Tag Archives: andrew

Andrew Miller: PAC Donations ‘a Timing Issue’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state board that regulates campaign finance in Tennessee has launched an investigation to determine whether a Middle Tennessee health care investor used a political action committee he funded to skirt the law limiting campaign contributions.
The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance sent letters this week to Andrew Miller of Nashville and the Truth Matters PAC. The letters say the board is looking into whether Miller used the PAC as a conduit to exceed the $1,400 per election limit on individual donations to a single campaign.
Registry records show that Miller was the only contributor to the PAC, donating $71,000 to it in July. The PAC contributed to 10 legislative campaigns. Eight of the candidates, including three lawmakers, also reported receiving contributions totaling $11,300 this year from Miller.
If the investigation finds that the PAC was a conduit, the registry can levy fines that exceed the amount of the donations against Miller, the PAC and its treasurer, Tracy Miller, who is Andrew Miller’s brother. The campaigns also would be forced to return the donations.

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On Middle TN Money and the Defeat of an East TN Republican

Veteran state Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough, was defeated in his bid for reelection by Micah Van Huss, a first-time candidate who owes much of his campaign success to a generous benefactor in Middle Tennessee, says Robert Houk.
How could a political newcomer like Van Huss pull off such a win? The answer is easy — money. And not his own. A report in The Tennessee Journal (a weekly newsletter dedicated to Tennessee politics and business) noted that Andrew Miller, a Nashville businessman, was “financing independent radio attacks on state Sen. Doug Overbey, and Reps. Charles Sargent, Debra Maggart and Dale Ford in their Republican primaries.”
…Miller’s direct involvement in the 6th District race troubles some Washington County Republicans. One asked, “Why in the world would someone in Middle Tennessee care about who we send to Nashville?”
Several local government officials also told me they were disappointed to see Ford lose his seat in the House because they considered him to be their go-to guy in Nashville. That’s not something they say of Hill.
Republicans eating their own is certainly not new, at least not in Northeast Tennessee. Ford’s defeat reminds more than a few local politicos of the 2004 GOP primary that saw Hill knock off incumbent Rep. Bob Patton, R-Johnson City. Hill was aided in that race by a series of attack ads funded by individuals who lived outside the 7th District.

Miller Funding PAC Attacks in TN Legislative Races, Too

A wealthy Nashville health care investor has given more than $120,000 to two new political action committees that have used most of the money to attack incumbent Republican state legislators or help their challengers in the last days of campaigning.
The sole donor to the two new PACs is Andrew E. Miller, who last week gained national attention by giving $260,000 to two federal-level PACs that are using the money for attacks on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.
One of the state-level PACs is Tennesseans 4 Ethics in Government, which has been given $50,250 by Miller, according to disclosures filed with the state Registry of Election Finance. The PAC used $30,263 to pay for radio ads targeting four incumbents and had $19,987 remaining as of Monday, the report says.
Targeted incumbents in the ads are Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville; Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough; Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville; and Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin. The disclosure reports spending $7,885 each on Overbey and Ford ads; $7,221 on the Maggart and Sargent ads.
The second new PAC, named Truth Matters, got $71,000 from Miller, then distributed all but about $7,500 of the money to 10 Republican candidates.
Among the donations: $7,100 each to Scott Hughes, Overebey’s opponent in Senate District 2, and Micah Van Huss, Ford’s opponent in House District 6; and Rob Hathaway, Sargent’s opponent in House District 61. Maggart’s opponent, Courtney Rogers, got $5,800.
Under state law, Miller could have given just $1,400 to a House candidate as an individual. . But a PAC can give up to $7,100 to a candidate.
Others receiving $7,100 contributions from Truth Matters PAC include two incumbents who face challengers on Aug. 2, Reps. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport; and Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby,
Also receiving donations were Republican candidates in open seats where multiple candidates are running. Those chosen for contributions by Truth Matters were Eric Chance of Morrison in Senate District 16; Timothy Hill of Blountville in House District 3; and Rob Mortensen of Nashville in Senate District 20, Rep. Jim Gotto, R-Nashville, who has no primary opponent but faces a Democrat in November, received $5,000.
Registry records also show Miller put $10,000 into another new entity, Standard Club PAC, that had not made donations to any candidates as of last week’s disclosure deadline. The new PAC received no other money.
He also gave $10,000 to a PAC operated by House Speaker Pro Temoore Judd Mathney of Tullahoma and $40,000 to Leaders of Tennessee PAC, an established PAC that donates to conservative Republicans.

