INDIANAPOLIS - Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker raised questions about Democrat Joe Hogsett's alleged partisan activity while serving as U.S. Attorney ahead of his run for mayor of Indianapolis.
During a news conference Wednesday morning, Walker claimed that while Hogsett served as U.S. Attorney, he violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits high-level executive government employees (outside of the president and vice president) from engaging in partisan political activity.
"The manner in which Joe Hogsett has handled his transition from the U.S. Attorney's office is troubling," Walker said. "To resign from the U.S. Attorney's office and announce a campaign for political office within three days is unprecedented. I cannot think of a past U.S. Attorney in this state who has done something that so blatantly indicates political activity while in that position. There appears to have been political coordination between Hogsett and multiple parties. This activity is ethically questionable at best and potentially illegal."
Walker cited several instances when Hogsett may have participated in partisan activity, including an interview with former Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker, as WIBC reported :
" July 8, 2014: Six days prior to Hogsett's resignation announcement, former state Democratic chairman and potential candidate for Mayor Dan Parker issued a statement which appeared to be an endorsement of Hogsett. "...Parker says he concluded the next mayor needs public safety experience he doesn't have." "He says he'd still prefer to see U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett run."
Walker claimed that there was a "mountain of evidence" to suggest that Hogsett violated the Hatch Act while in office.
Meanwhile, current Marion County Democratic Chairman Joel Miller says Hogsett did nothing wrong.
"I can only judge by my experience and I know I had no conversation with Joe Hogsett prior to his resignation. I'm the chairman of the party so I can't imagine he conducted himself in any other way with anybody else than he did with me," Miller said.
Democrats say Walker is trying to distract the public from Mayor Greg Ballard's record on crime and murders in the city, RTV6's Derrik Thomas reported.
"I look forward to the campaign where we can talk about issues and not try to divert people with accusations and shining objects," Miller said.
Since his resignation, Hogsett has taken a new job at Bose McKinney law firm.
RTV6 reached out to Hogsett for a response to Walker's claims, but calls had not yet been returned.