Indiana Dems Flip Out over Endorsement

The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, angered that the Marion County Democratic Party has accused it of
corruption and cronyism, is demanding an apology. A defiant party chairman Steve Laudig has refused to apologize. And, no apology, means no recommendations of endorsements for Democratic City-County Council candidates says FOP boss Dave Young. The brouhaha began when FOP voted to endorse Republican Sue Anne Gilroy for mayor over Democrat Bart Peterson.

Democrats immediately raised questions about how the vote was conducted. The decision was by a voice vote at a firefighters’ union hall rather than at their own lodge, with at least some members mistakenly told the vote would be taken over three hours. The Democrats issued a media release sent by e-mail by Laudig on Jun. 14: “Thirty years of cronyism, corruption and incompetence were underlined by the questionable FOP endorsement of the Republican mayoral candidate,” Laudig wrote. The release also questions the fairness of the FOP endorsement and suggests that the bosses are racist.

On top of demanding an apology, the FOP filed a formal complaint with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission accusing Laudig, an attorney, of professional misconduct. Young said Laudig’s accusations are untrue and the FOP went to “extraordinary lengths” to make sure all members knew where and when the vote would be taken. The FOP already has endorsed two Democratic candidates for at-large council seats and is to vote next month on candidates for district seats on the council. The political action committee board will not recommend any endorsements of Democrats unless Laudig apologizes and the membership could vote to reconsider the endorsements for the at-large candidates if someone makes a motion to do so. [Indianapolis News 6/26/99]