Monday, August 9, 2010

Finance Frenzy

In Indiana's 9th District, Todd Young is calling for Baron Hill to return money he received from the campaign committee of embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York. Rangel is currently under fire for potential ethics violations and could be expelled from the House if he's found to have violated the rules of the body.

Here's the e-mail alert from Young's campaign.

Republican Congressional candidate Todd Young today challenged his Democratic opponent, Baron Hill, to return the $26,000 in campaign contributions he reportedly has received from Charlie Rangel, the long-time New York Democratic congressman formally charged with 13 serious ethics violations.

“It is now clear,” said Young, “from the nature of these allegations that members of Congress who accepted campaign contributions from Mr. Rangel should immediately return them and sever all connections with the congressman.”

According to press reports, Hill refuses to return a total of $26,000 from Rangel’s campaign funds. Rangel is charged with failing to report rental income on vacation property in the Dominican Republic as well as more than $600,000 worth of assets on his financial disclosure statements...

Rangel, whose charges also include improper use of congressional staff and accepting favors and donations that may have influenced his votes in Congress, also gave money to Indiana Reps Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth. Both have donated the funds to charity.

Hill, however, refuses to return Rangel’s donation.

“These are very serious violations of the public trust, during a time when trust in Washington is already at a historic low.” Young said. “If Mr. Hill is not going to return this money, he owes an explanation to his constituents. Short of this, Hoosiers can only assume he is complicit in Rangel’s corruption.”

So, Young's thinking...I got Baron on this one. He believes Hill is vulnerable on this issue, and, he is. However, it's a quick and easy political pivot for Hill, all thanks to Tim Durham.

Hill could call on Young to advocate for his own Indiana Republican Party friends to follow the recommendations of a bankruptcy trustee and return the money that was donated to the party by the disgraced financier. WRTV, Channel 6, points out that Durham spent about $1 million of Fair Finance's money on political contributions. A bankruptcy trustee suggested that politicians and others that took money from Durham be directed to return it.

Of course, Governor Daniels took money from Durham ($195K), Carl Brizzi took money from Durham ($225K), and the Indiana Republican Party took, according to WRTV, about $185K from Durham. So, if the Party or Daniels is supporting Young, then the youngster should be calling for those folks to come clean and return it or refuse from this day to accept party money until they have returned the cash. It's only fair.

Incidentally, Brad Ellsworth is washing his hands of the Rangel cash he took starting in 2005. Respectable move by Ellsworth, but I don't begrudge Hill or anyone else for holding on to it. Rangel is innocent until proven guilty, and he's only been charged, so far. Same with Durham, and he hasn't even been charged with anything, yet. Still it doesn't stop Hill from raising the stink and the point.

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