Political Notebook

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Kelty prosecutor deplores efforts of election board

Many supporters of failed GOP mayoral nominee Matt Kelty point to his clearing by the Allen County Election Board as proof the charges against him are politically motivated.

Kelty attorneys even argued the party-line 2-1 vote by the board should have prevented further investigation.

Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler, however, took the election board to task for doing a cursory look into Kelty’s finances. In his response to a motion to dismiss Kelty’s charges, Sigler, a Democrat, wrote that the Republicans asked only one question before the board voted to find no violation.

Sigler wrote that the board disregarded its power to question witnesses under oath and its power of subpoena.

“The board ignored its investigative powers and had an absolute minimum invested in examining the defendant (Kelty’s) violations,” he wrote.

By contrast, Sigler said the grand jury met for more than a week and interviewed 15 witnesses and examined thousands of pages of bank records, e-mail and other documents.

Andy Downs, Democratic member of the board, said all of Sigler’s assertions were accurate, noting he thought he asked several good questions that weren’t answered by Kelty or his attorney, Jim Bopp.

“We didn’t push the issue very far,” Downs said.

David Wright, Republican member of the board, said he still doesn’t believe Kelty broke campaign finance law and felt the board did everything it was supposed to do.

“What does he (Sigler) expect us to do?” he said. “It’s not a grand jury. We don’t go out and investigate.”

Wright said he read the statute several times and didn’t believe it was broken based on the evidence presented.

Naming names

While not exactly Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report, Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler’s response to a motion to dismiss the charges against Matt Kelty had plenty of new information. One of the most interesting bits was the listing of the names of those who were called to testify before the grand jury.

Kelty:It was no secret Kelty testified, and he was listed throughout the report.

Fred Rost:The man who financed the $150,000 loan apparently contradicted the testimony of Kelty, leading to the perjury charges.

William Bandor:Kelty’s campaign treasurer apparently testified about the political nature of the loan.

Stephen Jehl:Husband of Kelty’s campaign manager, Glenna Jehl, apparently testified that though he was a named party to a $10,000 loan to Kelty, he did not participate in the loan’s preparation or negotiation.

Don Willis:Helped finance a public opinion poll for Kelty during the primary and apparently testified about his role in paying for that and Kelty’s knowledge of it. He is quoted as calling Kelty’s overtures for money as “desperate.”

Marvin Hoot:A campaign volunteer, and husband of the infamous cake baker, apparently prepared Kelty’s finance reports and testified he only knew the facts about the loan as told to him by Kelty.

Ken Neumeister:Former president of the local GOP executive committee apparently testified about questioning Kelty about the loans in May.

Paula Hughes:Allen County councilwoman and member of the now-disbanded executive committee also apparently testified about Kelty’s meeting with the group in May.

Cathy Gallmeyer:Member of the now-disbanded executive committee also apparently testified about Kelty’s meeting with the group in May.

While these people represent only nine of the 15 people who testified to the grand jury, they are all who were listed in the report. Sigler has petitioned to have some of the grand jury testimony released publicly.

Climbing the ranks

When you do something often enough, do you get really good at it? If you like Sen. Richard Lugar’s viewpoint, you probably answer “yes.” Lugar inched up on the all-time voting list last week when he cast his 11,678th vote, becoming No. 15 among all senators, alive or dead.

Among senators currently in office, Lugar (in office since 1977) has voted more often than all but seven others. The “votingest” senator in U.S. history is West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, 90, who cast his 18,209th vote Tuesday.

Mitch’s book club

Move over Oprah, Gov. Mitch Daniels has his own books to recommend this holiday season.

In a campaign e-mail last week, Daniels listed the last 10 books in his reading stack for possible holiday gift ideas. Trust us when we say there are no murder mysteries or cheesy romance novels on this list:

“A Soldier of the Great War” by Mark Helprin

“Jesse James” by T.J. Stiles

“The Mind of St. Paul” by William Barclay

“Prophet of Innovation” by Thomas McCraw

“Mayflower” by Nathaniel Philbrick

“The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard

“Lee” by Douglas Southall Freeman

“Boomsday” by Christopher Buckley

“Opening Day” by Jonathan Eig

“Tehran Rising” by Ilan Berman

“Hep Remembered” by Terry Hutchens

“Indiana Basketball’s 20 Most Dominant Players” by Dave Krider

Sylvia Smith, The Journal Gazette’s Washington editor, contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook via e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net.

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