After the controversial removal of William “Chink” Brown from the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission in February, Gov. Bill Haslam has finally appointed a replacement, reports Nooga.com David Watson, an executive and part owner of Mountain View Ford Lincoln in Chattanooga, will serve out the remainder of Brown’s term as the District 4 representative on the TFWC. The TFWC is the governing body over the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The 13 members have authority over hunting, fishing and boating regulations in Tennessee.
In the letter notifying Watson of his appointment, the governor wrote, “In the thorough and aggressive search for candidates, your individual characteristics and professional qualifications were exceptional among the number of nominees who expressed interest.”
Watson’s appointment will last until February 2015; however, insiders think it is possible that Watson will be reappointed for another six-year term at that point, although that is not guaranteed.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man was charged Wednesday in a scheme involving former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s income tax returns during the 2012 campaign.
The U.S. Justice Department said a federal grand jury in Nashville indicted Michael Mancil Brown, 34, of Franklin, and charged him with six counts of wire fraud and six counts of extortion.
Brown is accused of having an anonymous letter delivered to the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP accounting firm in Franklin last August, demanding that $1 million in digital currency be deposited to a Bitcoin account to keep some of Romney’s income tax returns from being released. The Justice Department said Brown falsely claimed that he had gained access to the PricewaterhouseCoopers internal computer network and stolen tax documents for Romney and his wife, Ann Romney, for tax years before 2010.
Former Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown, who recently lost his syndicated television courtroom over a contract dispute with CBS, may seek the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Lamar Alexander, reports The Commercial Appeal.. That’s what the flamboyant Brown, whose 15-year stint as a television judge ends next month, told The Hollywood Reporter recently. According to the publication, the judge “says he also is considering offers to get involved in politics, which could include a run for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee.”
A business partner responding to a text message at his newly created Milwaukee-based company Celebritunity, who identified himself as A-Sun Truth, said that Brown, 65, was not immediately available Tuesday.
Tennessee State Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, said Brown told him Tuesday he was not ready to confirm a bid, but passed along this quote from the judge: “All aspects concerning the ‘Campaign For Justice’ will be revealed in due time.”
As a television judge, media reports indicate Brown was paid somewhere between $5 million and $20 million in recent years for his daytime arbitration-based reality show. That could mean a self-financed run for Brown against Alexander, 72, a former two-term governor and former U.S. Secretary of Education seeking his third six-year term in the senate.
Brown maintains an active Shelby County Election Commission voter registration with an address in Germantown. He should not be confused with the Memphis City Council member with the same first and last name.
Union University political science department chairman Dean F. Evans in Jackson. Tenn., said he had not heard of Brown as a potential Senate candidate, and suggested his campaign might be an uphill fight.
— Note: For more, see Jackson Baker’s piece on Judge Joe.
Angering Tennessee’s two Republican senators, President Barack Obama again wants Senate consideration of energy efficiency expert Marilyn Brown for a full term on the TVA board of directors, reports Paul Barton of Gannett’s Washington bureau. The nomination, sent to Capitol Hill Thursday night, comes more than two months after Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker used Senate procedures to block Obama’s previous attempt to appoint her to a six-year term.
Brown, who came to the board in 2010 to fill out the a vacated term and served through the end of 2012, is widely recognized for her expertise in energy efficiency and other “sustainable” energy policies. She teaches in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy after formerly working for the Department of Energy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
“This is another example of the Obama White House not listening,” Alexander said in a statement Friday.
“I told the White House in advance that the TVA board needs a nominee with a better understanding of the relationship between low electricity rates and better jobs in the Tennessee Valley. The Senate now has the responsibility to exercise its constitutional role of advice and consent on the nominee.”
Corker was even more critical.
“TVA needs leaders who enthusiastically support the mission of producing economical electricity and have an abiding appreciation of its important economic development role and impact on the well-being of Valley residents,” he said.
“Unfortunately, during my discussions with Dr. Brown, it was clear she does not share that point of view.”
