Anonymous campaign mailings potentially unlawful


The Boone County Prosecutor’s Office sent out a press release Oct. 25 warning residents that anonymous campaign mailings reported by Boone County residents may potentially be in violation of Indiana state law.

Two anonymous letters were reported to law enforcement by Boone County residents in the last two weeks, according to the release.

Images of the letters show that they were typed on printer paper and make accusations regarding Zionsville school board candidate Tim Hardt. One letter, dated Oct. 7, is signed “A very concerned father and husband” and the other is undated and reads “From: Concerned Citizen.”

The prosecutor’s office stated, “Any parties that are sending out communications concerning the upcoming elections should familiarize themselves with all the applicable requirements under Indiana law and make sure that their communications are in compliance with such.”

Neither letter identified the sender, though paid postage was used in both instances.

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.”

Indiana Code 3-9-3-2.5 requires that a person or entity authorizing or paying for communication

must be identified.

One letter accuses Hardt of “more than one mortgage foreclosure,” garnished wages due to unpaid child support, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and public intoxication. Other unsubstantiated accusations in the letter stated Hardt was involved in lawsuits and past resignation from school districts.

Court records on reflect that ZCS school board candidate Timothy Addison Hardt was not involved in any of these incidents. A Timothy S. Hardt was charged with an OWI and public intoxication, and court cases regarding a mortgage foreclosure and unpaid child support involve a different individual with the name Timothy Allen Hardt.

Another letter accuses Hardt of inappropriate conduct against women during his time as a volleyball coach. These claims are unsubstantiated by any court documents.

Hardt said the accusations are false and are an attempt to defame him following the disproved claims in the first letter. Hardt has also released a copy of his background check, he said, to provide further information on his legal history.

Hardt and his opponent, Michael Berg, are the only two candidates for the Eagle Township seat on the ZCS school board. Because of this, Hardt said he has posted to Facebook denouncing illegal campaign mailings, and said he called on Berg to do the same.

“I call on Michael Berg to denounce illegal campaign activity as a sitting school board member,” Hardt said. “If we want to change how people talk to one another in this community, then I think we need to call on those people that are in the leadership roles to denounce illegal campaign activity.”

In an email to Current and on his facebook page, Berg denied any involvement in the mailings and stated he wants the race to focus on the issues.

“When I was made aware of the letters circulating (in) Zionsville regarding my opponent, I told Mr. Hardt I did not intend to comment to avoid drawing additional attention to them,” Berg wrote on Facebook. “Regrettably, Mr. Hardt’s recent statement implied that I may have had something to do with the anonymous distribution of the letters. I did not directly or indirectly have any responsibility for those letters, and I fully comply with my campaign finance obligations.”

The release from the prosecutor’s office urged residents to report any information regarding anonymous political mailings to local law enforcement.