Is Brad Rogers using taxpayer money to advertise his election campaign?
Noon — January 10, 2014 — The campaign for Brad Rogers have now fixed this problem and their campaign URL now goes to their campaign Facebook page. Although we appreciate that they have corrected this error we are disappointed that there is not an apology on their Facebook page and we ask Mr. Rogers to publicly apologise for this oversight.
For the past 18 hours Sheriff Brad Rogers has been using the publically funded website maintained by The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office as his official campaign website.
On January 8, 2014 Brad Rogers announced on Facebook that he was seeking re-election to the position of Elkhart County Sheriff.
In his official announcement he publicised his election website www.BradRogersForSheriff.com. This is the website that he will use during the 2014 election to convince residents of Elkhart County that he deserves to be re-elected. The problem is that as of 3:00 EST on January 9, 2014 that website does not exist.
As of 3:00 pm on January 9, 2014 if you type www.BradRogersForSheriff.com into your web browser you will be redirected to www.ElkhartCountySheriff.com which is the website funded by the taxpayers of Elkhart County detailing the day to day running of the facility.
By doing this Mr. Rogers is using a taxpayer funded website to promote his candidacy for an elected position.
We believe that Mr. Rogers needs to stop this practice immediately.
We believe that Mr. Rogers campaign needs to pay back the taxpayers of Elkhart County the cost of the operation of the publicly funded website for as long as his personal election website was redirected to the publicly funded website.
We believe that election officials in Elkhart County should investigate this issue and demand that all candidates separate their professional duties from their political campaigns. They need to remind candidates like Mr. Rogers of IC 3-14-1-17.
Why is this wrong?
Indiana, like all states, has campaign finance rules. Mr. Rogers and his campaign have a legal obligation to report all campaign spending, including the money spend on the production and maintenance of a campaign website. This is why candidates ask for donations. By having his election website URL link directly to the website for the Sheriff Office Mr. Rogers is getting the benefit of a promotional website without the obligations of paying for that promotion. Instead the taxpayers of Elkhart County are paying for that promotion.
We believe that right now that this is a mistake and Mr. Rogers probably does not realise that this is happening. If Mr. Rogers addresses the issue effectively and a timely manner and then apologises we think the issue should be concluded. We do however want to point out that what is happening could be considered a violation of Indiana election law which clearly state that is is illegal for a candidate for office to “Use[ing] a government employer’s property to solicit contributions, or advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or public question at any time, or to distribute campaign materials on government’s real property during normal business hours. (IC 3-14-1-17)”
Voters concerned about this issue can raise a complaint by contacting The Elkhart County Election Board. Their contact information can be found here — http://elkhartcountyclerk.com/contact.html.