Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Massa Marks Up Brizzi, Shows Democrats How It's Done

Last Friday, I wrote this:

...the Brizzi reign has reached such cataclysmically embarrassing proportions, I keep expecting an avalanche of high-ranking Republicans to ask publicly for Brizzi's resignation in concert. But nobody asks. Not Tom John, not Mark Massa, not Murray Clark, and not Governor Daniels. I can only conclude by their complete silence that they are okay with all of this.

Five days later (a/k/a "this morning" for the mathematically-challenged among us), Massa called for Brizzi's resignation, and he was joined shortly thereafter by Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John, to both their credit.

From my good friend, Jon Easter, at Indydemocrat:

Little did we know that the first to break the silence on the issue would be the guy trying to replace him from HIS OWN PARTY, Mark Massa.

Can I ask my own party and its candidates a gentle question?

What in the world were you waiting for?!?

Why were you all acting like you needed the Republicans to make it safe in the political water? Was there any doubt that the Brizzi administration was charting a path strewn with public confidence-crushing scandals?

To her credit, Democratic mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy today asked Mayor Ballard to show leadership and ask for Brizzi's resignation. (Technically, Hizzoner would be joining others again after-the-fact, but we'll take his "leadership" in whatever form we can get it).

Kennedy writes:

On election night in 2007, as television stations and thousands of viewers at home looked on, Greg Ballard chose one person to introduce him as the next mayor: Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.

The rule of law is the basis of our system. If we lose confidence in the very person who is supposed to prosecute our laws, then our community's respect for the rule of law is deeply compromised. We are at a dangerous moment in the history of our city and we must take public corruption seriously.

Mayor Ballard is uniquely positioned to influence Brizzi given the close relationship described above. Indeed, as Marion County’s top Republican, and Indianapolis' top elected official, Ballard has both the ability and the duty to personally ask Brizzi to resign.

Without delay, Ballard should make every effort to end the reign of unethical and corrupt behavior in positions of public trust.

Now, some Demos have retorted that if Brizzi resigns, Governor Daniels gets to appoint his predecessor! You know he'd pick Massa, his former chief-of-staff, and he'd have eight months as an incumbent and all the perks of the office.

Folks, Democrats calling for Brizzi's resignation first wouldn't have made him leave, it would have emboldened him while giving all the Dems the PR benefit of the moral highground. Then Republicans would have had a harder time making the call themselves because they'd be following Democrats' lead. It could have been a win, win, win.

Instead, Republicans can say they lead the charge to clean up their own house while a lot of Democrats watched from the sideline. Are they wrong?

My kingdom for some Democratic media tacticians.



Blog Admin said...

I read over at the IBJ (I think) that if Brizzi resigns, the county GOP appoints someone. If he is forcefully removed from office, then the governor appoints someone.

i could be wrong, or mixing up a news article with a blog post comment, but considering impeachments are so rare, it'd be interesting to see it play it.

erin said...

Int truth, my view of this is much less political strategy and more good governance. Everyone should have demanded Brizzi resign. The reporting by the IBJ should have been enough. It is totally unacceptable that the Prosecutor would subvert justice for personal reasons. It is really frightening.

To me, the Prosecutor is different from most other elected positions. He/she advocates to take away people's liberty. Corruption when people's liberty is at stake and victims' ability to receive justice is on the line should not be tolerated at all.

Whatever political advantage there is to Brizzi remaining in office or disadvantage to Massa being an "incumbent" pales in comparison to the damage that has been and is being done.

I guess I view this less as a Democrat and more as a resident of Indianapolis and the sister of an IMPD police officer. What the IBJ reported last week undermines not just our court system, but also law enforcement. A prosecutor who intervenes to protect his friends and business associates and their criminal clients needs to be gone immediately. A prosecutor who releases a murderer because of campaign contributions and wealthy connections needs to be told to resign by every person in this county- regardless of party.

This shouldn't be political- its beyond that.

Terry Burns said...

If Brizzi resigns, GOP precinct committeemen pick his replacement. Guess who that would be?

Greg Bowes said...

I have wondered since December 2006 when I filed a disciplinary complaint against Brizzi why he should be allowed to stay in office. The complaint can be seen at The disciplinary commission rejected that complaint, but has one pending now.
Greg Bowes

Marycatherine Barton said...

So far the only candidate for Marion County Prosecutor who is looking good, is Mark Massa, thanks to his public condemnation of Brizzi's reported misconduct as our elected prosecutor, and attorney Massa's planned code of ethics for our Prosecutor's Office. We are still waiting for the others to make a statement about what media has brought to the attention of the citizens of Marion County.

