Pharos-Tribune

Columns

July 25, 2012

Purdue’s one percent solution

One quote that applies to the next stop on Mitch Daniels’ career path is thought provoking.

Ayn Rand once said, “It’s not a matter of who’s going to let me. It’s a matter of who’s going to stop me.”

As Daniels serves out his second four-year term as Indiana governor, the meter is still running on one decision he made that some of his supporters might call bold, but an Indianapolis judge ruling against the state has described as a reckless attempt of government privatization.

David Dreyer ruled last week that Indiana must pay an additional $12 million to IBM for the botched privatization of Medicaid. That’s on top of the $40 million the state already owes, and it doesn’t include the $9.6 million in attorney fees Indiana owes Barnes & Thornburgh and one of its attorneys, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Peter Rusthoven.

That tab will grow if Daniels, as reported, pursues an appeal of the ruling.

Daniels presumably has no more outstanding state sinkholes of debt to step into in the remaining months on his term, but as he prepares to become Purdue’s next president, the question is “Who will stop him from making similar missteps in West Lafayette?” The answer is probably not the Purdue board of trustees, who voted unanimously to hire the man who appointed 80 percent of them. Campaign finance reports as reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier indicate members contributed $27,000 to Daniels’ campaigns.

The trustees have “let” Daniels make the move from sitting governor to president of a state university, a move that will likely quadruple Daniels’ existing $107,000 salary. But they also have allowed a governor worth an estimated $50 million, according to The Indianapolis Star, to stockpile even more cash.

While The Star has reported that Daniels is spending down his existing campaign accounts and will avoid being active politically, Daniels has not indicated whether he will continue to be at least passively involved in politics through his own contributions to Super PACs, which allow candidates to receive unlimited funding from unnamed sources that don’t want to be traced. In theory, Daniels will be able to direct millions to political campaigns privately.

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