthew Tully

Election Day is less than four months away, but many Indiana voters still don’t know much about Brad Ellsworth, the Democratic nominee for Senate.

That could change shortly, as he began airing his first campaign commercial Tuesday. It’s none too soon. As a congressman from Evansville, he could walk down the street in many parts of the state without being recognized.

But he’s not worried.

Four months is a lifetime in a political campaign, and with a rare open Senate seat at stake, there’s little doubt his race against former Sen. Dan Coats ultimately will receive gobs of attention.

“Absolutely not,” Ellsworth said Tuesday morning when I asked him if he was a household name. “But when the regular campaign starts up, when the TV ads start and we get out more during the (congressional) recesses, it will pick up.”

It’s been a strange race in many ways—from Sen. Evan Bayh’s last-minute decision not to run for a third term to Coats’ decision to come back to Indiana in the hopes of winning back his old seat. Now, it’s a dash to Election Day.

Tuesday, Ellsworth, whose face was sun-splashed from walking in Fourth of July parades, met with me to talk about the campaign.

He has taken on a tough task, running during a year in which Democrats likely will suffer a beating. He faces many voters still angry that he voted for the federal health-care bill, as well as ridiculous charges that he’s a liberal lapdog of national Democratic leaders.

In reality, he is probably the only candidate his party could have fielded this year, other than Bayh, who had a chance of winning the election. A moderate Democrat and former sheriff, Ellsworth is preaching a message that used to be common but isn’t heard enough in these ultra-partisan days.

“The problems that face this country do not have a D or an R attached to them, and neither party has a corner on the market of good ideas,” he said. “Guys like me—whatever you want to call me: a centrist, a moderate, a conservative Democrat—we want to be those guys who reach across the aisle.”

He continued:

“We can’t be head-butting all of the time. On issues like labor, education, the oil spill. Trying to blame a party? Give me a break. Let’s fix it.”

It’s probably fitting that this campaign has been truncated. It’s going to be a relatively simple one. Democrats will hammer Coats for being a D.C. lobbyist, and Republicans will attack Ellsworth for supporting health-care reform and other pieces of the Obama agenda.

It won’t be pretty.

As I’ve written before, that’s too bad. Because both candidates seem like decent, serious-minded men.

As for Ellsworth, he tells voters who are upset with the new health-care law that “it’s not a radical bill” and that, while flawed, it was a “step in the right direction” after decades of inaction. He voted against his party on “cap-and-trade” energy legislation and laughs at those who try to label him a liberal, pointing to positions on guns, abortion and other issues that led Republicans in D.C. to casually raise the prospect of him changing parties.

In recent weeks, Republicans have mocked Ellsworth for downplaying his time in Washington. He no doubt has. He knows his two terms as a sheriff play well. And despite four years in Congress, he insists he still tries to approach issues the way he did during nearly 25 years in law enforcement.

“When we got called, we didn’t ask if the person was rich or poor, white or black, or Republican or Democrat,” he said. “You just went out and tackled the problem. You looked for the common-sense approach to fix the issue.”

It’s a great campaign line. But it’s also a great philosophy.

TalkingPointsMemo.com points out the following about the race and Ellsworth’s new ad:

Dem Ellsworth Takes Indirect Jab At GOP Opponent’s Lobbying Past In New IN-SEN Ad (VIDEO)

Eric Kleefeld | July 6, 2010, 3:34PM


Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), the Democratic nominee for the open Senate seat of retiring Dem Evan Bayh, has launched his first TV ad of the campaign. Ellsworth cast himself as an anti-Washington candidate taking on Washington lobbyists — a not-so-subtle attack against his Republican opponent, former Sen. Dan Coats, who had been a lobbyist for the past decade.

“One thing that 25 years as a sheriff teaches you is zero tolerance for bull. There’s too much at stake. But out in Washington it’s like they live and breathe the stuff,” Ellsworth says. “They waste our money. They take care of special interests. And they don’t care if lobbyists write the laws or if our jobs get shipped overseas. I’m Brad Ellsworth and I approve this message because the special interests and lobbyists already have enough senators on their side.”

Ellsworth never directly mentions Coats in the ad, but appears to be laying the groundwork for further attacks down the road. Ellsworth begins this general election as a severe underdog, with the TPM Poll Average giving Coats a lead of 49.4%-33.6%.

