Richard Lugar does not even own a home in Indiana anymore. Despite this, someone thought it would be a good idea for his campaign to attack challenger Richard Mourdock for absenteeism. Seriously. The Lugar campaign has released the following ad, which you can judge on its own merits:
The Mourdock campaign has responded:
Since Richard Morudock took office as State Treasurer in 2007, his office has attended more than 99% of all such board meetings.
In addition to managing a $7 billion investment portfolio for the State, the State Treasurer or his appointee sit on 13 boards and commissions, some of which meet at the same time. Just like Governor Daniels and Lt. Governor Skillman, when Treasurer Mourdock cannot attend a meeting personally, he designates a member of his senior staff to attend in his place.
In fact, one board singled out by the Lugar ad, the State Board of Finance, meets for about 5 minutes once a month. When Treasurer Mourdock can’t attend, he sends a senior staff member with full voting powers to attend on his behalf. Governor Daniels is also a member of the Board of Finance. For every single meeting since 2007, Governor Daniels has chosen to send a senior aide rather than attend personally. Does this mean that Dick Lugar is accusing Governor Daniels of not showing up for work?
Additionally, the Mourdock campaign has pointed out that the ad is factually incorrect insofar as Mourdock is not even on the State Police Pension Advisory Board.
I don’t really claim any expertise in the intricacies of Indiana state government but Mourdock’s explanation is entirely consistent with the way I understand most state bureaucracies to run. And whatever the merits of the claim that Mourdock should be attending these meetings personally, it is at the very least ironic that this attack is coming from someone who isn’t even maintaining a legal residence in the entire state of Indiana. There most definitely is at least one candidate in this race who is guilty of absenteeism, and his name is Dick Lugar.