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Governor Meets with “Reverends in Gary” Who “Tell Them How to Vote”
Marion Johnson and Marlon Mack were caught on video last year bragging that they could deliver votes for cash.
May 1, 2017-Gazette readers who viewed the Reverends in Gary video (below) when it was published last year were outraged, calling for an investigation into the apparent criminal activity depicted. Instead, Reverend Marion Johnson and Reverend Marlon Mack got a private meeting with the Governor on Friday. As shown in the flyer from the event, above, Marion Johnson and Marlon Mack are listed as members of the host committee for a private meeting with the Governor which Occurred on April 27, 2017 in Gary.
In the video below, Marion Johnson and Marlon Mack make clear that they are no fans of Republicans. They brag about giving parishioners donuts and chicken and telling them how to vote. At 6:08 in the video Marlon Mack explains “but if you have stuff for them, they not going anywhere. They going to do exactly what you direct them to do.” More shocking, they clearly lay out that they want cash for doing so . . .untraceable cash, no checks. “It’s got to be passed confidential through the pastor” Marlon Mack says referring to payment. At 6:42 in the video Marlon Mack says “He could make the check to you. You cash the check and just bring the cash.” Mack even suggests that the contribution could be a charitable donation, implying that a donor could obtain a tax deduction for a non-deductible political expenditure. “Or he could make the check to a particular church and then it works out as a charitable donation, mainly because it looks like he just gave a donation to the church.”
Marion Johnson is also a member of the un-elected Gary Redevelopment Commission which stands to benefit from a pair of bills signed by the Governor just prior to the event. Governor Holcomb signed House Bill 1144 and Senate Bills 128 and 567 at, or just prior to, the events. The trio of bills strip local elected officials of power and, in the case of HB1144 and SB128 hand power over to the un-elected RDA and local Redevelopment Commissions. The Munster Town Council and Mayor Thomas McDermott of Hammond have both said the disastrous House Bill 1144 will create a “shadow government.” Senate Bill 128 was designed to take money directly from cities and towns who have stated they could not afford their prior pledge to the West Lake Extension or have reconsidered their provisional commmitments.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was a sponsor of the event. Mayor Freeman-Wilson originally signed a resolution opposing House Bill 1144 but later sent a letter stating that her concerns had been addressed. Gary Council President Ron Brewer stated that House Bill 1144 “would devastate our community.”
A press release for a public event stated that the Governor would be meeting with “Minister’s Task Force of Gary.” We asked the Governor’s office for details on the Minister’s Task Force of Gary but did not receive a reply. It is unclear if the Governor has seen the Reverends in Gary video, compiled by the Project Veritas. We hope he sees it now if he has not yet.