Happy Father’s Day From The Once And Future Governor

Cynics out there will just say this is the once and future Governor keeping his name out there to remain relevant politically for whatever comes next.

But we at ALO much appreciated receiving Senator Evan Bayh’s Father’s Day e-mail greeting and video. Not only does it remind us of how lucky a man is when he gets the opportunity to be a dad, but it notes the unfortunate case of those growing up without a father’s influence.

The senator’s e-mail, which included a picture of himself and his sons, Beau and Nick, shooting around the old basketball, reads as follows:

The fathers our children deserve
I will never forget the day my children were born and my overwhelming sense of joy, responsibility and hope for the future.  My life was transformed.

Unfortunately, not every child knows the love and support of a father.  More than 24 million children in America will spend this Father’s Day without their biological dad.  These children are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to drop out of school, and more likely to end up in the criminal justice system.

Our nation’s moms – particularly single moms – do a heroic job of raising their children, but fathers have to share in the responsibility.

Tackling the epidemic of fatherlessness in America requires a unified effort.  States, the federal government, national organizations and community groups all have a role to play in helping dads become the fathers their children deserve. 

Above all, it takes a personal commitment on the part of America’s fathers to be there for their kids.

To all Hoosiers who have the joy of being called “Dad” and who serve as role models to your children — thank you for all that you do.

Daniels Silent On Budget Saving FMAP Legislation; Leave It To Evan Bayh To Save The State From Another Massive Shortfall

Lets start with the basics. There is a big bill moving through congress and a sizable chunk of that bill is targeted at reimbursing a fund that large majorities have supported before and our Governor favored and verbally supported the last two time it passed. But now he sits tightlipped and we wonder why he doesn’t speak up?

Mitch Daniels: Leader

As we write this we read the bill just passed so here is the quick jist from ANCOR: The American Network of Community Options and Resources:

Senate Passes Jobs Bill with FMAP 62-36 and Sends to the House For Passage

The Senate today passed by a vote of 62 to 36 the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213), which includes an extension of the Recovery Act’s increased Federal match for state Medicaid programs. The passed bill extends the increased FMAP through June 30, 2011, which is estimated to provide states with an additional $25.5 billion in FMAP and an additional $1.2 billion in adjustments to help states with the Medicare Part D payments states are required to make to the federal government.

The bill will be sent to the House for passage as it passed a different jobs bill and with lower FMAP extension and adjustment in December. We will have the vote tally available in Thursday’s WIC”s live. We need to thank our friend in the Senate and move to pressing the House to move quickly on this legislation.

That FMAP part is the part we are talking about. It stands for Federal Medical Assistance Payments. That is the $25 billion dollar part that goes to fund the state Medicaid gap.

Medicaid presently costs the state twenty-five cents for every dollar in Medicaid disbursements, thanks to continued FMAP support under the stimulus package, but should FMAP fail to pass the state’s percentage would become thirty-three cents of each Medicaid dollar. That might sound paltry, but it represents hundreds of millions of dollars in impact to the state budget, a shortfall that would lead to fewer services and even more lay-offs for the state.

Not just the state. There would by huge private sector unemployment implications as hospitals, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices would be forced to lay-off workers. When we are already stuck in the doldrums of 10% unemployment in Indiana.

Daniels’ incomprehensible silence on such critical legislation to the Hoosier economy, which he loudly supported twice under stimulus legislation leaves him playing politics while the Once and Future Governor, Senator Evan Bayh works to pass FMAP and save the Governor’s bacon for him.

The Governor’s otrich impression may be dur to his recent intraparty squabble where he asked for a “truce on social issues” and was slapped down by the fundamentalists of his party:

Mitch Daniels cancels the truce

Washington Post op-ed columnist Michael Gerson talks to Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) about his much-discussed “social truce” concept — something I thought described what conservatives were doing right now, but something that convinced the likes of Mike Huckabee that Daniels was tossing social conservatives into a landfill. Daniels clarifies:

“I would reinstate the Mexico City policy,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told me Wednesday, removing an uncertainty of his own creation. Promoting abortion with international family planning funds is one of “a thousand things we shouldn’t be spending money on.” …Daniels’s clarification on Mexico City shows his realism. But his continued insistence on the idea of a truce shows his stubbornness — a defining characteristic. “If there were a WMD attack, death would come to straights and gays, pro-life and pro-choice,” he told me. “If the country goes broke, it would ruin the American dream for everyone. We are in this together. Whatever our honest disagreements on other questions, might we set them aside long enough to do some very difficult things without which we will be a different, lesser country?”