News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office:
(February 25, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) congratulates Dr. Jeff McMillin of Bristol on his election as chairman of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC). The TFWC works with the State Legislature to provide direction and oversight to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Dr. McMillin was appointed to the commission by Lt. Governor Ramsey in 2009 and elected chairman at the commission’s February meeting.
“I am extremely proud to see Jeff elected chairman of the TWRA. His deep and abiding love of the outdoors cannot help but be transmitted to everyone with whom he comes in contact,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “As a fellow outdoorsman, I have appreciated Jeff’s dedication to serving on this commission. He is a treasure to the state and the perfect person to oversee TWRA’s mission of conservation and preservation of Tennessee’s fish and wildlife.”
A native of Sullivan County, Dr. Jeff McMillin has been a practicing dentist in Bristol, Tennessee since 1981. After graduating with honors from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1978, he acquired his doctorate of dental surgery (DDS) from University of Tennessee Memphis in 1981. Dr. McMillin has lived his entire life in Tennessee and his hobbies include hunting ducks, turkey and big game, saltwater, river and stream fishing. He also enjoys planting food plots and improving wildlife habitat on his hunting property in East Tennessee. Dr. McMillin and his wife, Debbie have two adult children, Bart and Sara, and one grandson, Colt.
Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission oversees Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The TWRA was established in 1949 and completely reorganized in 1974. It now consists of more than 600 professionals dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of Tennessee’s fish and wildlife for the enjoyment of all Tennesseans and visitors.
– Note: The selection of McMillin as chairman comes after the previous chairman, William ‘Chink’ Brown of Chattanooga, was effectively removed as a member of the commission by the Legislature’s refusal to confirm Brown’s appointment to a new term by Gov. Bill Haslam. Previous post HERE. A spokesman for Ramsey says McMillan’s election as chairman, preceeded the effective rejection of Brown’s confirmation, contrary to an earlier version of this post.
Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission Chairman William “Chink” Brown’s Senate confirmation vote for a new term on the panel may be dead in the water, according to the Chattanoga Times-Free Press.
Freshman Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, on Thursday “bumped” the confirmation of Brown, a Signal Mountain attorney and former judge, from a consent calendar. The consent calendar is a list of usually noncontroversial bills and resolutions that are passed en masse on any given day on the Senate floor.
Other nominees to the Fish and Wildlife Commission were confirmed. But Brown’s nomination was re-referred to the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Senators say at least five of the nine-member committee won’t vote to send Brown’s nomination back to the Senate floor.
…At least part of the opposition appears to come from residual resentment by some lawmakers over a two-year battle they fought with the TWRA and the-then Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission, which oversaw the agency.
Brown was chairman of the commission during the fight. The commission eventually was renamed and other changes made.
Gardenhire, elected to the Senate last fall after the flap, said Thursday evening he had warned a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency official, which the commission oversees, over a week ago that he wouldn’t be voting for Brown “but I wouldn’t do anything to cause attention to it.”
…Brown, a Democrat, was renominated by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.
Gardenhire said he warned an administration official last weekend that Brown’s confirmation was in danger but no one got back with him to discuss it.
Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker blocked Senate consideration of confirming President Obama’s nomination of Marilyn Brown for a new term on the TVA board, reports the Chattanooga TFP, while supporting confirmation of four new members. The renomination of two-year board veteran Marilyn Brown, an expert and advocate of energy efficiency, was not offered to Senate members for approval.
“We respect her professional credentials, but we encourage the president to send another nominee with credentials better suited to the TVA board,” according to a Wednesday joint statement from Corker and Alexander.
Brown, a co-recipent of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for co-authorship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, praised the Senate for approving the other four nominees, but expressed disappointment with Corker and Alexander’s characterization of her qualifications.
“I think … I’m qualified and have really pulled my weight on the board being the chair of the newly formed nuclear oversight committee for two years, which has been quite an active committee responsibility and a very important one,” she said.
