The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 1:00 am

Hill hauls in $222,000 for campaign

Attorney general touts his record

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Curtis Hill trumpeted a record amount of fundraising in the most recent campaign finance cycle.

But most of that money came from supporters outside the state – with a few well-known Fort Wayne businessmen also in the mix.

The mid-year report filed Monday shows Hill raised $222,000 between April 29 and the end of June – an indication he will seek reelection even though he has not made an official announcement. Hill was prohibited under state law from raising money during the legislative budget session.

“From challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare to fighting illegal immigration to defending the right to life, I have taken on the tough fights as Attorney General. It's been one of the highest honors of my life to serve, and I am just getting started,” he said in a press release. “I look forward to continuing to work to defend the rule of law, our conservative values and our way of life.”

Hill is facing discipline from the Indiana Supreme Court for allegedly groping several female state staffers and a lawmaker at a party last year after the end of the legislative session. A special prosecutor chose not to file criminal charges, but the disciplinary complaint accuses him of committing battery and engaging in “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Many GOP leaders urged Hill to resign, but he has refused, saying he did nothing wrong.

Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp has announced he will challenge Hill for the Republican nomination at next year's State Republican Convention.

Westercamp reported raising $56,000 since February but didn't officially enter the race until June.

About 5% of Westercamp's money came from outside Indiana – compared to 62% for Hill.

Rob Burgess, Hill's campaign manager, provided the following statement: “Attorney General Hill had a record fundraising period with the majority of individual donors coming from Indiana, and the rest supporting the attorney general after hearing his bold conservative message as a result of his national leadership role as vice chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association,” Burgess said in an email. “Attorney General Hill has never been the choice of the donor elite in Indianapolis, but he enjoys strong support from conservatives across Indiana.”

Of the $136,000 raised out of state, $20,000 came from the Republican Attorneys General Association and $25,000 from a Connecticut business executive running a private equity firm. Another $12,500 came from a New York radio show host.

Locally, several prominent businessmen are backing Hill. That includes Tom Kelley, president of Kelley Auto Real Estate and Kelley Automotive Group of Fort Wayne, who gave $5,000 in May. Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater Sound, also gave $5,000 in May.

Surack declined to comment, and Kelley did not return a call seeking comment.

As for expenditures, Hill spent more than $70,000 on political strategy consulting. And he directed $33,000 to fundraising consulting.

About $35,000 of Westercamp's contributions came during the period when Hill was not allowed to fundraise. The prohibition in state law also covers candidates for state office, but Westercamp had only an exploratory committee open at that time.

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