NewsPublic Affairs / December 22, 2015

Democrats Submit Inquiry About Pence Staffer's Role In Jasper Election

BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana’s Democratic Party Chairman John Zody submitted a formal inquiry to Gov. Mike Pence Monday with questions about an administration staffer’s ties to a recent mayoral race in Jasper.

Zody’s request for information centered on Indiana Department of Environmental Management Assistant Comissioner Samantha DeWester and her participation in the Jasper mayoral election. After the race ended in a tie, the city held a recount – and DeWester helped.

Zody says this is an issue of concern because DeWester’s role at IDEM is funded with taxpayer money.

“We have to know as taxpayers what his employees are doing, and she is a senior official in his administration working at the department of environmental management that regularly does business with local governments,” he said.

Zody’s inquiry included questions about whether DeWester’s position with IDEM is full-time, whether her role in the recount would have been prohibited by state ethics or agency laws, and how DeWester arranged for the time-off to participate. Zody is also requesting to see time-sheets and correspndence.

The governor is legally obligated to acknowledge the request within 24 hours. His office could not be reached for comment Monday.

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