Indiana Inspector General David Thomas has found former state Superintendent Tony Bennett broke state law in 2012 by using his public office to coordinate his unsuccessful re-election campaign against Glenda Ritz, according to the website Politico.
Politico reported today that it had obtained a copy of a report from Thomas due out Thursday that says Bennett has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine as part of a settlement for violating state ethics rules based on information first reported by the Associated Press last year. (The full report is posted on an area of its website that requires a subscription.) Among the allegations reported at the time were that his public office staff kept campaign fundraising information on state computers and had email conversations about the campaign.
Politico reports, however, that Thomas did not find any evidence that changes to the state A to F school grading formula that benefited Christel House Academy were done for political reasons. A previous review commissioned by Republican legislative leaders found Bennett’s reasons for making the change were plausible and were evenly applied to other schools with the same attributes as Christel House. Christel DeHaan, the founder of the school, contributed to Bennett’s political campaign in the past.
The state ethics commission will hear Bennett’s case at 10 a.m. Thursday.