LAWRENCEBURG, IN (FOX19) - Indiana State Police investigators have closed a vote buying case involving Lawrenceburg City Councilman Mike Lawrence. Troopers opened the case more than a week ago and ended the investigation Friday, classifying the case as "unsubstantiated."
Two state investigators met with Lawrence inside his business office to question him about allegations Lawrence bought votes in his primary against incumbent Mayor Dennis Carr. The interview happened Tuesday and lasted nearly 30 minutes.
"I think it's very dirty politics," Lawrence told FOX19 during an interview inside his business Thursday afternoon. "I believe there's some people in fear because if I win, their way of life will change," Lawrence said.
Lawrence said investigators never told him the specifics of the allegations, but he got the details from others involved in the case. The claims were that Lawrence was buying Walmart gift cards and giving them away to potential voters who promised to cast votes for Lawrence in the May 5 primary.
The allegations also included claims that Lawrence was involved with fraudulent absentee ballots. We do not have the specifics surrounding the ballot allegations.
"They just asked me if I'd ever given gift cards to anybody or offered anything. I told them I've given out t-shirts and frisbees and pens; stuff like that--and literature and that's it," Lawrence said.
State police conducted multiple interviews in Lawrenceburg this week which included at least one other elected official. We have not been able to confirm the name of the official with the Indiana State Police.
Thursday, we requested the initial complaint from ISPS but have not received it. ISP spokesman, MTpr. Tommy Walker, Jr. confirmed the end of the investigation to FOX19 in an email Friday.
"The Indiana State Police did open an inquiry into allegations of voter fraud of a Lawrenceburg Mayoral candidate. The inquiry has been closed and the matter has been classified as unsubstantiated. Thank you," Walker wrote in an email.
Lawrence is running against incumbent Mayor Dennis Carr in the town's Democrat primary. During an interview with FOX19 Thursday afternoon, Carr denied knowing anything about the allegations or from where they came.
"I couldn't even tell you who would have reported such a thing," Carr said, "All I know is there were several investigators here talking to a lot of people."
Lawrence had a message for the people--or person--who reported the allegations to state police: "Get a longer shovel. I don't have anything to hide. I'm 40 years old and I've worked hard at having a good record and I plan on keeping it that way."