Tag Archives: fundraising

State museum moves, slowly, toward semi-replacement of Riggins-Ezzell

Eleven months after the decision was made to replace Lois Riggins-Ezzell, 76, as the longtime executive director of the Tennessee State Museum, there is finally a tentative timeline for the future hire to start as work toward a new $160 million state-of the-art museum building is underway.

In a comprehensive Nashville Post update on the the museum situation, Cari Wade Gervin also reports the new tentative timeline is already behind schedule, that initial efforts in seeking applicants for the new executive director’s position drew little or no response and that management experts think it’s a really bad idea to keep Riggins-Ezell on the job after her successor is hired, as planned.

An excerpt: Continue reading

Kaine schedules Nashville fundraiser

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine has scheduled a high-dollar fundraising event in Nashville for Aug. 23, reports The Tennessean. The dinner and reception will be at Valentino’s Ristorante to benefit Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

An invitation for the Hillary Victory Fund campaign fundraiser obtained by the Tennessean lists a fundraising level of $33,400 per couple to serve as hosts of the event at the West End Avenue restaurant, which is co-owned by prominent Tennessee Democratic fundraiser Bill Freeman. Hosts who haul in that amount a host reception and receive preferred seating.

Attendees are to pay $10,000 a couple for the lower champion level, which includes cocktails and dinner.

Kaine, Clinton’s vice presidential candidate and a U.S. senator from Virginia, came to Nashville three years ago to be the keynote speaker of Jackson Day, the annual fundraiser for the Tennessee Democratic Party.

During the Democratic primary, Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, three times visited Nashville, which is home to Tennessee’s top Democratic donors, including Freeman and attorney Charles Robert Bone, who were both Nashville mayoral candidates last year.

Note: For the presidential campaign thourgh July 15, Clinton has already raised more than $1.8 million in Tennessee, according to the FEC. Trump’s Tennessee fundraising total is at $304,750.

Trump playing ‘catch up’ in TN fundraising

For the first time this election cycle, Tennesseans gave more money to Donald Trump in a month than Hillary Clinton, reports Joel Ebert.

The Republican nominee slowly began to narrow the fundraising gap in June when residents of the Volunteer State gave him $195,300, about $10,000 more than Clinton, according to newly filed campaign contribution records maintained by the Federal Election Commission.

During the same time period, Clinton, who is set to accept her party’s nomination Thursday, received $185,200.

Despite Trump having his best month yet in terms of fundraising on both the state and national level, Clinton maintains a sizable advantage.

Overall, Clinton has brought in $1.8 million from Tennesseans during the presidential race while Trump has taken in about $305,000. Both totals are relatively paltry for each campaign compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars they received from donors around the country.

Trump’s latest fundraising totals reveal a significant improvement compared to previous months. As of the end of May, Clinton had raised more than 15 times the amount Trump had brought in during the entire election cycle.

The latest totals indicate Clinton has still raised six times more from Tennesseans than her Republican counterpart.

While Trump did not actively begin fundraising until May, Clinton has held three fundraisers in Nashville, two of which she attended, and could return to Tennessee in the coming months. Bill Clinton attended the third.

Even with the latest donations, the real estate mogul’s fundraising from Tennesseans is on pace to fall far short of what the Republican nominee raised during previous elections.

During the 2012 presidential race, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $12 million from Tennesseans, while President Barack Obama amassed $4.6 million.

Note: The FEC state-by-state presidential campaign donation figures are HERE. (That gets you to a map of the United States; then click on TN — or another state you want to see. The TN contributions are further broken down by zip code.) In Tennessee fundraising, Trump has a ways to go to catch up to Ted Cruz, who raised more than $1 million in the state during the GOP primaries.

Democrats question Haslam fundraiser at governor’s residence

News release from Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville
NASHVILLE – Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris and State Rep. John Ray Clemmons sent a letter to Attorney General Herbert Slatery today formally requesting his legal opinion on several issues surrounding the Governor’s planned fundraiser for Rep. Diane Black at the Executive Residence.

“In the spirit of responsibly representing Tennessee taxpayers, we are seeking answers to some serious concerns that we have about the Governor’s political activities on state property and his consistent refusal to release his schedule,” stated Rep. John Ray Clemmons. “Transparency has been an issue for this administration from day one. From Governor Haslam’s very first Executive Order that eliminated financial disclosure requirements for him and his top aides to his secretive out-sourcing scheme, he has consistently skirted the sunshine.”

