Mitch Daniels vulnerable on corruption?

The Advance Indiana blog (see blogroll, right) has some obsessions, and those obsessions seem to involve the corner-cutting, corporatism and downright corruption of the Republicans in power in Indianapolis — both state and local government. That would be no surprise were not the blogger himself a Republican. (Doug Masson beat me to the punch on this, but I started before lunch and his appeared between now and then.)

The blog is relentless in criticizing the Indy Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration for its subservience to the interests of billionaire sports franchise owners (here, here, here, & here — and that’s just the recent ones; but don’t think he’s just an anti-sports sissy).

Today, he hits a higher target — the Daniels administration:

I’m telling you that Daniels has some big-time scandals brewing in his administration. The Obama Justice Department can bury any presidential ambitions he may have if they so desire to investigate these various scandals. I thought Mitch was smart enough to avoid this kind of corruption in his administration when he first got elected, but my once favorable impression of him is fading with the passage of every day. I’m not surprised by [State Rep. Eric] Turner’s obvious self-dealing, and I doubt many others who’ve watched him over at the State House over the years are either. The ACS [company hired to privatize Medicaid administration] connections run deeper than [Mitch] Roob. Barnes & Thornburg’s Bob Grand and Joe Loftus have lobbied the state and the City of Indianapolis for the firm. They firm as also lobbied the state for [Daniels insider John] Bales’ Venture Real Estate. CIB President Ann Lathrop, who replaced Grand in that role, used to work at ACS with Roob and former Mayor Steve Goldsmith, who employed both of them in his administration. Lathrop now works for Crowe Horwath, which has several contracts with the City of Indianapolis. Lathrop personally inked a contract with the Ballard administration’s budget office, which Lathrop ran during the Goldsmith administration. And I could go on but you get the point. It’s just one incestuous cesspool.

“Incenstuous cesspool” almost earned this re-blog a “damn rackets” categorization, but I’m holding off on that a bit longer.

Still, I had a lot of trouble with the Medicaid privatization debacle, which put Daniels’ willful streak on display and was so patently misguided — long before he nevertheless went ahead and did it — that only two theories came to mind for why he’d do it:

  1. He cynically wanted to screw up Medicaid — a massive and virtually uncontrollable entitlement — so badly that nobody would even want to bother applying (which in essence would move the cost of caregiving “off book” by forcing family members to skip economically productive jobs to care for aging parents even more than they already do); or
  2. He or someone he likes/owes stood to profit mightily from privatization. (This was barely on my radar, frankly.)

I want to like Mitch. I want to be proud of him. I’d like to want him to become President. But don’t bet on it — whether “it” is is me wanting him to become President or him actually becoming President. I knew nothing of his youthful pot use, divorce and, now, possible corruption (or closeness to corruption) until he became one of the frontrunners (or coy draft candidates) du jour.

Expect more dirt to be unearthed — not necessarily because Advance Indiana is right, but because that’s the way political sabotage works, and it’s hard to do all Mitch has done in his life without getting at least splashed with some ugly mud along the way.