Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Taking Shots at the Mots Over Bogus Durham Campaign Loan

Back on November 25, 2009, Ogden on Politics reported that GOP sheriff contender Tim Motsinger withdrew from the race due to his association with Tim Durham and decision to return the Durham money. The story concludes:

"I have never heard of a candidate dropping out because he or she lost a political contributor. One wonders whether there might be more to this story."

Oh, there is.

According to Motsinger's 2007 campaign finance report, on October 7 of that year, Durham reportedly loaned Motsinger $200,000. This we all know. BUT in Motsinger's final report, filed on December 4, 2009, he hand-wrote the following intriguing note:

"*-Campaign received a promise of a loan for the disclosed amount that was segregated into a separate business account not under the campaign’s control. The 2009 campaign finance report reflects the dissolution of that agreement and the releasing of the loan agreement."

Let that marinate for a second.

See the problem? A candidate is claiming that he has cash-on-hand of $250,000 back in 2007 and through 2009, when he never took possession of the funds from the $200,000 loan. Moreover, given Durham's shaky financial situation, one wonders if the money ever existed and if Motsinger withdrew to avoid explaining this scandalous episode.

Folks, if this is not an outright violation of campaign disclosure law, it certainly is a destruction of its spirit.

Think about the strategems one could construct. I have ten friends who I ask to loan me $50,000 each, and I tell them, "You don't actually have to give me the money, you just have to give me a loan agreement." Then I report I have a half-million dollars in my campaign, and based on this, I scare away all my opponents and in so doing, I actually do raise a real half-million. When it comes time to pay back the loans, I just "dissolve" the agreements.

In short, the entire Motsinger campaign was the political equivalent of a leveraged buyout, except the public found out the capital was non-existent, which is why Motsinger's takeover failed. Honestly, though I'm not surprised, I'm somehow stunned. If anybody finds the Marion County GOP's soul, can you return it to Tom John?

On the subject of campaign finance report manipulation, I got slammed about my Richard Mourdock story, in which I reported our state treasurer got his numbers wrong. An "Anonymous" tore into me today saying my numbers were wrong. Stay tuned, Anonymous...we'll see who has the last laugh on that one.



Anonymous said...

I think you do a FABULOUS job and only wish you would post more writeups...

As for Motsinger, how stupid is this. The truth is the feds will probably look at his checking account records to see if he ever received funds from Durham or not. Obviously he received something because he had a nice website and plenty of funds for travel to various meetings. He had a professionally-produced commercial. None of that was free.

The massive New Jersey corruption scandal is nothing compared to what is going on in Indianapolis.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Good catch. I've seen the candidates give each other campaign contributions - padding each other's reports. But, this should win some kind of award for sheer audacity.

Diana Vice said...

The scariest part is that this guy was seeking to become a top law enforcer! The corruption apparently began before he even ran for office. These guys are bold enough to pull stunts like this because before Fox 59 News vamped up their investigative news department, the politicians were all getting a free pass. It's what happens when there are no media watchdogs in town.

Erich said...

Scary is right.

Anonymous said...

Diane - It was the Indianapolis Business Journal that investigated and first reported on the Durham mess. The TV media jumped on things after the hard work was done.

Anonymous said...

Diane - It was the Indianapolis Business Journal that investigated and first reported on the Durham mess. The TV media jumped on things after the hard work was done.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I don't think giving each other campapign contributions pads committee reports. For every contribution there would be an expenditure. Maybe you could make an argument about timing.

Diana Vice said...

Thanks for the correction, Anon. Yes, the IBJ deserves due credit, and it isn't the first time they've scooped the MSM. I'm just glad to see FOX59 ramping up their investigative reporting because seeing is believing.