Release Regarding Possible Joe Hogsett Hatch Act Violations
Posted August 13, 2014
HOGSETT MAYORAL RUN SPARKS QUESTIONS ON HATCH ACT VIOLATIONS
INDIANAPOLIS –Today, Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker questioned if Joe Hogsett violated the Hatch Act by participating in partisan political activity while serving as U.S. Attorney.
The Hatch Act is a United States federal law that prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of that branch, from engaging in partisan political activity.
“The manner in which Joe Hogsett has handled his transition from the U.S. Attorney’s office is troubling,” said Walker. “To resign from the U.S. Attorney’s office and announce a campaign for political office within three days is unprecedented. I cannot think of a past U.S. Attorney in this state who has done something that so blatantly indicates political activity while in that position. There appears to have been political coordination between Hogsett and multiple parties. This activity is ethically questionable at best and potentially illegal.”
Walker concluded, “The following are just a few of many examples that highlight the potential violations of federal law by Hogsett. The over-arching question is simple: Did Joe Hogsett violate federal law by engaging in political activity while he was the U.S. Attorney? There is a mountain of evidence to suggest that he did.”
- August 15, 2012: Indianapolis media reported that upon taking office as U.S. Attorney, Hogsett began a taxpayer funded, multi-media PR blitz which appeared to political observers as a prelude to yet another bid for elective office. In an interview as a sitting U.S. Attorney, Hogsett admitted, “I’ve always been politically motivated,” even though the Hatch Act prohibits most political activity on the part of federal employees.
(source: Indianapolis Star, August 15, 2012. http://www.mainjustice.com/2012/08/15/u-s-attorney-looking-to-indianapolis-mayor-seat/)
HOW MUCH OF THIS TAXPAYER FUNDED SELF-PROMOTION WAS INDEED AUTHORIZED BY HOGSETT TO FURTHER HIS OWN POLITICAL AMBITIONS?
- January 9, 2014: Hogsett announced to a political columnist that he would not run for Mayor of Indianapolis, but by May, a political columnist referenced Democrats indicating he might renege on his pledge, strongly suggesting that some level of conferring and strategizing had taken place. “…U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett decided in January not to run for the job (a decision Democrats say is not as certain today as it was a few months ago).”
WITH WHICH DEMOCRATS DID HOGSETT DISCUSS A POSSIBLE MAYORAL BID WHILE HE WAS STILL U.S. ATTORNEY?
- June 3, 2014: Hogsett announced he would convene a September summit of DoJ officials in Indianapolis. (source: http://www.ibj.com/indianapolis-to-host-national-anti-violence-summit/PARAMS/article/47955)
HAD HOGSETT ALREADY DECIDED HE WOULD RUN FOR MAYOR OF INDIANAPOLIS PRIOR TO THIS WELL-PUBLICIZED DECISION TO SUMMON DOZENS OF FEDERAL OFFICIALS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY TO INDIANAPOLIS?
IF SO, DOES THIS MEAN HE USED DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MONEY TO BOLSTER HIS POLITICAL AMBITIONS? IF NOT, WHY DOES HE FEEL NO OBLIGATION TO REMAIN AS U.S. ATTORNEY SO HE CAN WORK WITH THESE OFFICIALS WHEN THEY ARRIVE AND TO CONTINUE TO CARRY OUT THE DUTIES THAT HE PLEDGED TO FOCUS ON?
- July 8, 2014: Six days prior to Hogsett’s resignation announcement, former state Democratic chairman and potential candidate for Mayor Dan Parker issued a statement which appeared to be an endorsement of Hogsett. “…Parker says he concluded the next mayor needs public safety experience he doesn’t have.” “He says he’d still prefer to see U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett run.”
DID HOGSETT CONTACT, OR DIRECT SOMEONE TO CONTACT PARKER TO DISCUSS HIS CANDIDACY WHILE HE WAS STILL U.S. ATTORNEY?
- July 14, 2014: The same day Hogsett announced his planned resignation, Washington DC area resident and Hogsett ally Evan Bayh, in what appears to be a coordinated effort, travelled to Indianapolis and called an “impromptu” news conference, during which he promoted a Hogsett candidacy.
WAS BAYH’S PRESENCE THAT DAY PURELY COINCIDENTAL, OR HAD BOTH MEN DISCUSSED HOGSETT’S CANDIDACY WHILE HOGSETT WAS STILL SERVING AS U.S. ATTORNEY?
DID HOGSETT PERSONALLY DISCUSS, OR DIRECT SOMEONE TO DISCUSS WITH BAYH HOW TO ADDRESS QUESTIONS REGARDING HIS POTENTIAL CANDIDACY?
- July 14, 2014: At the aforementioned press conference, “Bayh said he had spoken with Hogsett ‘recently,’ but said he planned to keep their conversations private. However, if Hogsett were to run for mayor, Bayh said he would eagerly support him, both by campaigning and through campaign donations.”
DID THE “PRIVATE” CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN HOGSETT AND BAYH INCLUDE HOGSETT’S SOLICITATION OF BAYH’S SUPPORT, GENERAL OR FINANCIAL, FOR HIS CANDIDACY WHILE HE WAS STILL SERVING AS U.S. ATTORNEY?
