It’s time for the old political question: Is it OK for police officers to endorse those running for political office while in uniform?
On that question, most people turn to the Hatch Act, the federal policy that prohibits law enforcement from performing endorsements while in uniform.
A handful of people reached out this week to question the legal correctness of a political endorsement for Chad Miner by Jason McGlennen, the Silver Lake Town Marshal, while in uniform.
Miner serves as president of the Silver Lake Town Council. He is one of four Republicans running for the open seat vacated by Joe Sutton in Kosciusko Superior Court 3. The others are Karin McGrath, Robert Bishop and Lindsey Grossnickle.
The video by McGlennen is one of three video endorsements featured on Miner’s campaign Facebook page.
While none of Miner’s opponents reached out to InkFreeNews directly, several surrogates of one did. On top of that, Brian Smith, chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosciusko County, also raised the issue.
“I think this is kind of sloppy on Chad’s part,” Smith said.
Asked about the issue Friday, Miner said his campaign checked on it earlier and was confident it was OK.
Since the officer is not paid with federal money, the Hatch Act doesn’t apply, Miner said.
Miner then rechecked with the Indiana Election Division Friday and felt confident the endorsement does not represent a violation of state law.
In fact, Miner said state statute specifically allows for an officer to give types of visual endorsements while in uniform. Going door-to-door in uniform, though, is not permitted.
“We’re acting in conformity with what they’ve advised us is OK and not OK,” Miner said.
Miner pointed out that the campaign of Kyle Dukes for Sheriff in 2018 included endorsements from officers in uniform.
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EARLY WARNING – Two major online news outlets – Breitbart and the Daily Caller – published news features on Indiana Rep. Jim Banks and how the 3rd District Congressman saw the pandemic coming before many did.
The themes of both stories were similar: Dems were too distracted by impeachment.
Breitbart reported that on Jan. 31, in the midst of the impeachment trial, Banks compared the spread of the coronavirus to the Spanish flu.
Banks tweeted: “#Coronavirus is spreading as quickly as Spanish flu, which infected ~500 Million. And the #CCP is likely under-reporting cases. W/out reliable info, a pro-active response is needed. Quarantine is a good 1st step, @HHSGov,” the Breitbart report said.
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COST CLARIFICATION – Kosciusko County Clerk Ann Torpy sought to clarify a cost figure in last week’s column that looked at the possibility of having a mail-in primary election.
In the column, I reported the cost of postage and paperwork would be about $24,000.
Torpy points out that the dollar estimate she provided was an estimate of how much it would cost to mail an application to each registered voter in the county – not the overall cost to conduct an election by mail.
The postage alone would cost $41,146.40 to mail a ballot to every voter who voted in the 2016 Primary Election; that doesn’t include all the other costs associated with the election, Torpy said.
She points out the county normally spends $21,000 on poll worker pay during election day. “So there is a significant difference between the two,” she pointed out.
Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.