INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb committed no wrongdoing last
year when he accepted two private jet flights paid for by a casino magnate
to Republican Governors Association events, the state’s inspector general
The inspector general’s office began its investigation last spring after The
Indianapolis Star reported that Spectacle Entertainment CEO and Chairman Rod
Ratcliff flew Holcomb to RGA meetings in Aspen, Colorado, and Scottsdale,
Arizona, while Ratcliff was pushing for changes to Indiana law that would
benefit his business.
The office investigated whether Holcomb failed to disclose information about
gifts received. But it determined in a report released Monday that the gifts
- the two chartered flights - were provided to the Republican Governors
Association, and not to Holcomb’s office, WRTV-TV reported.
The report, which states that the case has been closed for insufficient
cause, found that neither Holcomb nor his wife, Janet, accepted the flights
“as gifts from an entity or entities with a business relationship with the
The inspector general’s office investigates allegations of criminal activity
and ethics violations in state government. But as part of its inquiry into
the two fights, the office did not open an investigation into Indiana’s gift
rule, which bars state employees from accepting gifts from someone who is
seeking to influence the employee.
The office’s report found that the gift rule does not apply to Indiana’s
Holcomb’s private flights, valued at about $50,000 total, gave Ratcliff and
his business partners hours of exclusive access to the governor. One of the
flights came just one day before Ratcliff and his business partner, Greg
Gibson of Terre Haute, announced in November the company’s plans to buy two
Holcomb’s flights were among $500,000 that Ratcliff and his companies
contributed last year to the Republican Governors Association, The
Indianapolis Star reported. That sum was more than any other casino operator
or Indiana company contributed to the RGA, which supports the election of
GOP governors across the U.S.
Contributions from casino interests to organizations like the RGA have long
drawn fire from government accountability groups, which see them as a way to
skirt Indiana’s prohibition on campaign donations from casino interests.