Friday, September 23, 2005

An Indiana Republican fundraiser has been sentenced to 1 1/2 years in jail for filing false campaign forms and theft, in a plea bargain. Hiller was a member of the Indiana Election Commission since 2003. His offenses are not related to his conduct on the commission. The allegation are that over three years he stole about $100,000. He's agreed to pay it back. It isn't clear to me whether he actually stole the money - likely but not certain - or just did a sloppy job of accounting.
Disclosure: Until earlier this month, I've been in litigation against the commission, although never Hiller specifically.

Ex-GOP insider to do time and more
Helping to account for $146,775 in spending is part of former fundraiser's 1-year sentence.
By Kevin Corcoran
kevin.corcoran at indystar.com
Bradley R. Hiller won't be idle while serving his prison term.

More coverage at http://blog.masson.us/
I believe this is the first time a commission member has gone to jail, and the first time someone's been sentenced to jail in Indiana for a campaign reporting violation.
Just the huge fines alone has a severe and chilling effect on our ability to find anybody to run for office.
Here's the prosecutor's take on it:
Prosecutor Brizzi has charged the former executive director of the Indiana Senate Majority Campaign Committee with embezzling nearly $25,000 from the organization. Bradley Hiller faces one charge each of theft and filing a fraudulent report, both D felonies.

Hiller was executive director of the committee from January 2001 through November 2003. The committee is responsible for providing campaign support for Republicans running for State Senator. As executive director, Hiller was responsible for providing fundraising and campaign support for these elections.

"No political party has a monopoly on corruption," said Brizzi. "When it comes to prosecution, there are no Republicans or Democrats, only individuals who need to be held accountable."

According to the probable cause affidavit, suspicions about Hiller's handling of the committee's checkbook arose when he was succeeded by Esther Schneider as executive director in November 2003. She found little supporting documentation for checks written on the account. The committee hired London White Group to perform an audit of their accounts.

According to the audit, 109 of the 490 checks written on the account between January 2000 and January 2004 were payable to Hiller. Investigators found at least eight different occasions where expenditures listed on the committee campaign report with checks written on the organization's checking account. Those checks would be listed on the campaign report as payable to vendors. However, the checking account would show the corresponding check as being may payable to Hiller.

A Marion County Superior Court Judge has issued a summons for Hiller's appearance in court. He is scheduled for an initial hearing February 11 in Marion Superior Criminal Court 9.

Story mentioned on this blog http://http://www.bilerico.com/2005/09/gop-aide-gets-slap-on-wrist.html/ which looks like a group blog by some people I've met, neat.

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