Tag Archives: fleishmann

Most TN Republicans Dodge Comment on Romney Remarks

Chris Carroll has collected some comments — or non-comments — from Tennessee Republicans on Mitt Romney’s belief that nearly half the nation is “dependent upon the government.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Bob Corker, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Rep. Scott DesJarlais declined interview requests Thursday, sidestepping whether they agree with the Republican presidential nominee’s comment that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves “victims” who feel they’re “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
…”Having come from humble roots, Chuck Fleischmann understands that many of those receiving government benefits would prefer to be working,” Fleischmann spokesman Alek Vey said in a prepared statement that also characterized “handouts” as “ultimately detrimental to the success of the American people.”
…”I hope to have the opportunity to work with him to put the issue in the rearview mirror and put our focus back on being a great country in all ways,” Corker said in a statement.
At the state level, Gov. Bill Haslam distanced himself from Romney’s remarks, which included a prediction that the 47 percent “will vote for this president no matter what.” The governor described Romney’s comments as “political calculus.”
“He made a statement about, ‘Hey, it might be hard to win some folks’ votes,'” Haslam said at a news briefing Wednesday. “I think our response within government obviously is to care about everyone.”
Haslam serves as state chairman of Romney’s Tennessee campaign, but said “I’m not on the inside strategy of the campaign.”

On the other hand, this from the Kingsport Times-News:
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe predicted Thursday that GOP challenger Mitt Romney will still win the presidency despite Romney’s “47 percent” remark about Americans who support incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama because they are dependent upon government.
“I might have stated it a little differently, but … we’ve got 105 million people who receive some (welfare) transfer payment…”

A Fundraising Cantor For Fleischmann, DesJarlais

Congress has a 12 percent approval rating, but two area incumbents seem happy to be linked with its most powerful leaders, observes the Chattanooga TFP in reporting that U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia is expected to make same-day fundraising appearances this month for freshman Republican U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais.
Fleischmann already has gotten a leg up from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who spoke at a $1,000-per-plate dinner in Chattanooga seven months ago. DesJarlais and Fleischmann have touted several Cantor-backed votes — prohibiting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul among them — but those votes are considered ideological battle cries with no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Asked if DesJarlais worried that Cantor’s help may be a political liability in light of a March 21 Gallup poll showing Congress with a 12 percent overall approval rating, a campaign staffer said no.
“The gridlock is primarily taking place because of conflicting ideologies,” said Brandon Lewis, DesJarlais’ campaign manager. “When you’re miles apart, sometimes it takes awhile to reach an agreement and move things forward.”

Three Million Dollar Spenders in 3rd District GOP Primary?

Aides to the three major Republican candidates in the 3rd Congressional District race tell the Chattanooga TFP that it could take $1 million to win the primary. Incumbent Chuck Fleischmann, Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp all have fundraisers scheduled to occur before the next financial disclosure deadline of March 31.
Records show at least 20 people have donated $500 or more to Fleischmann and Weston Wamp at some point, and several of those donors said they’ll contribute to Mayfield, too.
…Jim Berry, president of Republic Parking, already has given $5,000 to Fleischmann and $2,500 to Wamp, but said he plans on putting his full weight behind Mayfield.
“Scottie has a very good chance of winning,” Berry said. “I like to say I don’t like to support a loser.”
…Campaign finance records show the 20 duplicate donors have given a combined $41,600 to Fleischmann since he entered the 2010 GOP primary. The same group has donated $40,000 to Weston Wamp since he announced his candidacy in October.
Fourteen of the 20 contributed to Zach Wamp’s congressional campaigns, gubernatorial campaign or both.
Mayfield entered the race in early February, so he has not yet filed a financial disclosure.
According to the latest figures, current as of Dec. 31, Fleischmann led campaign funds with $617,000 on hand, and Wamp had $285,000 in the bank

Fleischmann, Wamp Both Raise More Than $300K in 4th Quarter

Weston Wamp began his congressional campaign by raising more money than his father ever raised during a three-month period, reports the Chattanooga TFP. But his opponent, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, still has double the younger Wamp’s war chest for the race to come.
Both men raised similar amounts between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, the period spanning last year’s final fundraising quarter. During that time, Fleischmann collected $321,230, and Wamp raked in $307,646, according to aides for both men.
John Geer, chairman of the political science department at Vanderbilt University, said the overall figures favor Fleischmann, but he considers Wamp “in the ballgame” because $300,000 and “the Wamp name” are formidable.
“He’ll have an uphill battle, but not an impossible one,” Geer said. “This is the kind of money he should be able to raise.”

Note: Both men have news releases on their fundraising. They’re below.