Paul K. Ogden said...

IS, I think a vacancy is a vacancy is a vacancy. I don't know how you "forcefully remove" an elected would almost certainly have to be a resignation. I guess the Disciplinary Commission and Supreme Court could take away his license, which would then make him ineligible to be prosecutor. A vacancy would be filled the samw way regardless, and my belief is that the position is filled by appointment of the Governor not a vacancy PC election.

Paul K. Ogden said...

You say:

"Folks, Democrats calling for Brizzi's resignation first wouldn't have made him leave, it would have emboldened him while giving all the Dems the PR benefit of the moral highground. Then Republicans would have had a harder time making the call themselves because they'd be following Democrats' lead. It could have been a win, win, win."

That's first rate political analysis. You are exactly correct on all scores. The D's dropped the ball on this one. Massa did the only thing he could do and he did it. I'll have to give the first round to Massa because the D fighter(s) failed to get in the ring.

Chris Worden said...


My point was not to say that politics should even trump good governance, and, in truth, Brizzi should resign regardless of the consequences to Dems. But on the rare occasion where the two coincide so perfectly, there's absolutely no reason not to pounce.

erin said...

Oh, I agree with that Chris. From a purely political standpoint, dems should have done this along time ago. I mean, we agree with Massa, right?

And, the fact is we weren't out demanding Brizzi resign immediately. Of course, it is pretty easy to point out the political rationale as to why we weren't. That kind of makes any political undertones of Massa moot given that we could be accused of being just as self-serving in wanting Brizzi around as long as possible.

Kudos to Greg for his complaint. We need/ed more of that from every concerned resident in this county.

Anonymous said...

Erin spoke from the perspective of the sister of an IMPD officer. What about the individuals who's lives Carl Brizzi and his office policies effect? This office is responsible for "protecting" the community to the community's benefit, not to the benefit of Carl Brizzi. Lets not forget that Indiana is #1 in the rate of increase of incarceration, and Marion County sends more individuals (disproportionately minorities)to prison than all other 92 counties.(Stats on IDOC Website) Not to mention per the PEW Report titled, "1 in 31" which is the national average of adults involved in some form of the criminal justice system be it probation, parole, county jails, or state prisons Indiana's rate is 1 in 26. How moral is it for someone ethically corrupt to send another person to prison for 20 years, or to place someone already in financial crisis on probation subjecting them to fees and even more financial hardship with the threat of incarceration, when the very office accusing you is guilty of more heinous crimes without consequence. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying the guilty should not suffer the consequences of their crime, I just believe (sometimes blindly) there should be some ethics and equality in justice. The lives of PEOPLE and their families hang in the balance. How do we trully know where the rainbow ends? Do we wait until some unethical or even illegal action Brizzi has committed comes to light which allows all of the cases he has had direct connection with to come into question? I definitely believe in innocent until proven guilty, but at what expense? Are we willing to risk the safety of the community?

Anonymous said...

In case anyone is interested, this is the house in California Tim Durham is hiding out in, and probably (no proof) where Carl Brizzi is visiting.

Disgusting way to waste and blow more of the Ponzi victims life savings. Does Brizzi have no shame to be associated and accept money from scum of the earth who prey on elderly victims?

Jon E. Easter said...

My opinion is quite different than the way you characterized my quote from the blog. I think that if Terry Curry or Greg Bowes had come out and said, "Carl resign." It would have rung with the same political tone as Massa's stunt.

I know that my opinion isn't popular, but it's what I think. Regardless, Curry and Bowes still have to get through the primary before they turn to Massa or Brizzi's political ghost.

Everyone that's been within earshot of Curry or Bowes know they've been touting the perceived corruption of the Prosecutor's Office since the beginning of the race.

They aren't running against Carl Brizzi in the General Election. If he stays or goes, it has no effect on the November 2010 race...unless Brizzi resigns and Massa replaces him in the office.

Anonymous said...

This is a rare occasion but I think Terry Burns is incorrect. If Brizzi resigns then the governor not the GOP precinct committeepersons selects the replacement. In any case, the same person would be selected. I agree with Jon Easter. The GOP is in a circular firing squad and we should just let them do the dirty deed. Any attempts by Dems would look like more partisan politics and the public is fed up with that now......I think in the whole mess that Massa is going to be painted with the Brizzi brush and it won't matter. I have read that if Brizzi resigns that he will not receive his pension. If that is true, there will be no resignation.