News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Today, State Representative Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Federation for Children for disseminating false information about him.
The Tennessee Federation of Children is overwhelmingly funded by Washington, D.C.-based groups, has its own political action committee based in D.C., and wants to send public tax dollars to private schools. The Federation aired a TV ad alleging that Rep. Mitchell was involved in a Ponzi scheme while working at 1Point Solutions. In fact, Rep. Mitchell lost his job for being the whistleblower that brought down the Ponzi scheme.
“These outright lies are a desperate smear attempt by out-of-state special interests who want to defeat me so they can push through their radical, right-wing, anti-public schools agenda,” said Rep. Mitchell. “These libelous claims are the exact opposite of the truth, and I’m filing suit against the Federation for these outrageous attacks on my character.”
The suit, James R. “Bo” Mitchell v. The Tennessee Federation for Children, states that the claims made by the Tennessee Federation for Children were “categorically false”, and that the statements were made “with knowledge that they were false or reckless disregard for their truth or falsity amounting to malice.”
Tennessee Federation for Children’s out-of-state PAC has already targeted and taken out legislators who voted against vouchers, spending at least $75,000 earlier this year to defeat Rep. Dennis “Coach” Roach , R-Rutledge, in the August primary election.
· Legal documents cited by the Nashville Scene show that Representative Mitchell was terminated for whistleblowing against the Ponzi scheme being run by Mr. Barry Stokes:
“Further, it cannot be reasonably doubted that Bo’s termination was based in substantial part on Bo’s whistle-blowing with respect to illegal business practices. 1 Point does not properly fund its clients’ account and has caused numerous ‘bounced’ checks. Bo was rightfully concerned about 1 Point’s breach of duty to its clients and was terminated for it.”
· According to the latest campaign finance disclosures, the Tennessee Federation for Children’s D.C.-based political action committee has received at least $275,000 this cycle connected to the American Federation for Children (AFC), a D.C.-based pro-voucher group.
The Tennessee Federation for Children received:
o $125,000 directly from AFC
o $75,000 from Betsy DeVos, the founder of AFC
o $75,000 from William Oberndorf, the chairman emeritus of AFCote
Note/UPDATE: The state Republican Party promptly rose to the ad’s defense. News release below.