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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Another menace nabbed

Chris Hiatt is the president of something called CDCPTR -- Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal. He now faces a misdemeanor charge after being indicted by a grand jury for:

knowingly making "an expenditure for the purpose of financing communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate through a newspaper, without the required disclaimer and without noting whether the candidates had authorized the communication."

What was his great crime against humanity? He placed a newspaper ad endorsing candidates for the 2008 election. The ad listed the CDCPTR as the source of the endorsements and featured the group's logo, but did not -- get this recklessly dangerous practice -- "have a formal disclaimer." The man had the gall to exercise his First Amendment Rights -- throw the bum in jail. While the clown princes of the political world and the punditocracy mull whether nude dancing should be "protected free speech," this is the kind of crap that goes on almost without protest.

Much is being made in Muncie about all the politics involved. The prosecutor is a Democrat, and the ad endorsed mostly Republicans. On the same day, an ad by a labor organization also appeared -- also without that "formal disclaimer" -- which endorsed all Democrats. The prosecutor did not seek an indictment for that ad. Now, that selectivity may or may not be an abuse of power, and at the least it seems like a blatant double standard. But it's beside the point; politicians have been unfairly rewarding their friends and sticking it to their enemies since the beginning of time.

The outrage is not that nobody from the labor union faced indictment but that Hiatt did. But in an era when Congress can pass, the president can sign and the Supreme Court can uphold something as blatantly unconstitutional as McCain-Feingold, it's probably not worth even getting worked up over.


Michael B-P
Tue, 04/21/2009 - 11:00am

Aptly filed (under "The law and the jungle"): lawyers in charge of Congress while PR men run car companies. Don't ask me what the hell the investment bankers are doing managing mortgages (something to do with "derivatives"). Possibly we're also expected to be memserized by the spectacle of scampering monkeys playing with plastique and proctoscopes after they've set the zoo on fire.

Tue, 04/21/2009 - 7:41pm

I was once fined $35 for sending out 3000 letters advocating the election of a dead man to be the Chairman of Farmington Township, Wisconsin simply because the group was not a registered political group under Wisconsin law.

My candidate won the election.

Michael B-P
Tue, 04/21/2009 - 8:00pm

So how many deceased citizens did you get to vote for the lucky stiff? Or was the town just full of Deadheads?

Tue, 04/21/2009 - 9:03pm

Michael . . .

I really don't recall how many votes he got but the total population of the town was only about 4,000. Our freshly deceased candidate up and died on us before election day, so we had two choices: 1) let the campaign die with him or 2) win the election and require the township board to appoint a new chairman. Unfortunately the township board winners were part of the opposition, so the "Dan Fielding" of Farmington Township got appointed despite having lost to a dead man.

Bike Babe
Sun, 12/20/2009 - 9:26am

I was at both election board hearings/meetings and I can tell you it was a sham from the get-go. The election board president interpreted the law his way regardless of how it was written.

A Tale of Two Complaints...

Andy Horning
Sun, 12/20/2009 - 12:23pm

Sigh...none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free. I'd fought "election reform" laws in Indiana for twelve years, as I did all I could to promote liberty and justice for Hoosiers. Two and a half million voters told me to buzz off.

Sun, 12/20/2009 - 2:46pm

Mr. Hyatt has been in the leading position in fighting corruption in addition to property tax reform for the citizens of Muncie. That puts him on the most wanted list and the powers that be will do anything to stop it. They do not want their little fiefdoms disrupted. Muncie, stand up and support him as he has spend his own time and money supporting you.

Andy Horning
Mon, 12/21/2009 - 11:07am

Amen, Mona. But let's remember who really are the "powers that be."
We have no problems at all that we haven't chosen over and over again with a 98% reelection rate. Most voters say they want term limits, but the same percentage vote for incumbents almost all the time. Most voters say they hate the influence of money in politics, but won't vote for anything else. Most voters claim it's "the other party," but that nonsense has worn awfully thin by now, hasn't it?
We must stop blaming our politicians for our immorality and failures. We have seen the enemy, and it is We The People. The sooner we get that, the sooner we'll earn a better reflection in our politics.