Ethics panel approves $5,000 fine against Bennett

Tony Bennett
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Indiana's State Ethics Commission has approved a $5,000 fine against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for using state resources in his 2012 campaign.

A copy of the settlement released Wednesday showed Bennett admitted to having his state and campaign staff coordinate his calendar at his Statehouse office using state computers. The report also found that his staff transferred Republican fundraising lists to state computers after he lost his re-election bid.

The board voted unanimously for the settlement Thursday without discussion. Bennett didn't attend the hearing. Bennett's lawyer said he was on vacation with his family.

Bennett issued a statement Wednesday night acknowledging "mistakes" and said he would have rewritten his department's policy to allow for limited campaign work.

Inspector General David Thomas says a $5,000 fine is normal for cases like Bennett's.

Bennett resigned as Florida's schools chief last August after The Associated Press published emails showing he had changed Indiana's "A-F" school-grading formula to benefit a campaign donor's charter school.

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