The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

January 10, 2014

Bennett hires top-flight defense in ethics case

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

A hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday has been delayed until May at the request of Bennett's legal team. Barclay noted that Inspector General David Thomas's office had yet to share the evidence outlined in a four-page probable cause affidavit it filed.

"We don't know a lot yet because we're still waiting on discovery from the inspector general. So one of the things he is obligated to do is turn over documents related to the investigation and that production is still incomplete," Barclay said. "We obviously are still in the fact gathering stage and trying to understand what was the basis for these charges."

Thomas' office declined Wednesday to release the probable cause affidavit, citing state law that keeps such records confidential.

Thomas charged Bennett with misusing state resources in his failed 2012 re-election bid by using state equipment to schedule campaign activities and raise funds. The Associated Press reported in September that Republican Party fundraising lists were discovered on state computers. Emails obtained by the AP through a public records request also showed Bennett directing his staff to conduct political work.

Cam Savage, a former Bennett communications director and consultant on the 2012 campaign, argued at the time that one list dubbed the Republican "Red Meat" list was only a list of elected officials for Bennett to reach out to in his official capacity. The list, however, gathered contacts for thousands of party activists and low-level donors.

Another fundraising spreadsheet, dubbed the "Big Hitter List," included tips on how to cultivate top-tier donors. The first name on the list was Christel DeHaan, the founder of a charter school at the heart of a grade-changing scandal reported by the AP that ultimately led to Bennett's resignation in August as Florida's schools chief.

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