Registry Board Rejects Complaint Against Matheny

The Registry of Election Finance on Wednesday dismissed a complaint of campaign finance law violations filed against House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, by a voter in his district.
The complaint filed by Wilburn M. Hart of Estill Springs had three parts.
First, Hart noted that 3D Financial PAC of Tullahoma gave CAS-PAC, a political action committee operated by state Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove, a $7,500 contribution in October of 2008. Casada’s PAC then gave Matheny a $7,400 contribution at about the same time. Matheny reported receiving the money on his disclosures in two chunks — $5,000 as a general election donation and $2,400 as a primary election donation.
The complaint says the $7,500 exceeded the $5,000 limit that applied at the time to PAC donations in House races. Further, Hart said it appeared CAS-PAC acted as a “conduit” to Matheny from the 3D Financial PAC in violation of law.
Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Registry, said the splitting of the contribution was legal and, as for the rest, state law prohibits any penalties for violations after two years have passed from the paperwork being filed, absent a showing of fraud. No fraud was even alleged in the complaint, he said.
Second, the complaint notes that records indicate Matheny received per diem expense payments from the Legislature and about the same time records of Matheny’s PAC show the PAC as paying for motel stays. Rawlins said the Registry has nothing to do with per diem payments and payments for lodging are an appropriate expense for a PAC.
Third, the complaint provided copies of records indicating that Matheny had reported the same campaign expenditures for gas in two places — as itemized expenses and as unitemized expenses. Rawlins said that, had the Registry staff noticed that situation, Matheny would probably have been sent a letter pointing out what appears to be a simple error and asking for a corrected filing.
The Registry board voted unanimously to dismiss all three allegations. Neither Matheny nor Hart attended the board’s meeting.

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