Thursday, March 31, 2011

Potential Problems for Mourdock?

Richard, we (may) have a problem.

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock may be violating a state law preventing him from raising campaign funds while the Indiana General Assembly is in session. Politico ran this article which stated that Mourdoch has been raising cash to the tune of $125,000 so far.

Unfortunately for Mourdock, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law in 2010 prohibiting state elected officials from raising funds during a long General Assembly legislative session, and bloggers in his own party are raising the questions about it.

Here is the part of the Indiana Code in question with the concerning section in bold.

IC 3-9-2-12
Prohibition on contributions to legislative and state candidates during long session of general assembly; prohibited period; exceptions
Sec. 12. (a) This section does not apply to:
(1) a member of the general assembly; or
(2) a candidate's committee of a member of the general assembly;
with respect to an office other than a legislative office or a state office to which the member seeks election.
(b) As used in this section, "affected person" refers to any of the following:
(1) An individual who holds a legislative office.
(2) A candidate for a legislative office.
(3) An individual who holds a state office.
(4) A candidate for a state office.

(c) As used in this section, "prohibited period" means the period:
(1) beginning on the day in January in each odd-numbered year the general assembly reconvenes under IC 2-2.1-1-2; and
(2) through the day the general assembly adjourns sine die in an odd-numbered year under IC 2-2.1-1-2.
(d) During the prohibited period, an affected person, an affected person's candidate's committee, and a legislative caucus committee may not do any of the following:
(1) Solicit campaign contributions.
(2) Accept campaign contributions.
(3) Conduct other fundraising activities. This subdivision does not prohibit an affected person from participating in party

Interesting. The law would seem to be pretty clear, and Mourdock would seem to be in violation. Then again, I'm not a lawyer. As you know, Senator Richard Lugar raised some eyebrows earlier this month when it came to light that the address he has used for his Indiana voter registration doesn't have a Richard G. Lugar living there anymore. That story disappeared quickly, but it's still clanging around the blogosphere.

Washington Street Politics, a local blog coming from a right-side-of-the-aisle perspective, broke this story here. I guess questions will be answered soon by Mourdock, but this could certainly be a big story if the Tea Party darling is forced to shell out some cash if it's found that he violated the law.

Washington Street Politics has an update. The FEC may supercede the Indiana law. Still, it doesn't change the fact that Mourdock might be blatantly violating the Indiana statute.

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