Friday, February 5, 2010

The Mourdock Riddle is Solved

Today I received the following message from Co-Director, Brad King, of the Indiana Election Division:

Thank you for your message, and the attached letter concerning the 2009 annual campaign finance report filed by Hoosiers for Richard Mourdock.

Pam [Potesta, the Democratic Co-Director] and I researched the matter you referred to, and identified a software error in the program that the Election Division uses to publish electronic filings from received from certain campaign finance committees.

Specifically, the campaign committees (including Hoosiers for Richard Mourdock) who use SalesForce (a campaign finance software program marketed by a private vendor) submit their reports to the Election Division by electronic filing. The financial information on the report's Summary Sheet sets forth the information as submitted by the committee.

However, due to what can best be described as a "translation error", the Election Division's database is not correctly publishing the information on the Summary Sheet as submitted by the SalesForce program.

This error is the responsibility of the Election Division, not that of the committee or SalesForce. Since the electronic file submitted by the committee was accurate, there was no need for an amendment to be filed by the committee.

Instead, the campaign finance staff person who identified the publication error proceeded to correct it. [Ed note - No doubt that this publication error was "identified" after someone called them after reading my blog.] We try to make certain that the information presented on the Campaign Finance website is accurate, but when errors on our part are identified, we act as promptly as possible to correct them.

We have begun a significant upgrade to the Campaign Finance website, which we plan to implement later this year, that will address this "translation error" problem, as well as making the site more user-friendly.

I apologize for this error, and for any problems you experienced from relying on the erroneous information.

Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention.

In other words, Richard Mourdock's report was accurate, and I was right that the on-line report was inaccurate and had been changed.

The Mourdock Committee has my apology. To its credit, the Division corrected the error the next day. But sources with some other statewide candidates have said this is nothing new, which prompts me to ask, "If you knew bad intel was going out, wouldn't you double-check it as a matter of course?" Silly me expecting government information to be reliable. Come on, T-Ro (Todd Rokita)...why are you making your people wait to upgrade later in the year on something that's obviously broken now?


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