Democratic Seat on Registry Board Left Empty Since April, 2011

The Registry of Election Finance has had a vacancy on its board of directors for more than a year, apparently because of a failure to communicate.
Wade Hinton of Chattanooga resigned as a member of the six-member panel in April 2011, according to registry Executive Director Drew Rawlins. He held a seat designated under state law to be appointed by the governor from a list of nominees submitted by the state Democratic Party.
Brandon Puttbrese, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said “a pretty exhaustive search” turned up no indication that the party ever received any notice of the vacancy. David Smith, spokesman for Gov. Bill Haslam, said the administration has received no list to act upon.
The registry board’s next scheduled meeting is Sept. 5 with two potentially controversial items on the agenda — a complaint about Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett’s campaign finance disclosures and a hearing on whether Nashville businessman Andrew Miller used a political action committee as an illegal “conduit” to get around limits on political donations to legislative candidates.
“At this point, we’ll be happy to put forth names to have more Democratic oversight,” said Puttbrese after being asked about the vacancy.
The seat will remain vacant at the Sept. 5 meeting since no Executive Committee meeting is scheduled until later in the month, he said.
The board was set up to have an even balance between the two major parties. The House and Senate Republican caucuses each get an appointment and so do the House and Senate Democratic caucuses. Haslam is a Republican, but a Democrat was governor when the law was passed. Haslam gets two appointments, one from a list submitted by the Republican Executive Committee, the other from a list submitted by the Democratic Executive Committee.

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