News and Tribune

Clark County

April 4, 2007

Jeffersonville ethics panel clears Galligan campaign

A Tom Galligan supporter did nothing wrong when he left three fliers advertising a Galligan fundraiser for city employees at City Hall three weeks ago, the Jeffersonville Ethics Commission ruled unanimously on Tuesday.

But the panel plans to recommend that the City Council amend Jeffersonville’s campaign-finance ordinance to make nearly all city employee workplaces “politics-free zones.”

Jeffersonville’s ethics ordinance prohibits city officials — whether elected or appointed — or employees from soliciting support for candidates on city property. But the ordinance does not include language placing such a restriction on anyone else, which is why 300 Spring owner Dennis Julius’ distribution of the Galligan fliers at City Hall was OK.

“It does, in fact, appear that there has been no violation,” said board member Bruce Barkhauer.

On March 27, the ethics panel ruled unanimously that the campaigns of Mayor Rob Waiz and Galligan had violated the campaign finance ordinance. The board determined that Waiz’s campaign violated the measure by soliciting $2,500 in donations from city employees and by accepting between $1,250 and $6,250 from three men involved in a 2004 lawsuit with the city. The board found that Galligan’s campaign violated the ordinance by accepting $200 from City Council Attorney

Greg Fifer, $100 more than allowed during a single election cycle.

Waiz and Galligan have 30 days from the March 27 ruling to respond to the commission. During Tuesday’s meeting, Galligan said he would return $100 to Fifer, but Waiz has yet to respond to the commission.

Waiz and Galligan are opponents in the Democratic primary for mayor on May 8.

Galligan filed a letter of inquiry asking the commission to determine whether Julius violated the ordinance by handing out the fliers. Last week, Waiz told a reporter he believed Galligan’s campaign had violated the ordinance by distributing the fliers to city employees, but said he did not plan to file a complaint because he wanted to “take the high road.”

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