SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The St. Joseph County Democrat Party has begun working with an illegally operating political action committee (PAC) to push out advertisements in state and local races. REAL News Michiana has confirmed the PAC, called the Indiana Victory Committee/St. Joseph County Victory Committee, has committed several election law violations and committed at least one punishable misdemeanor. It also turns out, the PAC is owned and operated by the former Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Democrat Party.
STATE CAMPAIGN VIOLATIONS
RNM first discovered the PAC was committing election crimes when attempting to search for the PAC through the Indiana Secretary of State (SOS) and the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) databases. While the PAC is registered with the St. Joseph County Clerk’s Office, there is no record of the PAC with the state or federal government. This means the PAC can push out advertisements on local campaigns. However, state and federal races are off limits.
Those details didn’t stop the St. Joseph County Victory Committee from running an advertisement on Facebook against State Representative Jake Teshka and in support of his opponent, Ross Deal.
According to page transparency data on Facebook, the ad ran from September 26th-October 2nd. The PAC took the original post down after being contacted by RNM for comment on the issue.
RNM also discovered the PAC committed an actual misdemeanor offense regarding the same advertisement by explicitly telling people to “choose” Ross Deal and not providing a disclaimer about who was behind the advertisement.
According to Indiana Code 3-9-3-2.5, “A communication described in subsection (b) must contain a disclaimer that appears and is presented in a clear and conspicuous manner to give the reader or observer adequate notice of the identity of persons who paid for and, when required, who authorized the communication. A disclaimer does not comply with this section if the disclaimer is difficult to read or if the placement of the disclaimer is easily overlooked.”
And, according to Indiana Code 3-14-1-3 “An individual, an organization, or a committee that circulates or publishes material in an election without the statement required under IC 3-9-3-2.5 commits a Class A misdemeanor.”
WHO RUNS IT?
According to PAC filing documents with the St. Joseph County Clerk’s Office, the PAC is run by two men. One is Josh Levesque out of Indianapolis. Another is Ethan Horvath, the former Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Democrat Party.
Subscribers can view the PAC’s organization documents and financials below.
Subscribe to get access
Read more of this content when you subscribe today.
According to the St. Joseph County Democrat Party, Horvath left the area in 2015 to work on the campaign of a Democrat Mayoral candidate in Bloomington. The next year, he became the campaign manager in a failed State Senate race.
RNM reached out to Horvath three times. We left a voicemail and text message. He never returned our calls.
According to sources with the St. Joseph County GOP, criminal charges will be sought against the people involved in the illegal advertisement.
These revelations come as the Indiana State Police have opened two investigations into potential election crimes involving the Democrat St. Joseph County Clerk and her handling of absentee ballots.
Last week, a REAL News Michiana investigation uncovered video of Clerk Rita Glenn disposing of documents after entering the secured absentee ballot area, alone, after hours. She is seen taking a plastic bag into the ballot room, then coming out with several documents which she disposes of by shoving them down the sides of a blue trash can.
In May, RNM uncovered the Clerk’s Office was in possession of multiple keys to gain access to the secured ballot room. The room in the County-City Building, in Downtown South Bend, is secured with two different locks, one for the Republicans the other for the Democrats. In theory, a Republican and Democrat keyholder must be present to gain access to the ballots. While Republican leadership was under the impression that only one key existed for each lock, it turns out there could be up to 7 keys total, with multiple Republican keys being held by Democrats.
RNM also uncovered that the St. Joseph County Democrat Chair has been soliciting illegal absentee votes.
Want to keep seeing the news the legacy media just won’t report? REAL News Michiana relies on member subscribers to keep going. As a subscriber, you’ll get an RNM mug and invites to special events. Help us continue to expose corruption and report on the news conservatives care about by subscribing here.