Prosecutor wants to review full Bennett report

FILE - Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett talks about the 2011 results of statewide tests measuring math, English, science and social studies skills in grades 3 through 8 during a news conference in Indianapolis, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) — A new fight is on the rise in the case of Tony Bennett, the former state school superintendent.

New questions arose, Wednesday, after an Associated Press report revealed that the Marion County Prosecutor didn’t see all the evidence during his investigation of Bennett.

Indiana’s top ethics watchdog notified a local prosecutor of evidence suggesting former schools Superintendent Tony Bennett violated the state’s “ghost employment” laws in addition to federal wire fraud laws during his 2012 re-election campaign, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday.

Wednesday night, Prosecutor Terry Curry told 24 Hour News 8 that is “very frustrating.”

“Clearly, we needed to have the complete information, complete story in order to make a reasoned judgment,” said Curry.

The AP says it “obtained a letter Inspector General David Thomas wrote on Feb. 27, to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry after Curry said he never saw an investigator’s entire 95-page report alleging wire fraud.” Curry says his office based its investigation one the information in one binder and chose not to file charges.

The State Ethics Commission fined Bennett $5,000 for actions during the campaign in 2012.

Now, Curry says, the AP report reveals what he calls “a fair volume” of other information such as “the use of state vehicles. There was nothing in the materials we were provided in November that related to that.”

Curry expects to start a review of the additional information on Thursday.

There still may not be criminal charges. But, Curry says he won’t know until the review is complete.

The prosecutor says this matter also raises questions about Indiana’s Office of the Inspector General.

Curry said he’s skeptical about having an appointee of the Governor looking into alleged criminal conduct in state government. He may ask the state legislature to “revisit the whole concept.”

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