President Obama has nominated Mike McWherter, the 2010 Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor, to fill one of five current vacancies on the TVA Board of Directors.
Obama also nominated V. Lynn Evans, a Memphis accountant, and Joe H. Ritch, a Huntsville, Ala., attorney, as new members of the board while proposing to give Marilyn A. Brown, a current board member whose term has expired, a new term on the nine-member panel.
The president in February had nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., to a TVA board seat, but Mahurin’s nomination has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The four nominations announced Friday in a White House news release are also subject to Senate confirmation.
The nominations come with the Senate planning to recess until after the November election and with Tennessee’s U.S. Sen. Bob Corker declaring the “entire TVA governance structure” should be re-examined with an eye toward reform.
They also come with the TVA board facing the task of selecting a new CEO to replace Tom Kilgore, whose announced retirement takes effect at the end of the year..
Two lawyers named to a state panel to decide whether Tennessee’s system for selecting judges meets constitutional muster also lead a group that lobbies against judicial elections, according to TNReport. George H. Brown and William Muecke Barker are both listed as board members of Tennesseans for Fair and Impartial Courts, an organization that fights against “misguided individuals and groups … pushing to replace our merit based system with state-wide partisan elections.”
Brown and Barker, along with three other lawyers, were handpicked by Gov. Bill Haslam to decide a lawsuit brought by Tennessee’s most indefatigable critic of the state’s merit-based system of judicial selection, John Jay Hooker.
“(Haslam)’s thrown down the gauntlet,” said Hooker, a two-time candidate for governor who has been fighting this issue in court through various lawsuits since 1996. “He’s said these judges are my people. He’s kind of got me cut off at the pass.”
…A third lawyer Haslam selected to the special Supreme Court, Robert L. Echols, works for the Nashville law firm Bass, Berry and Simms. The telephone number listed on the Tennesseans for Fair and Impartial Courts website rings at Bass, Berry and Simms. H. Lee Barfield, a member of the firm’s state government lobbying arm, is also a board member for TFIC and is past president of the organization.
…Haslam last month handpicked all five members of the Special Supreme Court to rule on the case, a task he said his staff carefully pondered given that the governor himself is a named defendant in the case. He’s standing by his appointees in the face of a push by Hooker to disqualify the trio for the appearance of bias.
“We could have just gone in there and appointed five people who thought exactly the same way. But I honestly feel like we worked to put together a very good panel,” Haslam told TNReport in Clarksville last week.
Gov. Haslam has made no secret of his own opposition to direct judicial elections in the past, saying he fears it would inject excessive and undue political influence into Tennessee’s judicial system. He asked lawmakers early this year to constitutionalize the current appointment-driven practice of selecting judges to clear up any confusion.
The beginning of a Chattanooga Times-Free Press article: Tommie Brown reminds people that when Moses went up the mountain, he was older than 80.
Brown, a Democrat who’s been serving House District 28 in the Tennessee General Assembly for 20 years, is 78.
Her Aug. 2 Democratic primary opponent, JoAnne Favors, is 69. She served for eight years in House District 29 before the Republican-dominated Legislature this year drew both women into the 28th District.
Brown is a trailblazer for minority rights in Chattanooga battling what she sees as a public perception that she’s too old to represent the city effectively. She says she feels like she’s up against leaders of her own local party, whose ideals she says she’s fought for her whole life.
“The two of us should be able to run a race that would make everyone stop and think ‘This is how it should be done,'” Brown said Wednesday. “But I’m just baffled.”
Favors, who, while widowed with four children, became the first black woman elected to the Hamilton County Commission, acknowledges Brown’s influence in Chattanooga.
But Favors says she has to run. People begged her to, saying that the county needs her, she said.
Area Democrats are watching, most publicly saying little, knowing that at least one of their two highest-profile leaders will be staying home come January. The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will face Republican Johnny Horne in the November general election.
“Whoever wins and whoever loses, I think Democrats lose a significant voice in Nashville,” said former county Democratic Party Chairman Stuart James.