Casada: Campaign finance texts warrant Durham’s resignation

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, who declined to join other GOP leaders in calling for Rep. Jeremy Durham’s resignation over sexual harassment allegations, says things are different in allegations he violated campaign finance laws, reports The Tennessean.

Casada cites text messages from Durham to Benton Smith, a former legislative assistant, campaign worker for Durham as well as an employee of Durham’s company, Battleground Title and Escrow. The messages indicate Durham transferred money from his campaign account to the company.

Casada said there is a clear difference between the text messages involving Durham and Smith and the harassment allegations Durham is facing.

“This is empirical, this is measurable, it’s his own words indicting him, where the harassment charges were she said this and he said this,” Casada said. “There was nothing to show who was right or who was wrong. It was rumors, hearsay, that kind of thing. This is Jeremy’s own words saying ‘Do this, take money out of my campaign account and put it in my business account.’ ”

…Casada’s comments come one day after the state registry of election finance board voted to audit and investigate Durham’s campaign finances dating back to 2014. The board plans to issue subpoenas for Durham’s personal bank accounts, his campaign accounts and his business bank accounts.

In a Thursday morning email to The Tennessean, Durham declined to say whether he planned to resign if the latest allegations were deemed credible.

“I think we should let the process run its course and stop rushing to convict people in the media before they have the opportunity to address the situation in a legitimate forum,” he said.

“Nothing illegal or unethical was done and I’ll be happy to fully cooperate and present any relevant information to the panel of people tasked with reviewing campaign finance matters. To suggest taking any action before that point seems premature.”

On Wednesday, Durham called Smith a “disgruntled former employee.”