Thursday, April 07, 2011

U.S. Attorney's Office Going After Another Big Daniels Contributor

For a man who is as smart as Mitch Daniels is I can't understand why he relies on such sleazebags for campaign support. Daniels accepted more than $200,000 from indicted Ponzi scheme operator Tim Durham and now refuses to return those contributions to the bankruptcy trustee in Ohio seeking to recover the more than $200 million out of which Durham bilked Ohio investors. Today comes news of another sleazy campaign contributor with whom I've criticized Daniels for palling around. The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking recovery of a $600,000 penalty levied against Jerry Slusser after he was found to have committed multiple violations of the Commodity Exchange Act more than a decade ago that he has refused to pay for years. The Star has the story:

The U.S. attorney’s office in Indianapolis is going after a businessman who’s one of Gov. Mitch Daniels’s biggest financial supporters.

According to a press release from the office, Jerry W. Slusser, who was ruled to have committed multiple violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, still hasn’t paid a $600,000 penalty.

He was found liable in 1999, but the penalty wasn’t levied until 2006, after he had gone through the appeals process.

Slusser was the owner and chairman of the board of Indianapolis-based First Republic Financial Corporation when the violations occurred.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which imposed the penalty, has tried to get the money from Slusser, but he hasn’t cooperated, so the case was referred to the U.S. attorney, according to the press release.

Slusser, who has listed addresses in Indianapolis, Fishers and Las Vegas, has been a major supporter of Republicans, including Daniels.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Indiana secretary of state, show that since 2003, Slusser has given various GOP campaign committees more than $100,000 in cash and more than $200,000 in in-kind contributions. Those contributions can include such things as the loan of a plane or paying for an event.

Among his contributions are $5,000 in October 2010 to Daniels’ Aiming Higher political action committee. He gave Aiming Higher more than $89,000 in in-kind contributions in 2009 and 2010.

He also directly supported Daniels’ campaigns for governor in 2004 and 2008, giving him more than $83,000 in direct contributions and more than $33,000 in in-kind contributions.
I noted back in January how e-mails from the embattled Indiana Utility Regulator Commission, which has been under fire because top officials of the agency have maintained too cozy relationships with utility lobbyists, showed figures in Daniels' administration trying to curry favor with Slusser by arranging meetings for him with top IURC officials. According to the e-mails, Slusser was described as "a friend of the Governor's, Mark Lubbers, et al." Lubbers, a former high-paid communications official for the Governor's office, has been working on a controversial coal gasification project proposed by Leucadia that could prove very costly to residential gas users in Indiana. According to one of the e-mails, Slusser had ties to William Rosenberg, president of Indiana Gasification, LLC, the subsidiary set up by Leucadia to build a nearly $2 billion coal gasification plant in Indiana.

UPDATE: A later version of the story has this reaction from James Voyles, Slusser's attorney:

Attorney James Voyles, who's representing Slusser, said in a written statement that the case has no merit.

"The alleged fine relates to a business transaction that occurred 22 years ago in Europe and involved no U.S. citizens," according to Voyles' statement.
So as long as all the victims were Europeans rather than Americans it doesn't matter?

1 comment:

Citizen Kane said...

"For a man who is as smart as Mitch Daniels is I can't understand why he relies on such sleazebags for campaign support."

Politics and power attract sleaze. Beyond a certain threshold, riches held by individuals are obtained by fraud, theft, corruption, unethical behavior and legal theft via lawmaking, which require campaign contributions. Right or left, these politicians are in it for their own aggrandizement; they will sell their first-born to get what they want. His intelligence is irrelevant. Many criminals, most of the ones not in jail, are very smart.