As a parent, I expect to deal with the “but everyone else was doing it” defense. As a citizen of Indiana, I’m not sure that’s what I expect out of my Secretary of State.
Charlie White’s accusations against Evan Bayh remind me a little bit of the old joke where the motorist gets pulled over and protests to the officer, “I wasn’t speeding. But, I passed a few guys who were.” If I’m reading the news reports correctly, White is essentially saying, “these charges against me are bullshit, but Evan Bayh should be prosecuted for the same thing.”
This is probably one of those deals where you need to pick one strategy or another. Either say that the charges are frivolous or that everyone similarly situated should go down with you. Saying that frivolous charges should be made against everyone just doesn’t work so well.
Ah, but you’re using regular logic and ignoring the kind of super-logic that White and his defenders are using. You know, the kind that says that the Indiana Secretary of State is not the state’s chief election official, despite the fact that IC 3-6-3.7 reads, “Sec. 1. Except as provided by IC 3-7-11-1, the secretary of state is the state’s chief election official.”
Ok, while I’m not wild about White’s tactics and I have no doubts about his compliance in what he’s being accused of, I would say the argument isn’t so much “these charges against me are bullshit, but Evan Bayh should be prosecuted for the same thing.” as much as it is “these charges against me are bullshit, but *if I have to get dragged through the mud, its only fair that* Evan Bayh should be prosecuted for the same thing, here’s why:”
Part of that could be that I consider Bayh a sellout and regret ever voting for him in the first place; part is in the current political climate i’m suspicious whenever this kind of stuff happens. Then again, I’m so disinterested in Indiana’s leadership I will probably be voting for Mickey Mouse. Except after Mitch’s appearance on The Daily Show, I do have a much better opinion of him…
So is Charlie White going to go after every member of Congress from Indiana for living in DC most of the year? I can’t wait to see his complaint against Richard Lugar. Is he going to go after Dan Coats for hurriedly moving back from North Carolina to run for Senate? It’s going to get to the point where the Marion County Prosecutor’s office will see White walking up the steps, and everyone will hide and pretend they’re not home.
Having a homestead exemption in Indiana as well as another state is a very serious crime. My Congressman, the swindler Pete Visclosky, did the same thing (he claims his wife has the exemption in Maryland, that’s some serious BS right there).
It saved the Visclosky’s over $10,000 (and cost Indiana and Merrillville, a town that is seriously on the verge of bankruptcy).
If Bayh was playing fast and loose and gets tagged for it, I won’t lose any sleep about it. His sanctimonious farewell speech about D.C. politics followed by his post-Senate career choices closed out any sympathy I might have had for the man.
But, Charlie White is the wrong man for this particular job.
Even if his motives were selfless, which they pretty clearly are not.
Paul C. says
exhoosier: Bayh is not a member of Congress.
Maybe there should be some legislative clarification for our representatives to D.C. to go by. But, as far back as I can remember, this has been the rule, rather than the exception.
Plus, IIRC the Secy. is complaining about the Bayhs voting in a primary, while his own problem was with a general election. A primary is whatever the party says it is. Someone from another party shouldn’t be trying to insinuate themselves into complaining about that.
I mentioned elsewhere that this is going to be another Pandora’s Box. One that a politician should be loathe to open. But not for Charlie White, eh? Remember the former Terre Haute mayor (Kevin Burke) who opened his own Pandora’s Box called the Little Hatch Act after losing an attempt at reelection? He’s still a political pariah over it. And, I imagine, so shall Charlie White end up, a political pariah.
Why is it a Pandora’s box?
I love the Hatch Act, by the way. I almost got a primary opponent thrown off the ballot using it.
The first thing I do when investigating someone is to see how many homes they own and if they have more than one homestead exemption. This is rookie stuff. Bayh should know better.
Right. Exactly. You love the Little Hatch Act. Politicians ofttimes don’t. Literally, anyone working for Federal dollars (including grants, etc) would be excluded from running for office.
Down here in Indy that would remove one-quarter of the City-County council. Double dippers who regularly vote on their own day job raises, I might add (from both sides of the fence, too).
