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Ethics complaint filed against Daniels

A Democratic lawmaker known to butt heads with Gov. Mitch Daniels on Wednesday filed an ethics complaint surrounding his upcoming job as president of Purdue University.

Jane Jankowski, press secretary for the governor, called the complaint "partisan nonsense."

Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary -- who once famously referred to Daniels as "lord shorty" -- questioned two things about Daniels' presidential transition, which will become official in January.

First was the use of state employees and resources to send out a Sept. 4 statement criticizing expensive renovations to the Purdue president's office.

The statement was unrelated to state business and was sent out to reporters by his communication staff on state letterhead.

Jankowski said Daniels simply set the record straight after what could have been misleading headlines about him.

"But, as governor, he could very legitimately and properly comment about university expenditures at Purdue or elsewhere," she said.

Brown also questioned whether Daniels is allowed to lobby the legislature for funding when he takes his new position next year.

Opinions from Indiana Inspector General David Thomas and Tim Grogg, the Indiana Department of Administration's executive director of executive branch lobbying, found that no post-employment restrictions will apply to Daniels.

Thomas -- an original Daniels appointee -- wrote that a state officer or employee leaving state employment in the executive branch is not restricted from lobbying the legislature. Lobbying restrictions apply to executive branch lobbying only, he said.

But Brown points to an executive order issued by Daniels himself in 2005 that called for a one-year cooling-off period before state officials may lobby state government in any way.

"Considering the impending end of Governor Daniels' term of office, the taxpayers of Indiana deserve swift action and investigation into these complaints and alleged violations of the state ethics code," Brown said in an ethics complaint to Thomas.

Jankowski said the lobbying question has already been addressed and "now resources will have to be wasted disposing of this silly charge."

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her @nkellyatJG.

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