“Today, we are posing some legitimate questions, such as, ‘Can the Governor host campaign fundraisers at the Executive Residence?'” stated Sen. Lee Harris. “We don’t think the Executive Residence is a place where campaign events should be held, but that is why we are seeking clarification. If President Obama used the White House to host campaign fundraisers, many on the other side of the aisle probably would be up in arms about it. This is the same thing.”

These questions come on the heels of media reports that the Governor will be hosting a campaign fundraiser at the Executive Residence for Congressman Diane Black’s re-election efforts on July 21, 2016.

A copy of the letter to General Slatery can be found here.

Rep. Holt sticks to gun giveaway plans

State Rep. Andy Holt is firmly standing behind his decision to give away a semi-automatic rifle of the same model used in the Orlando shooting massacre, reports The Tennessean.

While announcing his plans last week to hold his first annual “Hog Fest and Turkey Shoot,” Holt, R-Dresden, said he will give away an AR-15 as a door prize to an attendee of his June 25 fundraiser.

The event is also scheduled to include a turkey shoot — participants are encouraged to bring their own rifle and ammo.

Holt said despite Sunday’s massacre in Orlando that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, he remains stalwart in his belief that the weapon used in the mass shooting is not to blame.

“It has nothing to do with the style of weapon. It has everything to do with who’s behind the weapon,” said Holt, who has sponsored several gun bills, including one recently enacted law that allows full-time employees at Tennessee colleges and universities to carry weapons on campus.

Holt said the weapon is the type that can be used for multiple purposes including hunting, target shooting and self-defense.

He said the only thing wrong with the AR-15 is that “it’s black and it looks real scary” adding, “If I beat somebody to death with a hammer that’s just a hammer. But if I was to take and wrap it up in electrical tape and make it black I guess that would make it an assault hammer.”

Holt said there is no functional difference between any semi-automatic weapon and an AR-15, and argued that it didn’t matter that an AR-15 had been used in various American mass shootings in recent years, including the 2012 shooting in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater and last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. “It’s not about the gun. It has everything to do with the position and condition of that person’s heart that’s behind the gun behind pulling the trigger,” he said.

UPDATE/Note: TNDP Chair Mary Mancini says Holt is a “reckless and irresponsible gun owner.” Release below. Continue reading

DNC chair cancels Knox rally (but will show for Knox fundraiser)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, will be in Knoxville for a private fundraiser Thursday but will not attend a rally of Knox County Democrats as originally planned, reports Georgiana Vines.

The fundraiser will be at the home of Leanne and Rusty Comer, 7151 Sir Arthur Way, in the Deane Hill area beginning at 6:30 p.m. Their son, Scott, is employed at the DNC.

Knox County Democrats planned to have a rally at their headquarters at 311 Morgan St., which Wasserman Schultz was to attend before the fundraiser, but Cameron Brooks, party chairman, said he was notified Wednesday she would not be at the public event.

“When the head of the Democratic Party comes to our community it is my belief that they should be accessible to everyone, not just those with the means to give money. I am extremely disappointed that her appearance at our rally was canceled,” Brooks said.

…Wasserman Schultz is getting flak nationally, particularly from the supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, for her handling of some campaign issues. There is talk of possibly replacing her before the Democratic National Convention in July in Philadelphia. Politico reported Sanders recently endorsed her opponent in the Democratic primary in Florida, Tim Canova.

Note: The referenced Politico story is HERE. A recent story from The Hill on Democrats pushing for Schultz to quit is HERE.

S.C. governor picked as TNGOP fundraising speaker

News release from Tennessee Republican Party
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—March 17, 2016—Over the years, the Statesmen’s Dinner has become a marquee event that brings some of the top stars of the Republican Party to Tennessee.

The 2016 Statesmen’s Dinner promises to continue that tradition.

The Tennessee Republican Party today announced that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will keynote this year’s event on Friday, May 13th.
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Cate is project coordinator of new museum at $120K per year

Mark Cate, who resigned Aug. 1 as Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief of staff, has since signed a $10,000-per-month contract to serve as “project coordinator” in developing a new Tennessee State Museum, scheduled to open in December, 2018.

“He will oversee the entire project,” said Robert “Bobby” Thomas, a Nashville attorney and chairman of the Tennessee State Museum Foundation. “Mark Cate knows all the players extremely well and I think he will be an excellent person to coordinate the effort.”