- July 14, 2014: The same day Hogsett announced his planned resignation, Hogsett called Frank Short, a current candidate for Mayor, on the day he was announcing his resignation to let him know he was resigning. Short said, “A couple of weeks ago, he said he might be exploring other options so, no, it was not a surprise.”
WHAT “OPTIONS” DID HOGSETT DISCUSS WITH FRANK SHORT?
DID HOGSETT DISCUSS HIS CANDIDACY WITH FRANK SHORT WHILE HE WAS STILL U.S. ATTORNEY?
DID HOGSETT CONTACT, OR DIRECT SOMEONE TO CONTACT ED DELANEY TO DISCUSS HIS RESIGNATION ANNOUNCEMENT AND CANDIDACY WHILE HE WAS STILL U.S. ATTORNEY?
- July 15, 2014: A day after Hogsett’s resignation announcement, a coordinated, multi-prong media blitz to “draft” him for mayor was initiated by his friends.
DID HOGSETT DIRECT, DISCUSS, OR COORDINATE POTENTIAL CONTENT OR CREATION OF THIS “DRAFT” MOVEMENT WHILE HE WAS STILL U.S. ATTORNEY?
- July 28, 2014: Hogsett announced he would be joining Bose, McKinney & Evans as a Partner after he leaves the U.S. Attorney’s office.
SINCE HOGSETT WILL CLEARLY BE SPENDING A MAJOR PORTION OF HIS “WORK” HOURS CAMPAIGNING, DID HOGSETT DISCLOSE HIS INTENTION TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE WHEN SEEKING EMPLOYMENT AND DISCUSSING THE TERMS OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE DECISION MAKERS AT BOSE, MCKINNEY & EVANS PRIOR TO LEAVING THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE?
DID HOGSETT DISCUSS HIS CANDIDACY WITH THE OTHER LAW FIRMS HE CONSIDERED?
- July 30, 2014: Mayor Greg Ballard announced a plan to attack crime and in his speech, Ballard stated, “We need local and federal prosecutors, judges and the state to do a better job identifying the worst of the worst. They need to use the tools they have to keep violent offenders locked up longer, like not dropping gun charges.”
July 31, 2014: On his last day as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Hogsett sent out at least two press releases from the U.S. Attorney’s office that contained statements clearly aimed at Mayor Ballard’s call for tougher sentences. The U.S. Attorney’s office press releases quoted Hogsett as saying, “Those who call for longer sentences for the “worst of the worst” have not been paying attention to what the United States Attorney’s Office has been doing for three years as part of our Violent Crime Initiative” and “But it also shows that many in our community who call for longer sentences for criminal activity aren’t paying attention to what we do in the United States Attorney’s Office.”
DOES USING THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, EQUIPMENT AND STAFF TO SEND OUT POLITICAL STATEMENTS AIMED AT YOUR POLITICAL OPPONENT VIOLATE THE HATCH ACT OR OTHER RULES REGARDING POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY THE U.S. ATTORNEY?
- On August 4, 2014, just three days after his resignation as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Hogsett declared that he was creating an exploratory committee in his campaign to run for Mayor of Indianapolis in 2015. Local media reported that Hogsett plans to hire Thomas Cook to be his campaign manager. Cook previously served in the communications department for Hogsett in the U.S. Attorney’s office. He lists his role as: “reported directly to the United States Attorney (Hogsett) as advisor and senior strategist on messaging and media relations in sixty county district.”
(sources: http://blogs.wishtv.com/2014/08/04/hogsett-will-file-for-mayor/ , https://www.linkedin.com/pub/thomas-cook/6/92/382 and http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/04/source-hogsett-form-exploratory-committee-mayor/13575113/)
DID HOGSETT DISCUSS HIS CANDIDACY WITH COOK, OR ANY OTHER ASSOCIATES, FORMER OR PROSPECTIVE STAFF, IN AN EFFORT TO SOLICIT THEM TO BEGIN PLANNING AND/OR ACTING ON HIS BEHALF WHILE HE WAS U.S. ATTORNEY?
Letter to the Editor from Indystar
Posted August 04, 2014
Ballard’s plan on crime is sensible
Mayor Greg Ballard’s recently announced initiative to address crime is the kind of sensible plan we’ve grown to expect from our solutions-oriented mayor. Mayor Ballard is taking a three-pronged approach to this complex problem: prevention, protection and punishment.
His protection initiative would increase the number of police by 281 officers. But as Mayor Ballard indicated IMPD can’t keep arresting and re-arresting the same people and expect a different result. As part of his punishment plank, the mayor will advocate for 20-year mandatory sentences for criminals who use guns.
Mayor Ballard is also concentrating on initiatives that will help prevent crime. He is calling for a change in the curfew for 15- to 17-year-olds from 1a.m. to 11 p.m. and mentoring for students who been suspended, expelled or drop out from school.
Finally the mayor is calling for preschool vouchers for families in need. The program would be operated in partnership with the United Way. Reaching out to high-risk children early will set them on a positive path.
The mayor’s initiatives aren’t free, but he has established a reasonable and sensible way to pay for them. These programs would be funded by a small increase in the local income tax and the elimination of the local homestead tax credit. It’s important to note that the $45,000 state tax credit will remain in place. The impact on the average family is a little over $7 a month.
No one likes tax increases, but Mayor Ballard has been a good steward of our tax dollars, and that is why I support his plan to address crime and violence and his plans on how to fund it.”