Monthly Archives: September 2010

Herron Campaign Files FEC Complaint Against Fincher

News release from Herron for Congress campaign:
DRESDEN, Tenn. – A Roy Herron for Congress spokesman said today he hopes the Federal Election Commission will launch an investigation into Stephen Fincher after a prominent election-law attorney filed a complaint over a mysterious campaign loan Fincher may have obtained illegally.
View the Complaint
The contribution in question is a $250,000 loan from Gates Banking and Trust to Fincher for campaign purposes. Fincher reportedly took out the loan on July 8, but withheld the terms of the bank loan from his report filed with the FEC — a major violation of federal campaign finance laws.

Continue reading

Bredesen Names Three Republicans to Board of Regents

Gov. Phil Bredesen named three Republicans to the state Board of Regents Wednesday to replace three resigning members and bring the panel into compliance with state law.
The new members are Tom Griscom, former executive editor of the Chattanooga Times-Free Press; Emily J. Reynolds, who served as chief of staff to former Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Frist; and Danni Varlan of Knoxville, president of East Tennesseans for Airfare Competition and wife of U.S. District Court Judge Tom Varlan.
Resigning from the board were Pamela P. Fansler of Knoxville, Judy T. Gooch of Oak Ridge and J. Stanley Rogers of Manchester.
A controversy had arisen earlier after Republican state senators pointed out that state law requires at least three members of the Board of Regents be Republicans. Democrat Bredesen, who has appointed all members, said he was unaware of the law and promised two weeks ago to “fix the situation.”
Bredesen announced the appointments Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the Senate Education Committee completed two days of hearings on the Board of Regents. The hearings centered on the board’s selection of John Morgan, deputy governor to Bredesen, as chancellor of the Regents system.
“I want to thank the three former members of the Board of Regents for their honorable service and their contributions to higher education and the state of Tennessee,” said Bredesen.
“Pam, Judy and Stanley are true heroes, both for their service to the Board of Regents and for their willingness to help me reconcile issues that have been raised regarding the makeup of the Board. These three individuals have more than 20 years of combined service to the Board of Regents and have always acted in the best interests of the students and faculty of these institutions.”
The full news release from Bredesen is below:

Continue reading

Regents on Day 2 of Senate Hearings: We Could Have Done Better

By Lucas L. Johnson II
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some members of the Tennessee Board of Regents acknowledged Wednesday that the process used to select the latest chancellor probably could have been carried out better to deflect criticism.
The Senate Education Committee met for a second consecutive day to discuss the composition of the board and how candidates for the chancellor position were chosen.
Several committee members have been critical of the board’s recent selection of John Morgan, deputy to the governor, to lead the TBR system.
The board selected Morgan after rewriting the job qualifications to fit his education level and experience and after interviewing only Morgan from among six applicants.
Board member John Farris said “from an appearance standpoint,” some of the other candidates should have been interviewed.
“I asked the question should we interview more candidates, and there was not a lot of interest in doing that,” Farris told reporters outside Wednesday’s hearing.

Continue reading

Cooper Wants a New Nashville Courthouse

News release from U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper:
Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) will testify before the House Judiciary Committee today to advocate for federal funding for a new Nashville courthouse. Cooper helped create the Courthouse Caucus, a 16 member group focused on restoring regularly scheduled funding for the construction of federal courthouses in the communities with the greatest need.

Continue reading

Supremes Adopt New Rules For Lawyers

Release from the Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Supreme Court today filed an order adopting revisions to its Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern the ethical behavior of attorneys. The changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs), which fall under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 8, provide additional clarity for attorneys regarding their ethical obligations and enhance the safeguards for clients of attorneys practicing in Tennessee. The changes were prompted by a Tennessee Bar Association petition filed with the Court in May 2009.
Although most of the changes to the RPCs were technical in nature, there are some notable new provisions. For example, the amended RPCs now include a provision dictating that prosecutors who discover credible evidence that someone might have been wrongfully convicted of a crime are required to take steps to further investigate and, in some instances, to work to remedy the conviction.

Continue reading

McWherter Radio Ad Questions Haslam’s Conservative Credentials

Here’s the text of a Mike McWherter radio ad, running on conservative talk shows around the state. It is read by a male narrator:
“Let’s take a look at what being a conservative means to bill Haslam.
“On guns, Haslam wanted to bring New York City gun control plans to Tennessee.
“On crime, Haslam cut police in Knoxville while violent crime’s gone up.
“On taxes, Haslam’s big oil company lobbied to raise the gas tax on Tennessee families.
“And on government spending, Haslam increased spending and raised property taxes 13 percent.
“Bill Haslam a conservative? Someone needs to get this fella a dictionary.”

Paid for McWherter for governor, Beth Franklin treasurer.

