Sawyer campaign will forward campaign contributions to next GOP auditor candidate

Dwayne Sawyer at his swearing-in ceremony in August 2013.
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The campaign chairman for resigning state auditor Dwayne Sawyer says most of the money recently donated to Sawyer's election campaign fund will be sent to the Indiana Republican Party to elect a Republican state auditor next fall.

"We didn't expect this so we're trying to figure out the details," said Michael O'Brien, chairman of the Sawyer For Indiana committee.

O'Brien's comments come one day after Gov. Mike Pence announced Sawyer's sudden resignation due to "family and personal concerns." The resignation is effective December 15.

Pence hand-picked Sawyer as the state's top accountant in August to serve out the term of longtime auditor Tim Berry, who left his post to become chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.  Sawyer, a former Brownsburg Town Council president, quickly filed paperwork with the Indiana Election Commission to organize a candidate's committee, showing his intention to run for a full term as auditor in 2014.

Earlier this month, Pence hosted a political fundraiser for Sawyer at the Alexander Hotel. O'Brien says about 100 people attended the event, which raised approximately $41,000 for Sawyer's campaign.  The largest single contribution -- $10,000 -- came from the Mike Pence For Indiana campaign committee.

Asked what will happen to the funds now that Sawyer has submitted his resignation, O'Brien told 13 Investigates a meeting will take place Monday to finalize the plans.

"I think they [the governor's campaign committee] understand the money will be used to elect a new auditor," O'Brien explained.  "It will be used to pay the limited expenses we had for our campaign. Whatever is left will go to the state [Republican] party to pay for electing a Republican auditor in 2014."

O'Brien said he spoke to Sawyer Sunday night, and at that time, the auditor told him he planned to resign from office.  Sawyer submitted a formal resignation letter to the governor Monday, and Pence publicly announced he had accepted the resignation the next morning.

The auditor has not been available for comment.  According to his office, Sawyer will not be in the office this week due to a previously-scheduled vacation.