Panel Says White Eligible To Hold Office; Criminal Trial Pending

Indiana’s Recount Commission says Republican Secretary of State Charlie White is eligible to hold office.

The two Republicans and one Democrat on the panel unanimously rejected a challenge by Democrats who argue White was illegally registered to vote because he used his ex-wife’s home address on the registration form. That’s where he was registered when he declared his candidacy.

White testified last week before the panel that he frequently stayed at the address but also spent a lot of time on the road campaigning and sometimes spent the night at a condo he and his future wife had purchased.

Recount Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says White came close to crossing the into violating state election law. White said after the decision he was relieved but declined to respond to Wheeler’s comment.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker says officials want to review the commission’s opinion before deciding whether to file an appeal in court.

White still faces felony criminal charges of voter fraud and perjury related to his voter registration. A conviction could result in his removal from office.

Some had questioned the impartiality of the three-person commission after it was reported that a political action committee set up by chairman Tom Wheeler’s law firm had contributed to White’s campaign. Wheeler is a Republican.

The firm also contributed a lesser amount to White’s Democratic opponent.