Author: Daniels PAC Not Abused In Exploring White House Bid
December 8, 2014 — Ray Steele, Network Indiana — One of the men who tried to talk Mitch Daniels into running for president denies claims that the former governor‘s political action committee was misused while he thought about a White House run.
The new book “Run Mitch, Run” by PR executive Don Cogman chronicles the internal debate between Daniels, his family and advisers in 2011 before Daniels ultimately decided against seeking the Republican presidential nomination. But in the book, Cogman writes about dinners Daniels hosted at the Governor‘s mansion, dinners which were questioned as a proper use of the mansion by state Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. Cogman, who has known Daniels for more than three decades, said the dinners were used to talk about several things, including topics that might come up in a presidential run. “They were entirely appropriate. We never raised money for a campaign, because there was no campaign,” Cogman said.
However, some who attended the dinners donated to Daniels‘s Aiming Higher PAC, whose mission was to get a Republican majority elected to the legislature and to promote the then-governor‘s agenda before the General Assembly. Zody told reporter Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that he wondered why the governor‘s mansion was being used for politics when Daniels and his wife, Cheri, never lived there during his term. Zody also wondered whether money raised for Aiming Higher was used to explore a Daniels presidential campaign, which was not its purpose.
Cogman said the dinners were also designed to let Daniels talk about his desire for one last reform measure while he was governor, and the adviser says contributions were voluntary. “We said if you want to contribute to a state PAC to help him with this initiative, that‘d be great. But (the dinners) were not fundraising events,” Cogman said. “It was only when asked what they could do to help that we said ‘here‘s several ways you could help‘.”
Cogman says Daniels was about 80-percent sure that he would seek the presidential nomination in 2012, but that Cheri and other members of his family opposed the idea, and ultimately, family won out. Daniels accepted his current position as president of Purdue University before he left office.