Marion County GOP accuses Hogsett of rule violations

Joe Hogsett
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It is still 15 months before the next election for mayor of Indianapolis. Neither Mayor Greg Ballard (R) nor Joe Hogsett (D) have announced they're running, but the race is already underway.

Republicans are accusing Hogsett of violating federal law. They say he may have broken the rules against partisan activity while in office. Democrats call that ridiculous. It sounds like the start of what could be a long and bitter campaign.

Two weeks after Joe Hogsett resigned as US attorney, Republicans are on the attack.

"There appears to be significant political coordination between him and multiple parties," said GOP Marion County chair Kyle Walker at a news conference Wednesday.

Walker suggested Hogsett violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in various political activities. Topping his list: Former Sen. Evan Bayh's timely news conference.

"Are we supposed to believe that Hogsett didn't solicit Bayh's support but on the same day he announced his resignation, Evan Bayh coincidentally showed up in Indianapolis to hold a news conference at which he expressed his support for Hogsett as a candidate for mayor?" said Walker.

"If I had Greg Ballard's record as mayor of the city, I'd divert attention as well," said Joel Miller, Marion County Democratic Party chair.

"This is Greg Ballard's attempt to distract the public with shiny objects instead of seeing the battered and bruised reality of his administration," Miller argued.

Neither Ballard nor Hogsett has officially entered the race.

"Mayor Ballard has made it clear his job is to govern the city," said Walker.

But all indications are a race is well underway. The Ballard for Mayor Campaign sent out emails encouraging supporters to attend his crime-fighting announcement.

Hogsett, meantime, made himself available for on-on-one interviews just days after resigning.

The last mayoral race between Ballard and Melina Kennedy was the most expensive in city history. Some argued it was one of the most negative, but perhaps not for long.

Democrats Ed Delaney and Frank Short are also considering a run for mayor. So far, no Republicans have expressed interest in challenging Ballard.