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Common Cause names Hogsett 'Mr. Clean'

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U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett received the Mr. Clean award on Thursday from Common Cause Indiana for his prosecutions of public officials accused of wrongdoing. Photo by Alec Gray, TheStatehouseFile.com
  • U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett received the Mr. Clean award on Thursday from Common Cause Indiana for his prosecutions of public officials accused of wrongdoing. Photo by Alec Gray, TheStatehouseFile.com
Common Cause Indiana presented its Mr. Clean Award to U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett on Thursday for his efforts to fight against government corruption.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett received the Mr. Clean award on Thursday from Common Cause Indiana for his prosecutions of public officials accused of wrongdoing. Photo by Alec Gray, TheStatehouseFile.com Hogsett is only the third person to receive the award since Common Cause created it in 2010.

Roberta Schonemann, the organization's governing board chair, said the group had hoped to present the award to a recipient yearly, but "legislative efforts to strengthen our ethics, campaign and transparency laws have stalled in recent years, so the award has been on hiatus."

"We decided to bring it out of hibernation this year to highlight the efforts of United States Attorney Joe Hogsett to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of public corruption in the Southern District of Indiana," Schonemann said.

Hogsett, a native of Rushville, has a very simple message for all who serve in public office.

"We ourselves must change," he said.

He said the U.S. Attorney's Office is working to hold all public officials accountable for their actions.

"Indiana is not for sale. The public's trust is not a commodity that is negotiable," he said.

Julia Vaughn, Common Cause Indiana's policy director, said Indiana legislators need to "raise the bar" and encouraged them to crack down on unethical behavior.

"While it's comforting to know that we have someone willing to enforce the law, Indiana has for too long tolerated an environment within state and local government that does not foster ethical behavior," she said. "Our laws regarding lobbying, campaign funding and disclosure and conflict of interest must be strengthened to ensure that decisions being made are not tainted by the personal interests of the decision makers."

Hogsett said the only way for public officials to maintain the public trust is to be transparent and ethical.

"Our work is about thing and one thing only and that is doing the right thing. It doesn't matter who you are or who you were, it doesn't matter who you know or what personal politics you happen to hold," Hogsett said. "If you violate the public's trust, my commitment is to hold you fully accountable."

Alec Gray is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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