Friedman links Haney to Oath Keepers; Haney responds


Shaw Friedman (left); Joe Haney

La Porte County Attorney Shaw Friedman went on the defensive against Commissioner Joe Haney in a lengthy statement before the La Porte County Council this week, accusing Haney of belonging to the controversial group Oath Keepers and being an “anti-government zealot.” Haney responded in a statement that Friedman is guilty of “unethical behavior” and said he’ll move to have Friedman fired.

Friedman said in a July 27 statement: “Now we understand why Commissioner Joe Haney has – since coming to office Jan. 1 – trafficked in conspiracy theories and simply makes up stories alleging all kinds of corruption, sleaze and wrongdoing in county government, with not a shred of evidence to back up his claims. Turns out he’s an anti-government zealot who is a member of the Oath Keepers, the radical far-right group implicated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. I call on him to publicly renounce ties to the Oath Keepers and start acting like a public servant whose only loyalties are to the people of La Porte County.”

Friedman made a lengthy statement at the July 26 county council meeting, portions of which are below:

“You’ve got an important issue before you tonight and it’s the funding request by the commissioners for creation of an Equal Employment Opportunity compliance and recruitment officer that this county very much needs. Commissioner Haney didn’t just vote against this quietly on July 7, 2021 – he not only went after our H.R. director and his fellow commissioners but then went to great lengths to spin tales of conspiracy by myself saying that we’ve all turned a ‘blind eye’ and that we’re all part of a ‘vat of filth,’ as he called it several months ago, inferring as always that there’s wrongdoing and corruption going on in county government and he’s a lonely sentinel standing up for the truth. He proceeded at that meeting to accuse me of ‘misleading him, lying to him and giving him false information,’ all the way saying that I have ‘conspired to work against him and the county.’

“Who the hell is Joe Haney to question my integrity of that of Rich Mrozinski and Sheila Matias- two public servants whose decades in public life speak for themselves? I take a back seat to no one in standing up for the people of this county and have fought ethically for them my entire legal career. It’s not that I haven’t tried to work with this guy. We met for 90 minutes in November of 2020 after the election and even after the problems earlier this year that led to me suing the auditor … I wrote to Mr. Haney urging on March 18 that we didn’t have to like each other but I urged him to be civil and collegial with his fellow commissioners and if he’d ask my office for help, we’ve give it. Things were quiet for a few months and yet he’s started up again and I’m not gonna sit still for it.

“He actually had the audacity to post on social media Friday night where he charged his fellow commissioners with being, and I quote. ‘accomplices’ as the ‘county attorney attempts in my opinion to suborn the integrity of both the commission and the council’ as I supposedly ‘unethically influence elected officials on a $1.5 million no-bid contract.’

“Mind you, the day before Wednesday’s commission meeting, I was giving a statewide video legal seminar to other attorneys entitled ‘Ensuring local governments comply with the law’ and the specific topic I was asked to lecture on was public contracts and procurement. And yet Mr. Haney saw fit to question my legal judgment and my ethics at a public meeting the very next day, when he has absolutely no training or certification in the law, medicine, architecture or engineering. Nothing.

“My roots are deep in the soil of this county – I was born and bred here – whereas Mr. Haney is a relative newcomer, having only moved here seven years ago from Porter County, where he lived between 2007 to 2014. Before that he lived in Lake County from 2001 to 2007. Before moving to Indiana, he was a Florida resident.”

Friedman went on to say that Haney filed fo Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2007, and that in 2013 Haney posted “a picture of himself on a website called ’13C Gun’ claiming to have a ‘background in medicine, from the streets as a firefighter/EMT to a level 1 Trauma Team,’ but most interestingly claiming to be a member of Oath Keepers. Where have we heard of the group before? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Oath Keepers are a ‘radical anti-government group based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government supposedly working to destroy the liberties of Americans.’ Since the Oath Keepers are implicated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, let’s hope that Mr. Haney has renounced the group and is no longer a member, but I think we know now where his paranoia about conspiracies and corruption in county government come from.”

Friedman also noted that in 2020 Haney came before the commission “to claim that the county’s mask mandate was evidence of ‘dystopian dictatorship’ and that masks posed health risk to the wearers.”

Friedman continued: “Let’s stop using terms like ‘vile and reprehensible coverups’ … and please stop with the moralizing, self-righteous certainty that you alone are some virtuous sentinel ‘speaking truth to power’ against the ‘vat of filth’ you claim you walked into. Start acting like a public servant and less like a grandstanding conspiracy theorist that would make the Oath Keepers proud.”

