Just how serious is Gov. Mitch Daniels about getting a Republican majority in the House for his final two years in office?
Serious enough to be raising a boatload of cash.
The governors Aiming Higher Political Action Committee has an impressive $728,000 on hand, according to the most recent campaign finance report filed April 16.
And more is coming.
On Tuesday, Daniels will hold another Aiming Higher fundraiser that could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those who choose to be a host of the event must pay $10,000 for signage and a table of eight. And already 39 hosts have signed on.
Plus there will be event sponsors and individual tickets sold.
At the end of the most recent legislative session – when Daniels passed just a few of his legislative agenda items – he talked about the need to remove Democrats from power in the Indiana House.
The taxpayers would be a lot safer if we were able to work with a different General Assembly, he said, even calling House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, an expensive date.
Daniels has also been dumping campaign cash from his own war chest to the Indiana Republican Party – at least $215,000 in 2009 alone.
The Allen County commissioners learned – if they didnt already know – that the best way to attract a crowd to a groundbreaking is to have it just weeks before an election.
The commissioners conducted the groundbreaking ceremony for the Maplecrest Road extension last week and dozens of politicos showed up hoping to get noticed. This included state legislators, county officials and even unelected candidates.
Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, was there and made sure to put in a plug for Republican Senate candidate Dan Coats while speaking to the crowd. Coats previously wore a Souder badge at a local Republican dinner – although he took it off while giving a television interview.
In fact, the one noticeably absent politico – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry – had an excuse. He isnt up for re-election until next year.
Tax humor at best
Someone over at the Indiana Department of Revenue has a penchant for the amusing.
A recent memo posted on the state website acknowledges an error in a 2009 tax booklet regarding unemployment compensation.
But this is how the memo starts:
You know the nightmare – youre running and running, but you just cant quite seem to get away, and the big, green monster chasing you opens its huge mouth, baring its razor-sharp teeth, intent on taking a chunk out of your hide
Well, thats kind of how it feels when we make a mistake in developing one of our tax booklets.
And we did recently.
The memo goes on to acknowledge that reporting unemployment compensation on your tax return is a real bummer and it ends with, sweet dreams.
Paying the bills
A third of every campaign dollar Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, received for his 2010 re-election campaign through April 1 has been spent on legal fees, according to reports he filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Viscloskys campaign has paid nearly $210,000 to lawyers representing himself and two former staff members against allegations that Visclosky traded government contracts for campaign donations.
The House ethics committee cleared Visclosky. According to media reports, the Justice Department is still investigating.
Journal Gazette Washington Editor Sylvia A. Smith contributed to this column.