The homestead exemption is a bit trickier. You are correct that politicians need to be mindful of doubling their exemptions, but I would posit that “regular” citizens of all sorts routinely give themselves that particular “bonus” come tax time. Goes back to the “but he doing it!” excuse. And, few are ever called out on it.
“he’s”, not “he” (at the end). Dang grammar.
I don’t recall where I read it, but it was recent, didn’t a current Indiana Tea Party-endorsed candidate just get found having two homestead exemptions to explain about and pay back $$ on? My apologies if I’m wrong, that’s why I’m not naming him, but I’m sure I just read about it somewhere.
Paul C. says
Mary: you may be referring to Richard Mourdock (Senate candidate), but I believe the story was that Mourdock himself is the one that found he had two exemptions and had self-reported that he was trying to correct that issue, and that he had contacted the local auditors’ offices more than once to make that correction.
Oh, well, as long as it got taken care of…but how does one have to find out one has two exemptions — I mean, how would one not already know? I guess it’s a public record or how would it be known that the other politicians had more than allowed? I have never made that particular error, so I don’t have in mind all the scenarios under which it could happen. But if I were a politician I think I would know enough look up everything I could find about myself that others could also see. Wouldn’t that be prudent?
Paul C. says
Actually, the Marion County Auditor admitted that Mourdock submitted the proper paperwork and the mistake was not Mourock’s fault. The cause of the issue was a mistake in the Auditor’s office, that Mourdock caught in 2011. One interesting aspect of this disclosure is that the double property-tax exemptions could have made Mourdock’s run for Treasurer in 2010 a lot more difficult if it would have been caught by Peter Buttigieg (the Democratic candidate).
Mary, the first step in getting that second homestead exemption is to get a second home. Since very few of us own more than one home, it is not something most of us need to worry about.
But in my experience, most politicians own more than one home, and many abuse the homestead exemption. These days, with the 1-2-3 tax caps, that homestead exemption is extremely valuable, especially on high end homes.
The Lake County recorder (?!?) had 5 homestead exemptions on rental properties. She claimed that they transferred when she bought the homes from homeowners.
If you think a lot of “regular” people abuse the homestead exemption, you should see how many people vote at old addresses after they’ve moved. The later happens a lot more than the former.
But, they aren’t usually running for office, so they’re under the radar. I didn’t say it was right, legal or moral. I just was stating an observation.
They may be under the radar, but that’s what makes calling what White did “voter fraud” so preposterous. I was in no way voter fraud. It is something else, and quite common (even if that doesn’t make it right, it does put it in perspective).
You want to see voter fraud, come to Lake County. I’ll show you precincts that were obviously voted up after the polls closed. THAT is voter fraud. I’ll show you the lingering effects of what ACORN was up to in 2008 (just reams and reams of bogus voter registrations crapping up our system, making it easier to vote up a voting machine).
It’s a sad fact. People cheat when they don’t think they aren’t going to suffer any negative consequences. And, it isn’t just in Lake County. And, it isn’t just on one side of the political fence.
There has been no report that Bayh has two homesteads. He has one on the Indianapolis condo but according to Bayh and the state party he does not have one on his D.C. home.
Can someone show me where in an article or document it says he has two?
And, it isn’t just in Lake County. And, it isn’t just on one side of the political fence.
You can say that, maybe that makes you feel better, but it’s not the case. Republicans are not stealing elections with bogus registrations and voting up voting machines.
Sorry, but I live in Republicanville. Some do the right thing. Some don’t. It’s simple human nature.
And, saying it doesn’t make me feel better. Sad all around.
Actually what Charlie White did is by definition voter fraud, he illegally cast a vote. What Acorn was accused of is registration fraud two completely different things. What the Republicans are trying to do in several states is voter suppression.
Ensuring that people can’t cast fraudulent votes is not voter suppression. I’m putting together a database where I can cross reference voter registration with BMV records, and will be kicking out voter registrations that don’t gibe with those records, for my local election board to sort out. That’s not voter suppression.