Political Notebook

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Inspector General clears Daniels

Indiana Inspector General David Thomas has cleared Gov. Mitch Daniels of several alleged ethics violations relating to his upcoming job as Purdue University president.

The 32-page report was issued Tuesday.

It first finds there was no conflict on interest in Daniels taking the job despite the fact that he appointed almost all the Purdue trustees who voted on his employment. The report said Daniels was required to make those appointments by law.

The inspector general also found Daniels isn't in violation of the post-employment role because he was not involved in direct contracts with Purdue or other licensing or regulatory matters. He did cut the university's funding, but that was not addressed in the report.

A third item considered was whether Daniels misused state property when putting out a news release related to renovations of the Purdue president's office.

"We believe we would find our burden of proof difficult in filing and proving an ethics complaint alleging that a state Governor and his or her state employee staff are not engaging in 'official state business' and 'official duties' for purposes of the rules when commenting on state university activities," the report said.

Finally, the Inspector General found the state's one-year lobbying restriction doesn't apply to the legislature. And under the executive branch lobbying rules, university employees are exempt.

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