Haney responded in a written statement July 27:

“I have been a staunch advocate for civil liberties and civil rights for decades. I’ve been recognized by multiple national rights groups, such as the NRA, GOA and NSSF, for my advocacy for the right to self-defense for all Americans, including the importance of advocating for minorities and LGBTQ communities. I’ve spoken locally and at the state and national level in advocacy, including with elected state officials in Indianapolis.

“I am proud to be one of the only, if not the only, county commission candidate to ever be endorsed by the Gun Owners of America. I announced that in press release last year and shared it on social media as well.

“In addition to advocacy, I make educational videos on the safe and lawful use of firearms and accessories. This isn’t a secret and there are hundreds of hours of educational public videos of my speaking about and demonstrating this. Videos which have been seen by millions of people.
“I’m proud of my work as an advocate for Second Amendment and civil liberties. To be portrayed as some of fringe ‘anti-government’ person is preposterous and a lie. I am not a member of, nor associated with, the national group that call themselves Oath Keepers. Furthermore, I support peaceful protests and rallies and I oppose riots …

“I would also like to point out that Mr. Friedman has said I haven’t provided a ‘shred of evidence’ when, for example, in this most recent example I have provided my fellow commissioners and the news media with emails that prove Mr. Friedman is ghost writing for elected officials. I believe that to be unethical and flat out wrong.

“Mr. Friedman is personally attacking me to distract from the behavior he is engaging in that is, in my opinion, unethical. During the meeting last night he even wrongly claimed I have ‘no medical training.’

“I would assert the only conspiracies being asserted are those of Mr. Friedman and I call for his immediate resignation for insubordination, attempting to deceive the public and making unfounded defamatory statements. If he won’t resign, I will move he be terminated for cause.”

8 Responses to “Friedman links Haney to Oath Keepers; Haney responds”

  1. John

    Jul 28. 2021

    Oh, for heaven’s sakes, what NOW?? Can’t these guys just shut up and try to get along without any of this silliness? It gets tiresome to the constituents.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Tax Man

    Jul 28. 2021

    Sounds like typical Democratic “shut up and obey” tactics or we will charge you with everything we are doing. Thank you Joe Haney for standing up against our local swamp creatures who no longer represent the people. The no bid Franklin St bridge contract is the ultimate slap in the face to the taxpayers and should not happen – and we are supposed to believe there is only one company in the area capable of repairing the bridge. The same company has been “repairing” the bridge for years and every year it fails. Common sense tells me it is time to give a different company a chance at making those bridge repairs.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Bill Proud

    Jul 28. 2021

    Haney and Stabosz are both people who have problems getting along . Stabosz couldn’t get along with anyone when he was in city government. Now they work together disrupting county government. If Haney has anything to do with the Oath Keeper’s he is the one that needs to go. It makes you wonder where was he on January 6. They both are members of the Trump cult . THEIR poor behavior needs to stop.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim Stabosz

      Jul 28. 2021

      Bill, keep going on recklessly misrepresenting me with things you have NO BASIS to know. It’s just a reflection on your character as a party hack. On and on and on you go, with this same drivel. Never anything new. Let me make it clear to you: Just because I am a Republican does not mean I was (or was not) a supporter of Donald Trump. I could discuss my feelings about Donald Trump, but they are decidedly mixed, including the fact that (as with Mr. Friedman) I see Trump as a loathsome, detestable, morally defiled individual. But that, in this case, sometimes you hold your nose, and vote for the one who will have the best policies for the country. And with Joe Biden now seemingly being owned by the Warren/Sanders wing of the party, voting “policy” is what made the most sense to me.

      You have no right to comment on something you know nothing about.

      Reply to this comment
  4. John

    Jul 28. 2021

    Gosh, I’m sorry, Tim, but I have to go with Bill Proud here. You have great difficulties getting along with people in city/county government, and you also try to alienate those who leave comments to articles.

    Reply to this comment
    • Doug

      Sep 30. 2021

      Personally I’m very suspicious when government officials all get along with each other. It’s better to have questions asked and backs raised than one hand washing the other. Politicians who call for more ‘civility’ in government – no, no, no! – I want more ‘incivility’ to make those that abuse their power squirm and get the boot. The taxpayer gets a poor deal when blind eyes are turned for the sake of ‘let’s all get along and play nice’.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Rob.

    Jul 28. 2021

    No county contracts should ever be issued without bids, PERIOD.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Bill Proud

    Aug 03. 2021

    Tim, at least we now have a president that doesn’t look to the pillow man for advice.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply to Bill Proud