In other words, his clever concept was alienating people whom he needed to take him seriously.

Or more likely it is his heeding of the Republican National Committee’s siren call to oppose anything this president is for no matter how critical to your constituents. And now he once again leaves his constituents’ economic well being in harm’s way in search of greater glory for himself as he mulls a run for RNC Chair or (gulp) The Presidency.

Given the rise in unemployment and early retirements the state of Indiana, there is an increased need upon this fund. For the last two years the Federal government as a part of the stimulus program has used something called FMAP

Burton to Souder: “Don’t Mess Up Your Life Like I Have Mine.”

Former Congressman and assumed former adulterer Mark Souder is still talking about his affair. And it has made home the pin-up on the cover of this week’s Christian World Magazine.

Lessons from a broken man

Indiana congressman Mark Souder’s admission of adultery shows how a marriage can fall apart, while other lawmakers struggle to keep theirs together | Emily Belz

Last month a broken man announced his resignation from Congress after confessing to adultery. At an Indiana press conference Mark Souder, 59, said he had “sinned against God, my wife, and my family.” He committed to “repairing my marriage, earning back the trust of my family and my community, and renewing my walk with my Lord.”

Since then, in more than a dozen emails to WORLD, he has offered an extraordinary look into the thinking and feeling of a principled legislator who violated his principles. “Politicians and any top professionals are skilled manipulators and smooth with words,” he acknowledged: “Holding us accountable is hard.” His emails reveal the agony of failure: “My sin, while forgiven, is greater in that God put me in a position of public trust, so I deserve whatever criticism I receive.”

Souder and his inamorata, a part-time staffer, are both Christians who felt guilty and repeatedly talked about ending the affair as it dragged on over several years. Souder wrote in an email, “I prayed multiple times a day, sang hymns with emotion and tears, felt each time that it wouldn’t happen again, read the Bible every morning. . . . So how in the world did I have a ‘torrid’ (which is an accurate word) many-year affair? How could I compartmentalize it so much?”

Trying to figure it out, Souder wrote, “One of the biggest dangers—which is partly why intimacy is desired—is loneliness. Loneliness doesn’t mean being alone as much as it means being around hundreds of people but not really knowing them. It’s a job that results in hundreds, even thousands of friends, but not much closeness.” But he knows that explanation is insufficient: “Bottom line, however, is that the problem is sin. . . . The problem is getting the will subordinated to the Holy Spirit early enough that the Spirit is not squelched.”

The road to this low point in Souder’s life began with his election to Congress in November, 1994, as the short-lived “Republican revolution” began. Souder had just delivered a victory speech to a packed house in Fort Wayne, Ind., when someone tapped his shoulder and told him that former vice president Dan Quayle, a longtime friend and political colleague, was on the phone.

Quayle was calling to give the newly elected congressman a key piece of advice: Take your family with you to Washington. Souder didn’t do it. He had promised his three children—ages 17, 15, and 6—that they could finish school in Indiana. He believed that his family would be more “anchored” there. They would be near extended family.

In the end, Souder’s wife—they have been married for 35 years—and three children stayed in Indiana throughout his 15 years in office. In 2002 Souder met Tracy Jackson and her husband, Brad, at an event in his Indiana district. In 2004 she joined the staff in his Washington office part-time and worked with Souder closely on a number of issues, becoming what he called a “valued adviser.” They recorded a video, now widely mocked, where they talk about the value of abstinence education.

More recently, Jackson worked in Indiana and came to Washington, according to Souder, only 15 days a year. “To carry on a multi-year sexual affair in the district and not get caught shows that where there is a will, there will be a way,” Souder wrote. “I believe that it isn’t just whether someone is attractive, or available, or flattering members. It is a question of how we—Members of Congress and others—can recognize that with some people we have a deeper, intense attraction. Alarm bells need to go off.”

Souder doesn’t believe that moving his family to Washington would have kept him from falling into sin. He argues that if his family had been in Washington, the affair back in the district would have been “easier and more constant.” Over his 15 years in Congress, he said he only spent eight weekends in Washington. He notes that his children grew up with a stable community and his wife, Diane, was able to be near her parents, both of whom died while he was in office…

When Souder entered Congress in 1995, he and two other Indiana Republicans who took office in 1995 had the benefit of a discussion with Rep. Dan Burton, who had been in Congress over a decade. Burton would confess publicly in 1998 that he had fathered a child out of wedlock back in 1983, but then that news was private. He told the congressmen about his failings and said, according to Souder, “Do not mess up your life like I did mine.”

