Political Notebook

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Line crossed in promoting state?

Daniels pitches to Ohio family of crash victim

Are there any lengths to which Gov. Mitch Daniels won’t go to sell Indiana?

A ceremonial bill signing last week brought perhaps one of the more uncomfortable sales pitches.

The short event was punctuated by tears and emotion as family and friends of an Ohio woman who was killed in Allen County gathered to watch Daniels sign a bill spurred by her case.

Daniels initially welcomed the group with polite and comforting words.

But when he rose from his desk after the signing, he told the Ohioans: “Anytime you all want to move to Indiana, lower your taxes, you’re welcome.”

Shooting from hip

Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke returned to Comedy Central last week, this time appearing on “The Daily Show” in his role as president of the Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Unlike his interview on “The Colbert Report,” Helmke was not the focus of the segment but rather commented on a story portraying a man from Virginia who carried a gun in public at all times. The show made a parody comparison between the lifestyle of people who open-carry to that of homosexuals.

“I think anyone who is carrying a Colt .45 on their hip constantly in public is not a normal human being,” Helmke said, playing it completely straight. “I would feel a lot more comfortable if the gun owners and the people who love their guns kept that behind closed doors.”

When he was told it’s 2010 and he needs to step into the present and respect such people, Helmke said, “It’s 2010, it’s not 1870. People that carry guns around in public are living in some fantasy world, and they are endangering the rest of us.”

The clip can be found on the Brady Campaign’s Facebook page.

Where the money is

Just in time for the crucial weeks before the May 4 primary election, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita unveiled an upgrade of the state’s online campaign finance database and research tool.

The system now offers expanded capabilities for voters, media and politicos of all stripes.

The site now offers more ways to download data; financial histories of individual candidates; e-mail addresses for committee treasurers; and additional data, including contribution and expense totals for all candidates in a specific statewide political race.

“Voters and taxpayers want more transparency in the elections process, and this site delivers it,” Rokita said.

“It’s a simple and intuitive tool voters can use to be better informed about the choices before them – by finding out who is backing candidates and how the money they raise is being spent.”

The updated site is found at www.campaignfinance.in.gov.

Campaign finance reports for federal races are available from the Federal Election Commission online at www.fec.gov, and reports for local races can be obtained from the office of each county’s clerk.

Political football

Financial backers of Rep. Steve Buyer, R-4th, who announced at the end of January that he wouldn’t run for re-election after 18 years in Congress, bought him a little retirement present: $1,187 worth of tickets to the Indianapolis Colts.

According to the financial report his campaign filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, Buyer was reimbursed for the tickets on Feb. 19, three weeks after announcing he’d bow out at the end of the year.

Its not in the mail

Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, has squashed a post-session newsletter that was set to go out soon after his primary opponent questioned the taxpayer-funded mailing.

Though the newsletter and a recent jobs update card are acceptable under Indiana House rules, Leonard said he told staffers to wait until after the primary to send more constituent mail pieces.

“It’s to avoid any misperception by voters,” Leonard said.

Journal Gazette Washington Editor Sylvia A. Smith contributed to this report.

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net.

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