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GOP hero Mitch Daniels and his ethics problem

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The guy who sorted the books of Indiana by leasing the state highway for 75 years (leaving the state with no revenue for seven decades) has recently accepted the job as president of Purdue University in Indiana. It's an unusual move since he has no experience in such a role, though he admits that he spent his "life reading, admiring, and attempting to learn from those who do." Uh huh.

The bigger issue and the one that raises obvious ethical issues is that he was hired by a board of directors that he hired himself while governor of Indiana. Daniels will jump from a salary of $107,000 to a comfortable position that likely includes a house and car plus a salary in excess of $500,000. That's quite a jump for someone without any experience in academia.

He does have management experience though you have to question the motives of someone who has screwed the state out of road revenue for 75 years. One hates to think how a guy who was not kind to education will damage the university with the same mindset as when he was governor.

When questioned about the conflict of interest for the high paying job, Daniels could not even provide a complete answer. The revolving door of politics and business (and yes, universities are big business) never ends.

“Do you see,” a WLFI reporter asked, “or how would you address, the perception of some people that there may be a conflict because of the number of trustees that you appointed?”

Since elected as Indiana’s governor in 2005, Daniels has either appointed or re-appointed 100 percent of Purdue’s trustees – appointing eight himself and reappointing two others. This includes Tuesday’s reappointment of three Board members which extended a three-year term to the search committee chair, Michael Berghoff; though the decision of Daniels as president had already been made by then.

After a four-second pause, Daniels deflected the question.

“Well I’ll just leave that to the University. I don’t know what – “

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