Auditor’s Questionable Travel Continues with Tea Party Appearance

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Campaign statement from Sam Locke, Democrat candidate for Indiana State Auditor:

Auditor’s Questionable Travel Continues with Tea Party Appearance

(August 5, 2010) – Information obtained in a recent public records request has once again found Auditor of State Tim Berry taking questionable trips statewide – financed by taxpayers and using state resources. On June 14, state travel records detail that Auditor Berry drove his government vehicle 232 miles to the City of Bluffton, for what was described in the disclosure as a “revenue report.” Further comparison to a list of campaign appearances on his Facebook page and campaign website revealed this report was delivered to a meeting of the 6th District Constitutional Patriots, a local Tea Party-affiliated organization.

Berry has already been put on notice by Democratic challenger Sam Locke for taking taxpayer funded trips near political stops and for launching political attacks to media outlets during those stops. Locke responded to the latest development by saying, “This is yet another example of the lack of accountability we have been talking about for weeks. Using hard earned, Hoosier tax dollars to creatively schedule campaign stops and then ambiguously recording it in public record is clearly inappropriate. While I recognize state regulations give elected officials a significant amount of ‘gray area’ for public travel, it is clear to objective observers that this activity is inappropriate.”

Locke went on to say, “My opponent will defend the travel by saying he is carrying out official business in allowing non-partisan groups learn more about the State’s finances. Even if one could argue that the most recent visit was non-partisan, we need to question the value of a such a large road-show to present the report when so many opportunities for digital delivery are available. It seems ironic that Berry’s report talks about how the State must find additional areas to cut expenses while he takes an expensive campaign-year tour of Indiana.”

Locke challenges Berry, for a third time, to immediately stop using taxpayer resources for travel associated with political activity and to join all five other major party Statewide candidates in reporting travel expenses on his campaign finance report filed with the Indiana Secretary of State.

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