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Two More Ready to Run in 3rd Congressional District

Two more candidates for the 3rd District congressional seat, one Democratic and one Republican, are apparently ready to enter the fray, reports Nooga.com
At the weekly meeting of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club, club vice president Ron Bhalla announced he would be joining the field. Bhalla, a 64-year-old Indian immigrant and owner of Hixson’s Somo Enterprises Inc., said he was not running because he was disappointed in Fleischmann but instead to reform a political system that was out of order.
“I’m not against anybody, I am against the system,” Bhalla said. “Whoever they are sending to congress gets involved with external forces like lobbyists and Washington Politics and fundraising, but I won’t be getting involved in that because I won’t be sold out. I won’t be a puppet of people who want to use me for their own personal interest.”
….Bhalla’s entry to the field adds his name with Weston Wamp and Dr. Jean Howard-Hill as Republican hopefuls.
There had been no talk of any challengers from the Democratic party until Monday afternoon, when Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith confirmed that Bill Taylor of Physician Practice Resources Inc. would announce his candidacy on Thursday.
The announcement will be made at the Hamilton County Democratic Party headquarters on Thursday at 11 a.m.

…Meanwhile, Chattanooga attorney and lobbyist J.B. Bennett said he wont’ run for Congress.

Robin Smith Won’t Run for Congress Again

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Former state Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith said Friday she won’t make another run for Congress next year.
Smith, who narrowly lost the GOP nomination to the 3rd District to eventual winner Chuck Fleischmann last year, told WGOW-AM in Chattanooga that she wants to focus on business opportunities.
“I don’t wake up every morning with a desire for revenge,” Smith said.
Fleishmann is facing a challenge from 24-year-old Weston Wamp, the son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp. The elder Wamp retired from Congress to make an unsuccessful bid for governor last year.
Smith said she doesn’t plan to make an endorsement in the race.
The 3rd District stretches from Chattanooga on the Georgia border north past Oak Ridge before curling east around Knox County and touching the Kentucky border. Redistricting could significantly alter the shape of the district.
“The new district for 2012 will be very favorable for a challenger for this incumbent,” Smith said. “It’s going to be more concise, it’s going to involve most likely just one media market.
“So there were things that were very hard for me to walk away from on a personal emotional level.”
Smith didn’t rule out making a renewed bid for Congress in 2014.

Note: Robin Smith’s news release is available below

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Fleischmann Added as Defendant in Lawsuit by Former (perhaps future?) Robin Smith Aide

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is now a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that Chip Saltsman, his chief of staff, defamed and slandered an aide for the congressman’s top rival during last year’s Republican primary, according to the Chattanooga TFP..
“As Chuck Fleisch-mann’s lackey, Mr. Saltsman acted only upon the instruction and approval of Chuck Fleischmann and on his behalf,” said a court filing for Mark Winslow, the former aide to Robin Smith.
Financial disclosures show Fleischmann’s campaign has already paid $7,565.38 to the Nashville law firm defending Saltsman, raising the question of whether a sitting congressman can use campaign donations for his own legal defense.
Jordan Powell, a spokesman for Fleischmann, said the congressman “was advised by counsel not to comment on any pending litigation.” Earlier this year,
Fleischmann’s office consulted with the federal agency that oversees election law. In a May 26 advisory opinion, the Federal Election Commission determined the Saltsman legal expenditures were campaign-related and not for “personal use.” The opinion did not address whether a congressman is allowed to use such funds, but it hinted at the issue.
…Fleischmann became a defendant in Winslow’s lawsuit about the same time Smith, the former chairwoman of the state Republican Party, began talking publicly about challenging the congressman again. In an interview, Smith said she’ll make a decision about whether she’ll run in 2012 within the next few weeks. She said she wouldn’t rule out hiring Winslow for a rematch.

Tres Whittum for Congress?

Weeks after Weston Wamp mounted a challenge against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, another 24-year-old Republican is thinking about joining the race, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Tres Wittum, a policy and research analyst for state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said his job allows him to observe the legislative process up close and gives him the experience to work in Washington.
The former president of Tennessee College Republicans said he’ll make a final decision on running before April.
“You can’t just go in and say, ‘You know what? I’ll be the 24-year-old that’s going to Congress, and I’m going to tell the president of the United States this is the way it’s going to be,'” said Wittum, whose first name is pronounced “trace.” “You have to understand the way in which government is operated.”
…. An Indiana native who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in August, Wittum said he’s not affiliated with a Facebook page called “Draft Tres Wittum For Congress 2012.” He said a conservative group of people approached him last March, encouraged him to consider Congress and started the Facebook page.

Boehner Helps Fleischmann Raise $200K at Chattanooga (with protesters outside)