Warnings of that kind did not keep Souder from messing up, and adultery remains a virus among both Republicans and Democrats. Pledges of probity also don’t mean much: A dozen of the 73 freshman Republicans elected in 1994 became involved in extramarital affairs or divorces, a record that mocked the new Republican leadership’s pledge to end Congress’ “cycle of scandal and disgrace.”

Some affairs and marital problems had sprouted before Washington: In 1999, Rep. Bob Barr’s ex-wife accused him of having had an affair while they were still married, back in the 1980s. Other problems had a decidedly Washington trademark: Rep. Steve LaTourette divorced his wife and married his mistress, his former chief of staff. And House Speaker Newt Gingrich had an affair with a committee staffer whom he later married, his third wife.

Souder, watching some of his colleagues’ marriages suffer, complained that Democrats were purposefully spreading rumors about Republicans’ marital problems. He told the Associated Press in 1995: “Because we have a class that is more open in talking about religious faith, people just assume the worst.” In 1998, Souder voted against three of the four impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton because he thought the president behaved immorally but not impeachably.

In 2002, though, Souder met Tracy Jackson. One of his emails observed, “I felt a spark. . . . Closeness bred more closeness.” Guilt followed, then short-lived repentance, then more encounters, in Washington and back in the Indiana district. The affair became something he didn’t feel he could control, but he acknowledges that such a feeling “is no excuse: God expects you to control those leanings by providing us with the Holy Spirit within us.”

Souder wrote that his conscience stung every time he saw Sam McCullough, leader of a Bible study on the Hill, in the hallways of the Capitol. “The most baffling part was that I loved Diane,” Souder says—but he didn’t tell her about the initial “spark” and what happened thereafter. But last fall Souder and Jackson were in a parked car in a nature reserve near Fort Wayne when a Department of Natural Resources officer tapped on the window and asked them to move along. That scared Souder, and he realized he needed to come clean.

First he confessed the affair to some of his colleagues—but since Jackson was a member of Souder’s staff, House rules required them to report the activity as an ethics violation. Not until last month did Souder tell his wife about the affair. The colleagues-first pattern was not unusual. In his emails to WORLD about the affair, Souder often related conversations with colleagues but rarely mentioned anything about his family members. Those family relationships, for many lawmakers, are what are neglected when they’re in office and away from home.

Other politicians, like Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., have admitted to affairs and stayed in office, but Souder didn’t want to slog through that and a reelection race. He hopes to save his 35-year marriage, and he hopes that “others can learn from our pain, and the agony we caused Brad [Jackson] and my wonderful wife Diane. There is no question that the toughest thing to guard is the human heart.”

Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republicans sneak another $51 million dollars under the table to the banking cartel (via Ryan’s Blog)

We read this post last year and loved it. It bears remembering as the Governor continues his summer of folksy motorcyclin’ as the econemy continues to tank and he tells the state, “everything’s okey-dokey.”

Just in case you missed it, Indiana's house and senate passed a budget last Tuesday, narrowly avoiding a state government shutdown that would have started on Wednesday morning at 12:01 AM. Aside from an embarrassing  memo leaking out from Republican Senator Jim Leising asking basically to the effect of "We're gonna get paid for this special budget session spurred out of the crises that Indiana Republicans have caused, right?" right after being on … Read More

via Ryan's Blog

Pence, Daniels & Bennett Against Keeping Educators Working

Today we were a part of a statewide conference call alerting folks to the coming decimation of the backbone of our public school system. In a statewide conference call featuring Nate Shellenberger, President of the Indiana State Teacher’s Association and teachers from across the state, some losing their jobs due to budget cuts and others on the bubble.

ISTA represents more than 50,000 teachers across the state and has been under siege by Governor Mitch Daniels (http://aloyalopposition.in/2009/12/29/daniels-cannot-wait-to-fire-some-teachers) and Superintendent Tony Bennett for some time.

First, Daniels (http://aloyalopposition.in/2010/02/25/my-malicious-mitch) took advantage of the property tax upheaval to permanently remove education from the property tax roles thus always making it linked to the more rollercoastery ebb and flow of sales and income taxes. Fully knowing that with the very next downturn he would have to fire teachers. He has long wanted to see government out of the education business. It is why he has begun advocating for less education. Did you ever think you’d have a Governor telling folks that they shouldn’t aim for better educations?

