Fair Finance Trustee's Statement On Durham Campaign Contributions

The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Company issued a statement in response to numerous press inquiries following Sen. Mike Delph's decision to return $10,000 his campaign committee received in donations from indicted Ponzi scheme operator Tim Durham. It's important to note Sen. Delph returned his contributions voluntarily to the bankruptcy trustee before Durham was indicted and without being asked to do so by the Trustee. Trustee Brian Bash indicated in his statement he would not hesitate to take other action to recover the contributions if the other campaign committees did not voluntarily return their contributions.

Sen. Delph has done the right thing. He came forward and returned the funds without being asked, and before Durham was indicted.

Months ago, the Trustee sent letters to many other politicians explaining the circumstances and asking them to return the contributions they received from Durham. The campaigns that received the largest amounts include Gov. Mitch Daniels, Carl Brizzi, Paul Rickets, the Indiana Republican State Committee and the Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee. Governor Daniels responded, and we hope for mutual resolution through continued discussions. Most others did not respond.

We were also disappointed by media reports that some campaigns state they will not return the contributions because they were already spent. Such a glib response is not a defense, and it trivializes the losses suffered by the victims. If money were stolen from the people who made those statements, we wonder if they would be satisfied with that explanation. We understand that campaigns did not plan to have to return these contributions, but the victims also did not plan to be cheated.

We hope that those who received campaign contributions from or through Durham will contact us and arrange to return those funds for the benefit of the victims. The Trustee would much rather resolve these issues amicably, but will not hesitate to pursue other action if necessary.
It seems particularly outrageous that Attorney General Greg Zoeller and former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi as law enforcement officers would show any reluctance to return the contributions, particularly since their campaign committees have sufficient balances to return the contributions to the Trustee. Brizzi and Daniels each received more than $200,000 from Durham, while Zoeller received at least $21,000. As I've also indicated before, Gov. Mitch Daniels will likely face many questions from the battleground state of Ohio, if not elsewhere, should he decide to enter the 2012 Republican presidential race.