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The Journal Gazette

Monday, August 20, 2018 2:50 pm

Indiana GOP files complaint against Donnelly

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Republican Party filed a complaint Monday against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, accusing him of using official taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes.

"Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly, in an ethically-challenged act of desperation, directed his official taxpayer-funded staff to film his meeting with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and then to post video, with no audio, on their official YouTube page so his campaign and outside entities could use the footage," said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer.

"Not only has he played political games by dragging his feet and taking an entire month to meet with Judge Kavanaugh, but now Joe Donnelly is playing political games with the meeting itself by using official resources for campaign purposes -- a clear ethical breach."

Donnelly last week met with President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh and posted video to his official page of the initial greeting.

Pete Seat, spokesman for the Indiana GOP, acknowledged the video hasn't been used in any ad but said "the ethical issues surrounding the filming and posting of the video should be investigated."

He said the video likely won't be used by any political action committee supporting Donnelly now that the complaint has been filed with the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Ethics Committee. Hupfer also called on Donnelly to take the video down.

The b-roll was provided by the official Senate office to Indiana TV stations to use during their segments about Donnelly's meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, which several stations did use.

"This nakedly political stunt is just the latest bald-faced lie from Rep. Braun's campaign. The fact of the matter is that Donnelly for Indiana has no intention of using that footage in an ad -- but more importantly, even if the campaign or any outside group wanted to use this footage, it would be illegal," said Donnelly campaign spokesman Will Baskin-Gerwitz.

"Rep. Braun and his campaign are doing a disservice to Hoosiers by selfishly politicizing the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice because they can't stand that Joe is dutifully doing his job while Rep. Braun complains from the sidelines."

Braun is the Republican challenging Donnelly for his Senate seat in November.

Donnelly's office used the same video approach when he met with then-nominee Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

nkelly@jg.net