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner helped U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann raise more than $200,000 Thursday evening at a Chattanooga fundraiser, reports the Times-Free Press. That was more than what Fleischmann collected between July and September.
“I’m very, very thankful,” Fleischmann said after the event. “It was a tremendous outpouring of support.”
A source close to the campaign confirmed the $200,000 figure, saying the final tally likely will fall between $215,000 and $225,000. In a previous interview, Fleischmann spokesman Jordan Powell said the campaign hoped to raise $125,000 at the two-hour event, which included talks from Boehner and Fleischmann, both Republicans.
All the money will go toward Fleischmann’s re-election efforts, including consulting, direct mail, polling and radio and television advertisements in Knoxville and Chattanooga, the congressman said.
“Some folks I serve with have a four-media market,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for some of them sometimes to pay $1 million for media in a week.”
Paul Smith, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said the fundraiser proves “big money is buying America today.”
“Corporate America is now running America,” he said.
Fleischmann’s staff did not allow reporters into the Walden Club fundraising event, and Boehner declined an interview request through a spokesman. But Fleischmann and two donors described the scene after festivities ended at 8 p.m.
….About 125 people attended the dinner, including at least one elected official — state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga.
The day included dissent. A few dozen protesters from Occupy Chattanooga stood near the Bank of America building throughout the day, holding posters bearing funny (Shave Off Your Apathy), political (Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out) and threatening (Beat Bankers Into Plowshares) messages.
Most drivers passed the protesters without a reaction, but Saturns and Lexuses alike honked in support every few minutes. Sometimes hand gestures emerged from the driver’s side window.

The Four Freshmen Disclose Personal Finances

Personal financial disclosure filings from congressmen were due Wednesday – the first such annual filing by Tennessee’s four freshmen as members the U.S. House of Representatives (though they had a filing as candidates). Here’s a rundown on some of the reporting.
Black Reports $16.5 Million in Assets
First-term Republican Rep. Diane Black is the wealthiest member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation, according to the Daily News Journal after a review of her personal financial disclosure form.
(Congress members) must list assets worth more than $1,000, excluding private homes, but values are reported in such wide ranges that it is impossible to determine exactly how much a member of Congress is worth. Black and her husband, David, listed assets totaling at least $16.5 million.
The Blacks’ largest asset is their interest in Aegis Sciences Corp., the Nashville forensic chemical and drug-testing laboratory that David Black founded. They sold between $25 million and $50 million in company assets in 2010 and bought between $5 million and $25 million.
That sale explains why Black’s assets appear to have dropped since 2009, said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Genco. Black’s 2009 disclosure statement showed assets of at least $33.8 million and placed her among the wealthiest members of Congress.

Fincher Clarifies Farm Finances
Freshman Rep. Stephen Fincher, who was elected despite some controversy over his personal finances, has clarified the value of his family farm and his debts, reports The Tennessean.
Fincher’s 2010 personal financial disclosure form, released Wednesday, lists Stephen and Lynn Fincher Farms as the Frog Jump, Tenn., Republican’s only asset, worth between $500,000 and $1 million. Farm income amounted to $103,882 in 2010, according to the form.
His previous statement, in 2009, reported no assets and about $60,000 in income, raising questions as to how the farmer and gospel singer was able to lend his campaign $250,000 last year. That led to a Federal Election Commission investigation, which is pending.
Fincher’s new report also listed between $1.1 million and $2.5 million in liabilities, mostly for loans on farm equipment. His 2009 report listed no liabilities. Fincher’s campaign lawyer, Eliot Berke, called the omissions on the 2009 report an “honest misunderstanding” of the reporting requirements for businesses. He said Fincher submitted amendments to that report when he filed his 2010 statement.

Fleishmann Makes Millionaire’s Club
Despite spending nearly $700,000 of his own money to help win his congressional race last year, Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, of Chattanooga, still had enough assets to qualify him for Congress’ millionaires’ club, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
In personal financial disclosures for 2010…the 3rd Congressional District freshman lawmaker reported assets of between $1.66 million to $3.41 million. He reported no liabilities.
Fleischmann, an attorney, disclosed holdings including an interest in his and his wife’s law firm, Fleischmann & Fleischmann. He valued his interest at between $50,001 to $100,000. He also reported $163,144 last year in income from the law firm. As a congressman, he now makes $174,000 annually but cannot continue to practice law. Spouses are required to list income sources but not amounts.
…Among the assets he listed was between $500,001 to $1 million invested with “Wells Fargo Investments.” His annual disclosure listed income of between $15,001 to $50,000 in dividends, interest and capital gains from the sale of part of the investment, which was unspecified.
He reported total unearned income such as interest, dividends and sales for all holdings at between $28,705 to $83,500.

DesJarlais Less Than $1 Million in Assets
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, of Jasper, reported assets of between $403,009 to $945,000 last year. (From the same Action Andy’s report in the Chattanooga TFP covering Fleishmann.)
The 4th Congressional District lawmaker, who is a physician, says in his disclosure that he earned $148,905 from his practice and had unearned income such as interest as well dividends and other income of between $5,002 to $15,200.
He valued his medical practice at between $100,001 to $250,000. He owns a commercial lot in South Pittsburg, Tenn., valued at between $50,000 to $100,000. He had two Pacific Life annuities valued at between $50,000 to $100,000 each.
DesJarlais reported selling two stock funds with Morgan Stanley during last year’s GOP primary at a loss.
His liabilities were pegged at $95,004 to $250,000. Among other debts, he owes between $15,001 to $50,000 on his Bank of America Mastercard. He has a business line of credit at $15,001 to $50,000 with First Southern Bank of Scottsboro, Ala.
DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson did not respond to request for information about the congressman’s net worth nor whether he had sold his doctor’s practice.