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Bennett to pay $5,000 in ethics settlement

INDIANAPOLIS – The State Ethics Commission on Thursday accepted a settlement requiring former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett to pay $5,000 for an ethics violation.

“He accepts full responsibility for the mistakes he made,” said Larry Mackey, attorney for Bennett. “As a state office holder he held that responsibility with great concern that you serve as an example to everyone. He is with full measure disappointed with this outcome.”

Bennett did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

The Inspector General found that Bennett – as a state officer, not an employee – could campaign on state time. But he couldn't use state property - such as his office, email and computers - to engage in political activity without a policy allowing it. No such policy was in place.

The panel also approved a screening procedure for a top INDOT staffer to possibly take a job with a state contractor while expressing concerns about whether the new job would violate state law.

And the group cleared the way for Gov. Mike Pence’s deputy chief of staff to return to her private legal practice.

For more on this story, see Friday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Friday.