Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Makes Pay-To-Play?

I noted in my last blog post that while some of the PACs contributing to the candidates have names that tell you who is behind that PAC, some do not.

Today we look at the PAC named Citizens for Excellence In Government.  In the last two years this PAC has given $34,000 to the Kennedy campaign and $15,000 to the Ballard Campaign.  These figures are from the PAC campaign finance filings with the State of Indiana, as well as contributions reported by the candidates and posted on the Election Board website through yesterday.

Turns out there have been two primary contributors to Citizens for Excellence in Government PAC in the last couple of years. One is an individual, Alex Oak, and the other is LC Investors, LLC.   State PAC finance records posted online go only up to the 2011 pre-primary report.  Posted records show that during all of 2010 and up through 4/8 of 2011, the PAC took in $64,200 in contributions.  Oak gave $31,000 of that and LC Investors, LLC, gave $25,000.  I do not have access to the donors of record from 4/8/11 through yesterday, as the 2011 pre-election campaign finance report for the PAC has not yet been posted on the Secretary of State's website.

But, you get the picture.  A great deal of money has flowed to the two campaigns through this PAC that has two main contributors.

So, who are the contributors?

Alex Oak is Chairman, CEO, and Partner at Paul I. Cripe, Inc., d/b/a Cripe Architects + Engineers.  There is surprisingly little information about LC Investors, LLC.  Their registered agent is Stephen W. Lee who is a partner at Barnes and Thornburg who specializes in Real Estate Development.  There is one news story from the IBJ wherein LC Investors, LLC, is mentioned as a creditor in the bankruptcy of Flaherty & Collins Properties.

A review of Paul I. Cripe, Inc., in the City's contract database reveals 8 contracts - two originating in the Peterson administration and the rest in the Ballard administration.  Contract 1354 originated in 2005 and was for $25,000.  Contract 1425 originated in 2007 for $2.1 million.  That was extended in 2009, 2010, and 2011, adding $668,880 to the original amount. Contracts 8033, 8108, 8403, and 8284 originated in 2010 for a grand total that year of $691,143.74.  Contracts 9314 and 9115 have been inked down so far this year for a total this year of $406,826.  Grand total of two contracts under Peterson was $2,125,000.  Grand total of 6 contracts plus three extensions of a Peterson contract under Ballard was $1,766,849.74.

Did Oak contribute to this PAC to further the cause of 'excellence in government'?  Who knows.  Were any of these contracts and donations used in Kennedy's supposed calculation of pay-to-play schemes by Ballard?  Who knows.  That list has not been revealed beyond the Indy Star.  A review by the Star did find that Kennedy's claims were overblown (see my blog entry "Is the Kennedy Campaign in Trouble?")

So, if these contracts are extended in a Kennedy administration, or if new contracts are awarded to Paul I. Cripe, Inc., will that be considered by the Kennedy camp to be pay-to-play politics?

4 comments:

Indy Student said...

Pat, listening to 1310WTLC-AM I heard a radio ad with the voice of a local pastor from a black church (I don't remember which pastor) who talked about two early voting busing events that were to take place. He gave out the time, date of them, and a phone number. At the end of the ad, it said "Paid for by Citizens for Excellene in Government"

I have a few people who I trust describe the PAC as a PAC for several black churches in the area. Doing a Google search, I found a site that in 2008 they gave money to Daniels' campaign.

Had Enough Indy? said...

IS - as I noted, the pre-election campaign finance report for the PAC is not yet posted on the State's website. I'll continue to monitor it and post that information once it appears.

Otherwise -- the available records show that this PAC has given to other candidates, PACs, and Parties, throughout the state, but I am not seeing any donations to Churches or other regular not-for-profits.

Yes, they gave to Aiming Higher PAC, a Daniels PAC.

In 2008 the PAC gave $5000 each to Hoosiers for Jill Committee and Mitch for Governor.

The PAC is definitely an equal opportunity donor.

Anonymous said...

Pat:

Potentially dumb question- When is there NOT "pay to play" by either major party, for any office that has responsibility to provide government services and associated jobs?

When you or I get carpentry done on the house or shop for a tv, we look for recomendations, references, pricing, convenience in getting it done, etc. As corrupt as I think the 50-yr parking deal and Broad Ripple garage are, I think they were baubles won from the election, the spoils of war or whatever you want to call it.

I don't think it's supposed to be this way. I think the Mayor, or President, or whoever are supposed to do what's right for our city or country, not what is appears to ensure reelection. It may be a civic undertaking that might be done in-house versus privatized. It certainly should include choosing a vendor based on track record and quality, versus their political affiliation. I think it requires what we used to be call "statesmanship".

Do you think Melina Kennedy more capable of genuine statesmanship than Greg Ballard? She will be an improvement and less prone to corruption, despite being part of an arguably corrupt & unethical county party headed by Ed Treacy? Her association with Baker & Daniels will nonetheless be overlooked & decisions made on behalf of what's best for the taxpayer, versus the existent what's-best-for-Barnes & Thornburg era? What assures us of that?

I'm voting Chris Bowen, so I have zero faith in the two local parties or their candidates. But, I've been wrong and see you as capable of looking at both sides of an issue. What do you think?

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon - I am with you. There should be no pay to play - no contracts awarded because of past or promised funds being deposited in campaign or party coffers.

And, as voters, I too believe we have a responsibility to continue to push forward with candidates who will do what is best for our city, country, even 'lowly' school districts - not what is best for themselves or their buddies.

As for Kennedy - I think she has already exhibited that she will gladly embrace pay-to-play deals. One she touts as an accomplishment while the head of economic development under Peterson is the Simon building. That must be the quintessential definition of pay to play. The Simons got the most prime of all downtown real estate, a sweetheart deal on parking, and further tax incentives. It was quite controversial at the time, in addition to those factors, because they were given city-owned open space/green space to build on.

This is a difficult election for voters who want their vote to improve government in our city and who actually benefits from it.

Thanks for being one of those voters who is trying to sort the facts from the fiction that is passing for electioneering in this Mayor's race.