Daniels (http://aloyalopposition.in/2009/12/16/disingenuous-daniels-gutting-education) has pressed since he was a part of Steve Goldsmith’s privatize everything cabal and then George Bush’s Your Child Left Behind crusade, to get government out of the education business so only wealthy folks can reach higher education’s rewards.

Then his hand-picked hatchet man, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, pressed to make it easier for less-qualified people who do not have training as educators, replace professionally trained teachers. Bennett, as the guy who is supposed to ensure Indiana schools improve, wants to make it so professionals can be replaced with less skilled, under-certified non-educators.

All this is now coming under fire now as Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has announced the Keep Our Educator’s Working Act.  Back in April Harkin announced the effort:

Job losses at public schools and colleges in the U.S. may top 100,000 in the next school year, Harkin said today at a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. The legislation needs to be passed now because school districts are making budget decisions this month, he said.

“The jobs crisis in education is real,” Harkin said at the hearing. “And it’s not just a problem in one state or one area; it’s a problem nationally.”

The fund would supplement the $100 billion dedicated to education in the $862 billion stimulus package, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A total of $69 billion had been awarded to states through Dec. 31, preserving more than 300,000 teaching and school administration jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Education Web site. The stimulus money expires Sept. 30, Harkin said.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he planned to work with Harkin on details of the legislation.

“We absolutely need a jobs bill,” Duncan testified before the subcommittee. “It’s the right thing for our country; it’s the right thing for our economy; it’s the right thing for our children.”

The money in the Harkin legislation would be used to retain teachers, librarians and other school staff, hire new employees and provide training at schools districts and public colleges and universities. The funds couldn’t be used to retire debt or for a reserve.

The legislation would be classified as an emergency spending measure and be exempt from pay-as-you-go rules that would require cuts elsewhere, Harkin said. It is appropriate to increase the federal deficit for education purposes, he said.

“How can you argue that it’s OK for a kid to borrow to go to college but it’s not OK to borrow so that there’s a college for the kid to go to?” Harkin said. “If there’s one legitimate area where we can borrow from the future, it’s education, because what sort of jobs will we have for my grandkids and great grandkids in the future if we don’t have a well-educated group of young people today?”

Can’t hear Daniels blowing his top? Anyway, support for this effort has been ramping up and the ISTA call was to draw support for the bill. Shellenberger and some very worried and long dedicated educators were on the call reminding people of what is to be lost if nothing is done. As many as 5,000 teachers will be fired next year in Indiana if nothing is done. Classroom sizes will balloon. Whole school districts will be forced to cut programs and probably close schools.

We asked Shellenberger, who pointed out that if the bill passes the funding will likely drop to the state and be up to this governor to distribute, how he could be sure that such a non-advocate of public education could be trusted to make sure the funds get used to rehire teachers.

Shellenberger wisely did not take ALO’s red-meat bait but rather and appropriately pointed out that the ISTA will make sure that they put clear pressure on the Governor to properly and immediately distribute those funds to the most effected school districts.

When we again wondered to ISTA how he can be certain that Tony Bennett. who apparently left his heart somewhere, and the Governor can be trusted to rehire laid-off teachers and not replace then with under-certified hacks with no educational training, Shellenberger again did not jump at the chance to criticize, but rather cited that he is certain the teacher contracts in effect in each district will be adhered to and that “retired Lilly chemists won’t be hired over trained laid-off chemistry teachers.”

We are proud of Shellenberger for not jumping at our hot-headed rhetoric but rather cooly sticking to his guns. He has a long fight to impress Hoosier members of congress to pass this bill this summer and avoid huge lay-offs in September.

We know Congressman Mike Pence won’t vote for it, even though several of the most impacted districts including Anderson, Muncie and Richmond are in his district. Why? Because he is a doctrinaire flag-waving patriot who doesn’t vote for spending unless its attached to a bullets, missiles and tanks, his home district be damned.

And because he loves carrying Daniels’ and Bennett’s water.

Enough of our partisanship. Go here if you want to breakdown the nuts and bolts of how many teaching jobs can be saved by this bill: http://edmoney.newamerica.net/node/30915. If you don’t want to read it we can tell you it is 210,000 teaching jobs nationwide.