Indiana House Democrats' amendment could have sent former Gov. Mitch Daniels to jail

House declines to make Daniels to Purdue illegal

INDIANAPOLIS - A legislative move that could have resulted in former Gov. Mitch Daniels being sent to jail failed on the floor of the Indiana House on Thursday.

Members defeated an attempt to make Daniels' appointment as president of Purdue University illegal.

An amendment proposed by House Democrats would have prevented anyone from moving immediately from the governor's office to a state university presidency, the move Daniels made in January.

Democrats said a chief executive should be subject to the same cooling-off rules as legislators and should not be able to, as they described it, game the system by having trustees he appointed give him a high-paying job.

"It's just terrible precedent, and I don't begrudge Gov. Daniels for being president of Purdue right now, and I've heard nice things about the way he's conducting himself. He's highly qualified," said Minority Leader Scott Pelath, a Democrat. "But that is not a practice that we should have in this state going forward."

Republicans pointed out that Democrats had worded their amendment to make it retroactive, which they believed could have sent Daniels and all the trustees to jail.

"I thought it was a rather unusual move to try to declare an honored public servant and the president of Purdue a felon, along with the very respected board of trustees," said GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Democrats said it wasn't their intention to send Daniels to jail, just to make a rule to restrict similar job transfers in the future.

With the Republicans' big House majority, the amendment was defeated easily. Daniels was never really in serious jeopardy.

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