NFIB Backs Haslam: The Press Release

Release from NFIB:
NASHVILLE, Sept. 29, 2010 – The state office of the National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee’s leading small business association, has endorsed Bill Haslam for governor.
He received the grassroots endorsement of Tennessee’s small business owners today at Joslin & Son Signs, an NFIB member business in Nashville.
“Small business is the heart and soul of Tennessee’s economy, and our members appreciate Bill Haslam’s commitment to helping our entrepreneurs and small, family-run businesses grow and create jobs in this tough economic climate,” said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee.

Continue reading

TN Political News Notes, 9/29/10

Cobb Vs. Butt
Democrat state Rep. Ty Cobb says he has lived up to the campaign promises he made two years ago, but his Republican challenger says she can do a better job of putting Maury County back to work. Cobb squared off against Sheila Butt, a Columbia author, during a debate reported by the Columbia Daily Herald.
“In a year of this economy, we need to get more than a decorative fish in a fish tank,” she said. Butt was referencing a bill sponsored by Cobb that lifted a ban on aquariums in barbershops.
The bill attracted considerable media attention and was attacked by some as being a frivolous piece of legislation.
Cobb countered by saying he has fulfilled the three promises he made when first elected two years ago. Those promises were to establish a career and technical school, improve roads and fully fund pre-kindergarten and K-12 education.

TN GOP: No Refund of Brody Money
The Tennessee Republican Party says it has no plans to relinquish donations from a fundraiser and former candidate for state treasurer after allegations that he orchestrated a fraudulent insurance scheme, a party spokeswoman tells the Tennessean.
“We have no plans to do anything about contributions that were received and spent during a previous election cycle,” said Kim Ketchel, the spokeswoman. “Right now we’re talking in terms of an allegation in a lawsuit. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”
McWherter in South Pittsburg
Mike McWherter says rural Tennessee areas like Marion County are the keys to winning his bid to be the next governor of the state, according to the Chattanooga TFP.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters in South Pittsburg on Tuesday, the Democratic candidate said he’s determined to keep a presence in the outlying communities.
“They’re the ones who will really decide this election,” McWherter said. “There’s no question in my mind about that.”
Though Gov. Phil Bredesen did not show up for the rally as scheduled, McWherter said he wants to continue to build on Bredesen’s eight-year foundation of recruiting industry. (Note: An earlier story said the visit would have been Bredesen’s first ever trip to South Pittsburg.)
McWherter said creating jobs, especially in the rural areas of the state, is crucial to pulling Tennesseans out of the current economic problems.
“If you get people back to work, you’ve got consumers,” he said. “If you’ve got consumers, you’ve got revenue. I’ve never seen a business that cut its way to prosperity.

Candidate Carter Moving Along
Attorney Brett Carter says his roots are in Sumner County even though he lived in Nashville until just three months ago, outside the 6th Congressional district he hopes to win for Democrats in November.
The Tennessean report on residence says Carter began renting a home in the district shortly after filing to run for the 6th District seat incumbent Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon is vacating after 26 years. Carter’s East Nashville home is not on the market. However, he said his roots are in the district.
The reality is I was born and raised in Sumner County,” Carter said. No legal requirement exists for Carter to live in the district he seeks to represent.
“You only have to be a resident of the state,” said Blake Fontenay, Tennessee Department of State communications director
….Republican nominee state Sen. Diane Black is already making an issue of Carter’s residency outside the district. “It is not just being a resident, it is being an active part of the community and really understanding the people because you are a part of their successes and challenges,” Black said

The Talk in House District 78 (Johnson vs. Twork)

The candidates for House District 78 – incumbent Republican Philip Johnson and Democratic challenger Danny Twork – talk with the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle.
Twork, a songwriter who also teaches in Cheatham County schools and works for Gibson Guitars:
“I am a business man with national and international experience. I am not trained to listen to the motives or the guidelines of a party. I listen to the people, and I have found that they are tired of the way my opponent has played party politics at their expense. They question the ethics and the motives behind the legislation because it is not what they wanted.”
Johnson, a self-employed home inspector when not legislating:
“My conservative voting record is documented and available on the Tennessee General Assembly website … a 100 percent pro-jobs voting record from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, and the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Businesses verifies my commitment to building a Tennessee economy that provides jobs and opportunities for individuals and families to achieve personal success and prosperity.

Senators Say Regents Hearings Not Political; Regents Say Morgan the Best Man

By Lucas L. Johnson II
Members of the Senate Education Committee met Tuesday to discuss the makeup of the Tennessee Board of Regents and its hiring of a chancellor, saying their intentions aren’t political or designed to cause embarrassment.
The panel heard from higher education officials about the composition of the board and its responsibility, as well as how candidates for the position were chosen.
The committee’s agenda also included a review of Gov. Phil Bredesen’s appointments to the Regents and a state law that gives them the power to remove appointees.
Several members have been critical of the board’s recent selection of John Morgan, deputy to the governor, to lead the TBR system.
The board selected Morgan after rewriting the chancellor’s position qualifications to fit his education level and experience and after interviewing only Morgan from among six applicants.

Continue reading