Indiana News

GOP Fires Back in Secretary of State Battle

Party argues White, Osili both made technical errors

9/30/2010

After a weeklong furor over Republican secretary of state nominee Charlie White's residency, the GOP is firing back.

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Republicans charge Democratic nominee Vop Osili violated several campaign-finance requirements, including the acceptance of nearly $1,200 in anonymous contributions.

Campaigns are required to report the names of all donors giving $100 or more. The five anonymous donations average $234.

State GOP spokesman Trevor Foughty readily concedes the violations are technical. But he notes Osili and Democratic party leaders have argued that since White is running to become the state's chief election officer, he should be held to a higher standard.

"We're willing to admit that everyone is human and everyone can make mistakes," Foughty says. "But if that's the argument that they'd like to have, they need to make sure that their own candidate lives by that same standard."

On Thursday, Osili joined state and Hamilton County Democratic leaders in demanding a special prosecutor to investigate White's failure to submit a primary-day affidavit that he'd changed his address. Osili says it could "possibly be considered not a big deal" if White weren't seeking the job of enforcing election laws.

Republicans charge more than two dozen donors on Osili's finance report are listed with either their occupations or addresses missing. Both are required for donations of $1,000 or more.

And the GOP argues Osili was required to drop the "exploratory" designation from his campaign committee after he won the Democratic nomination in June.

Osili says he stands by his finance report, but will amend it if necessary. He says there's no comparison between the technical violations on the report and what he calls "deliberate fraud" by White.

White resigned his Fishers Town Council seat last week, saying he'd just realized his move into a condo in March put him outside his district. At the time, Osili issued a written statement of concern about the mistake.

Osili says after reviewing White's explanations, he's joined party chairman Dan Parker and other Democrats in concluding White acted intentionally. He hand-delivered a letter to Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp raising the possibility of charges not only for White's vote in the primary, but for the $6,000-a-year salary White received as a councilman.

The prosecutor's office said earlier this week it would review the case, but would not be swayed by the political elements of the accompanying letters.

White is Hamilton County Republican Chairman, and Democrats have argued Leerkamp, a Republican not seeking reelection, should step aside for a special prosecutor for that reason.

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