Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 13, 2013

No charges in Voter Registration investigation

Democratic Party rep accused of ghost employment in office.

By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — There will be no criminal charges filed against the former Democratic Party representative in the Howard County Voter’s Registration office.

Prosecutor Mark McCann announced Tuesday his office will not be filing charges against Beth Rakestraw, partly because she is no longer employed by Howard County.

Rakestraw resigned from her position in the Voter’s Registration office earlier this year.

“Based upon the investigation and information provided to our office by the Indiana State Police, and the fact that Mrs. Rakestraw no longer is employed with the Voter’s Registration office, it is found that although Mrs. Rakestraw’s conduct may have risen to the level of misfeasance/malfeasance, the State has declined to file charges at this time,” McCann said in a press release.

Allegations of ghost employment and misuse of county-owned equipment were raised against Rakestraw in May 2012 by Republican Carol Shallenberger.

Shallenberger said Rakestraw performed “get-out-the-vote” activities on the Saturday before the May 2012 primary while being paid by the county and using county-owned property to make political calls.

The allegations surfaced when Shallenberger refused to sign the pay voucher for the six employees in the office because Rakestraw claimed to have worked 8.5 hours, indicating on the time sheet that she did “GOTV” for the party.

The Indiana State Police were asked to investigate the allegations against Rakestraw by Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers. ISP reviewed county computer records as part of the investigation.

The Howard County Employee Handbook prohibits the use of county property for political activity, including telephones, computers and fax machines. It also prohibits political activity during working hours.