Officially, the contract is between Cate’s newly established consulting firm — Stones River Group, LLC — and the foundation, which raises money to support museum operations and is now responsible for collecting at least $41.75 million in private donations to go with $120 million in state funds allocated for building a new state museum.

Effectively, Cate will be a middleman in coordinating efforts of the foundation, its fundraisers, a separate board that oversees general museum operations, the museum staff headed by veteran Executive Director Lois Riggins-Ezzell, and Haslam’s administration. The state Department of General Services is lead agency in the project for Haslam, who presided last week in a “steering committee” meeting.
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Kim Kaegi, Emily Reynolds to lead TN museum fundraising

Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief campaign fundraiser, Kim Kaegi, and Emily Reynolds, who for years was the top staffer for former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, were picked Monday to lead efforts to raise $41.775 million in private funds for the new $160 million Tennessee State Museum building.

Further from Andy Sher’s report:

The state’s private nonprofit Museum Foundation unanimously approved the two with Reynolds, a Museum Foundation board member, resigning her position prior to the vote.

A formal contract for their services is expected to be ready for action by Museum Foundation members to approve by Sept. 1 at the latest.

Over the past 20 or so years, Kaegi has raised tens of millions of dollars in campaign cash for Republican politicians including Haslam and U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

Reynolds served as a chief of staff for Frist and was later secretary of the U.S. Senate and later headed the Tennessee Valley Authority’s public and government relations office.

“The fundraising team that is being proposed is a great combination,” Haslam Chief of Staff Mark Cate earlier told Museum Foundation members. “This was an idea the governor came up with.”

…Upon the governor’s recommendation this spring, state lawmakers approved $120 million in state funds for the project. Another $40 million will be privately raised through the nonprofit Museum Foundation, where contributions will be tax deductible.

During Monday’s presentation, Cate, whose last day as Haslam’s chief of staff is Friday, said the additional $1.775 million will cover three years worth of expenses related to staffing for fundraising, project coordination and communications as well as fundraising events like meals and venues and development of material to encourage large donors ranging from companies and private foundations to individuals to support the project.

Of that amount, staffing and consultants would account for $1.26 million.

The effort will include a project coordinator and there has been widespread speculation that Cate would be in line for that.

“My hope is somehow to be involved in the project because I think it’s a project I have a lot of experience in,” Cate later told two reporters.

But Cate, who in the past has been involved in real estate development and once worked on capital projects and raising money for Maryville College, said no decisions have been made on that for the museum project.

“My hope is there will be a place for me, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Cate said.

Walker backs guns for guardsmen, raises money for AFP

On his fourth presidential campaign visit to Tennessee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday members of the military “absolutely” should be allowed to go armed while on duty at recruiting centers and other military facilities inside the U.S, reports Richard Locker.

“I issued an executive order to allow the National Guard in my state to do exactly that,” Walker told reporters during a campaign stop at a popular restaurant in downtown Nashville. “We have four recruitment centers, and I believe the law and the policy needs to be changed nationally so that our heroes — the men and women who serve us in the military — can be protected at these centers or anywhere else where they’re out in the public.

“Sadly, when this was put in place back in the early 1990s, we had just come off the end of the Cold War and back then, containment … was enough with our enemies. Today with radical Islamic terrorism, they’re targeting our military here and around the world. We need to make sure they are safe and as president, I would make sure those policies reflect that.”

Walker said he called Gov. Bill Haslam last week after the shootings at two military installations in Chattanooga that resulted in the deaths of five servicemen to extend sympathy.

“One of the four Marines was a native of Wisconsin, and so that touched even more for me personally,” he said.

Walker attended back-to-back fundraisers, first for the conservative Americans for Prosperity and then for his presidential campaign, Tuesday night at the sprawling Williamson County estate of Willis Johnson, who founded and ran a California vehicle auction company before buying the former home of country music star Alan Jackson for $28 million outside of Nashville in 2010.

AFP’s Tennessee director, Andy Ogles, attended Walker’s Wednesday morning stop at Puckett’s restaurant, two blocks from the State Capitol. Other prominent Tennessee conservatives who greeted Walker at the restaurant included longtime Eagle Forum Tennessee director and lobbyist Bobbie Patray and state Sens. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Mike Bell, R-Riceville. Green is heading Walker’s Tennessee campaign.

Tennessee GOP chairman Ryan Haynes of Knoxville also attended.