Indiana’s top legislative Republicans said Tuesday that a bill allowing Gov. Mike Pence to run for the White House and governor on the same ticket is unlikely to be approved this year. Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Tuesday he plans to send it to the the Senate Rules Committee — shorthand for killing legislation in the Statehouse. Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, told the Indianapolis Star last week that he submitted legislation that would let Pence seek both offices in 2016. His focus, Delph said, was clearing “obstacles” to a potential Pence White House run, to continue drawing national attention to the state.
Indiana’s bloated voter registration rolls, which officials say make elections more susceptible to fraud, will soon come under more scrutiny by the state. The Indiana Secretary of State’s office will spend more than $2 million to purge the voter registration rolls in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, removing the names of voters who are dead, in prison, or have moved away. County election officials are responsible for keeping the voter rolls current, but the lack of money has caused some of them to fall behind. The result: In some counties, the number of people listed on the active voter rolls is higher than the number of voting-age people who live there.
Indiana: Big campaign donors can remain a big secret – Super PACs make it possible for corporations to bypass Indiana’s limit on contributions | Indianapolis Star
A $1 million check given to U.S. Rep. Mike Pence’s campaign for governor this spring is fueling questions about influence over Indiana elections. And not just because of the check’s size — although the donation was the first single contribution to an Indiana gubernatorial candidate to reach seven figures in nearly a decade. The issue: a loophole between federal and state election laws makes it impossible to pinpoint exactly who supplied the money. That shroud of secrecy raises the possibility that corporations could skirt a $5,000 contribution limit set by Indiana law, campaign finance experts say. In fact, one Indiana gambling company — barred by state law from giving directly to a candidate at all — is staying involved in politics by instead donating to federal political organizations, including the Republican Governors Association. That is the group behind the super PAC — now called RGA Right Direction — that sent the check to Pence.
The RGA Right Direction PAC is a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC, registered with federal regulators to make independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates. So what is it doing giving $1 million directly to the Republican running for governor of Indiana? The donation to Mike Pence, the largest to his campaign, appears to be a way around state laws limiting corporate contributions to candidates. “In one way, it’s legal,” said Andrew Downs of the Center for Indiana Politics, at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. “But if you say this is a way to give in excess of corporate limits, that’s also absolutely true.” Right Direction is funded entirely by the Republican Governors Association, a so-called “527” organization dedicated to electing as many Republicans to governorships as possible — a mission fueled by contributions from some of the largest corporations in the country. In Indiana, candidates can accept unlimited donations from individuals and political action committees but only $5,000 from corporations and unions. Corporations and unions can also give to PACs, but only in small sums. Whether the check to Pence was drawn on a bank account that contained corporate money is not a matter of public record.