Anti-Black Super PAC Total Up to $269K

USA Today has taken note of the Super PAC spending in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District Republican primary as an example of the influence such groups can have.
Two outside political action committees that have unleashed TV, radio and billboard advertising attacking Tennessee Rep. Diane Black’s congressional record are funded entirely by a businessman with close ties to her rival in next week’s Republican primary.
Andrew Miller, a Nashville health care investor, told USA TODAY he has pumped more than $260,000 into the two super PACs — Citizens 4 Ethics in Government and the Congressional Elections PAC — running anti-Black ads.
Miller previously served as finance chairman for the campaign of Black’s challenger, Lou Ann Zelenik. Miller also is on the board of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, whose top issues include opposing the spread of Islamic Sharia law. Zelenik is the group’s former executive director.
Miller said his spending helps an underfunded challenger compete against an incumbent.
“We’ve got to hold these elected officials accountable, and one of the most interesting ways has been the advent of super PACs,” he said. “The playing field can be leveled in ways it wasn’t before.”
The last-minute spending blitz by Miller in this little-noticed Tennessee House race underscores the potential of a handful of wealthy donors to shape November’s congressional and White House battles. Super PACs are a relatively new weapon in politics, unleashed by a pair of 2010 federal court rulings that allow unions, corporations and wealthy individuals to band together to raise and spend unlimited amounts in federal races.
Nearly three dozen super PACs that have raised at least $100,000 in the 2012 election have five or fewer donors, a USA TODAY analysis shows. Nearly a third of all contributions to the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future — the super PAC that has raised the most money — have come in chunks of least $1 million each.
Campaign-finance experts say super PACs’ greatest influence may be felt in House contests. In 2010, the average winner of a House race spent $1.4 million — a tiny fraction of the $730 million President Obama spent to win the White House two years earlier, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Anti-Black Super PAC Backer Says He Gave $180K

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A super political action committee is working against U.S. Rep. Diane Black in the Aug. 2 primary and its sole contributor was formerly the chief fundraiser for Black’s opponent, Lou Ann Zelenik.
Black’s campaign charges that this violates federal rules that require PACs to operate independently from campaigns. Zelenik’s campaign vigorously denies any coordination with Citizens 4 Ethics in government.
The political blog Open Secrets reported this week that thousands of dollars raised by Citizens 4 Ethics has come from Andrew Miller of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.
The group has spent more than $30,000 on the 6th District primary, according to the Federal Election Commission. Miller told The Associated Press that he contributed the more than $180,000 raised by the PAC and that the money spent so far is to target Black, who edged Zelenik in the 2010 primary and went on to win the seat.

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Sizing Up the Candidates in House District 17

