Registry Votes to Take No Action Against Tim Burchett

Tennessee’s Registry of Election Finance today unanimously agreed to take no action against Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, ending its inquiry into a series of irregularities in his campaign disclosure forms.
The decision, members said, comes in the wake of 11 amendments the mayor filed last week with local election officials and a 24-page affidavit he submitted to the state that accuses his now ex-wife of engaging “in a pattern of deception by transferring thousands of dollars to various accounts for her own “personal benefit” and without his knowledge.
The mayor’s attorney, Stephen Zralek, said today that Burchett “went to great lengths” in an attempt to reconcile his campaign books and that the discrepancies are “evidence of a sad divorce” in which “it appears that his ex-wife was funneling campaign funds for her own personal use.”
“This is not a blame game,” Zralek said. “This is reality. The mayor should not have trusted his ex-wife for so many reasons, the least of which is his campaign funds.”
Burchett, who did not attend the meeting, was facing as much as a $10,000 fine for each accounting irregularity.
The six-member state panel, however, said that the mayor’s work is not done, noting that he still needs to at least “zero-out” his statements, since they reflect a negative $15,537 in his political account.
“You certainly have work to do to bring that balance to a positive balance or a zero balance, so keep that accountant busy,” registry member Lee Anne Murray told Zralek.
The attorney, though, said he didn’t know if the campaign “will ever get a complete and accurate picture — we’ve disclosed everything.”
He said Allison Beaver “has refused to cooperate” and turn over receipts and accounting information so “there will always be some confusion about these accounts.”
He said Burchett “takes the ultimate responsibility for complying with the law, but like most of us he trusted those who are closest to us.”
The mayor did not attend today’s “show cause” hearing at Zralek’s request.

The full story from Mike Donila is HERE.

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