On Ron Ramsey, Red Tape & the Little Hatch Act

Mike Morrow delves into the matter of whether Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey violated the law — as alleged by Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester (prior post HERE) — in the financing and operation of his anti-red tape website. Excerpt from his TNReport report:
Ramsey produced a letter Thursday from Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, dated that day, saying Rawlins is not aware that any statute enforced by the Tennessee Ethics Commission was violated when Ramsey’s PAC created the site.
But the state Democratic Party says that’s not the problem.
“What Governor Ramsey asked is not the correct question,” said Brandon Puttbrese, communications director for the Tennessee Democratic Party. “He got the answer he was looking for. The serious question here is if using his official office to promote his PAC website is a violation of the Little Hatch Act.”
The Little Hatch Act refers to a law regarding the involvement of government employees for political purposes. The law prohibits public officers and employees from participating in any political activity while on duty (pdf). Tennessee’s Little Hatch Act mirrors the federal Hatch Act.
Rawlins, when contacted by TNReport Friday afternoon, said Ramsey’s question was not submitted in writing.
The ethics commission executive director said the question from Ramsey arose because the lieutenant governor apparently “wanted to make sure there was no ethics violation by RAAMPAC paying for the website.”
“I viewed the website and did not see any ethics violation, and that’s why I wrote the letter,” Rawlins said. “But there wasn’t any written request for a letter from me.”
Rawlins said his office does not handle alleged Little Hatch Act violations. Rawlins said he wasn’t sure who would look into Little Hatch Act allegations. He said he was not asked by Ramsey if it was appropriate or a potential violation of law to have his publicly funded staff doing work on the website.
“That was not a question I was asked, and I would not have answered that one because we do not have authority over that,” Rawlins said.

2 thoughts on “On Ron Ramsey, Red Tape & the Little Hatch Act

  1. JON HENSLEY

    COULD SOMEONE TELL ME WHO TO CONTACT TO FIND OUT IF THE HATCH ACT WAS VIOLATED IF A STATE EMPLOYEE ESCORTED A PERSON RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE ON STATE PROPRTY WHERE HE WORKS AND STATES THAT THIS PERSON IS RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.THE PERSON RUNNING IS NOT AN ELECTED OFFICAL AT THIS TIME.

  2. JON HENSLEY

    COULD SOMEONE TELL ME WHO TO CONTACT TO FIND OUT IF THE HATCH ACT WAS VIOLATED IF A STATE EMPLOYEE ESCORTED A PERSON RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE ON STATE PROPRTY WHERE HE WORKS AND STATES THAT THIS PERSON IS RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.THE PERSON RUNNING IS NOT AN ELECTED OFFICAL AT THIS TIME.

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