Greg Johnson, conservative columnist who lives in Sevier County, takes a look at the House District 17 race (as lifted from the News Sentinel):
The race for the Republican nomination for state representative in the newly created 17th District could come down to voter turnout. Straddling the boundary between Sevier and Jefferson counties, district demographics tilt toward Jefferson, with 55 percent of the electorate.
But Sevier County attorney Andrew Farmer stands a good chance to win his first elective office. Farmer, a “general practice” attorney, has a heap of endorsements from Sevier County politicos, and enthusiasm is high in Sevier County over the possibility of electing two native sons to the state House. In the 12th District, either state Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, or Sevierville Alderman Dale Carr will carry the Sevier County banner in Nashville.
Farmer faces Jefferson County Commissioner Roger Griffith and retired businessman Larry Boggs of Dandridge in the Aug. 2 primary. Griffith, an engineer by trade, has shown a depth and breadth of understanding of the issues and has been impressive in debates. Boggs has been solid, if not quite as charismatic as Farmer or as passionate as Griffith.
Boggs, Farmer and Griffith all pass conservative litmus tests by saying they are pro-life, pro-gun owners, anti-tax and anti-spending. But Farmer wavers from conservative orthodoxy on education, refusing to support school vouchers even though the state Senate passed a voucher bill last session and Gov. Bill Haslam has promised to support a voucher program.
Both Griffith and Boggs have blasted Farmer over his statements about teachers’ unions. Farmer said at a tea party debate he supported the National Education Association, but later he amended his stance to say he meant to say the Tennessee Education Association and local union affiliates have “done some good things.” Asked at another debate last month to name those “good things,” Farmer said, “They back our teachers.”
In debates, the frontrunners appear to be Farmer and Griffith, with Griffith demonstrating a well-researched understanding of state fiscal issues. Farmer, a newcomer to politics, answers questions in generalities, though he did criticize the Republican-backed state investment in the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
Farmer’s command of the issues may not measure up to Griffith’s and he may not be as conservative as his opponents, but geography may trump ideology and preparedness. If Boggs and Griffith split the Jefferson County vote and Sevier County voters turn out strong for Farmer, the first representative from the new 17th District could be an inexperienced moderate.

House District 17 Primary: Engineer, Lawyer, Retired Businessman

In electing their new state representative this summer, Republican voters in parts of Jefferson and Sevier counties will choose either an engineer, a lawyer or a retired businessman who wants to take tax money from the state and give it to city and county governments.
The three candidates are vying in the Aug. 2 Republican primary for the House 17th District, which was redesigned by the Legislature earlier this year.
The engineer candidate is Roger W. Griffith, 50, of Jefferson City, a married father of nine who worked 14 years for TVA, then set up his own firm, specializing in the design of mechanical systems for commercial buildings. He currently serves on the Jefferson County Commission.
The lawyer is Andrew E. Farmer, 32, who returned from a Florida honeymoon with his bride last week. He is the grandson of a former Sevier County road superintendent making his first run for public office.
The retired businessman is Larry Boggs, 71, of Dandridge, a married father of four and grandfather of seven who grew up in Mississippi and spent much of his professional career, he says, as a “rescuer of broken plants” in the apparel industry, both inside and outside the United States.

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Andrew Jackson Reprimanded

Text of letter released today by state Court of the Judiciary:
The Honorable A. Andrew Jackson
40000 Highway 48 North, Suite One
Charlotte, Tennessee 37036
RE: Complaint of James Baum
File No. 1 1-4599
Dear Judge Jackson:
This letter shall serve as a public letter of reprimand pursuant to your agreement with an investigative panel of this Court.
This reprimand relates to a complaint which was filed by attorney James Baum.
The pertinent portion of the complaint filed by Mr. Baum deals with the allegation that on July 25, 2007 you initiated a summary contempt of court against an individual for an incident which occurred outside of your presence. During the hearing, you found that person in contempt of court and ordered that she serve 10 days in jail, without appointing counsel for her, even though both the counsel for the opposing party and the guardian ad litem in the case had suggested that you do so.
Mr. Baum also alleges, in pertinent part, that in another case you found another individual in civil contempt, for failure to pay child support, without appointing that individual an attorney and without conducting a hearing to determine the individual’s ability to pay the amount of back child support that you established as an amount to be paid to purge that individual of the contempt charge.
Upon receiving notice fiom Disciplinary Counsel, you promptly responded admitting the factual basis for the complaints. You also admitted in your answer to Mr. Baurn’s complaint that you had committed an error in your failure to appoint counsel in those cases and your failure to conduct a hearing concerning the defendant’s ability to pay child support in the civil contempt proceeding. You have indicated that you will appoint counsel and have hearings as appropriate in hture cases.
Your actions in the above cases were a violation of Canon 2A which requires that
“A Judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner
that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary. ”
Accordingly this letter constitutes a public reprimand for your actions.
Sincerely yours,
Chris Craft
Presiding Judge