News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

January 22, 2012

FLASHPOINT: Howey ignores truth to advance his agenda

Brian Howey’s Jan. 8 column about the U.S. Senate race proves once again that he will not allow the facts or journalistic ethics to get in the way of attacking Richard Mourdock and promoting his chosen candidate, Dick Lugar.

Howey’s personal animosity toward Richard Mourdock stems from Howey’s bitter opposition to Treasurer Mourdock’s principled stand against the taxpayer bailouts and takeover of the U.S. automotive industry in the Chrysler case. Mourdock went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court over the novel concept that the law should actually count for something. Now Mourdock is challenging Howey’s hero Dick Lugar in the 2012 Republican primary, and Brian Howey doesn’t like it. 

In his latest column, Howey twists the facts and uses utter falsehoods to slander Mourdock’s record as State Treasurer by claiming that he is missing various meetings of state boards of which he is a member. What Howey fails to mention is that more than 99 percent of the hundreds of state board meetings he mentions were attended by Treasurer Mourdock or a member of his senior staff as provided by state law.

Gov. Daniels and Lt. Gov. Skillman routinely make use of senior staff appointments to many of the dozens of state boards they serve on, but Brian Howey wouldn’t tell you that. He wants you to believe the Treasurer Mourdock is somehow not doing his job. The proof, however, is in the numbers. Under Treasurer Mourdock, Indiana has earned over $1 billion in investment income, the State 529 College Savings Plan is rated one of the best in the nation, and the Indiana State Police Pension fund, which Treasurer Mourdock oversees, earned a nearly 20 percent return last year and was just nominated for Best Small Public Fund by Money Management Intelligence.

Readers have come to expect this sort of sloppiness from Howey in his quest to trash Mourdock. In August, Howey went so far as to allege in his column that Mourdock had lost $700 million in investments in the Indiana Public Employee Retirement fund. The main problem: Mourdock doesn’t oversee this fund. It is managed by a board appointed by the governor. Four months later, Howey still has yet to admit his mistake and publish a proper retraction.

Journalists should inform the public, not abuse their position to spread misleading half-truths in order to help the candidates they prefer. Readers should demand more, and editors and publishers should re-think the continued publication of columnists who play fast and loose with the truth in order to promote their own agenda.

— Jim Holden

Campaign Manager

Hoosiers for Richard Mourdock

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