Tag Archives: Glen Casada

Casada, Sargent deny Durham kiss and hug claims

Ousted Rep. Jeremy Durham tells WSMV=TV that two prominent Republican legislators have hugged or kissed women at the Legislative Plaza. He also declared that another lawmaker who voted to remove him from office has smoked marijuana at the state Capitol and several others have consumed alcohol at legislative offices.

Durham did not name the individual he alleged smoked marijuana, but he did identify others for different claims.

“Charles Sargent, that’s who I’m talking about,” Durham said. “I’ve watched him kiss women on the mouth in Legislative Plaza. But I can’t even, like, send a remotely flirtatious text message.”

In July, the Attorney General released a report that accuses Durham of sexually harassing 22 women at the Legislature. The investigation also alleged Durham had sex with a college student in his office after providing her alcohol.

Durham denies he had sex or even made sexual contact with the women interviewed in the report.

Instead, he’s raising questions about his former colleagues.
“You know, the Glen Casada, the Charles Sargent, like let’s all hang out and hug on women,” Durham said. “That’s the ones that are in power.”

So is any of this actually true?

On Thursday Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, denied kissing women on the mouth at the legislature, only acknowledging the occasional hug or peck on the cheek if he knows the person.

“I don’t know where this young man is coming from,” Sargent said in a phone interview. “I feel sorry for him. We have a young man whose life is falling apart.”

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Thompson’s Station, echoed those statements.
“I understand he’s hurting and he’s angry. I wish the best for him,” Casada said in a phone interview.

He added: “I hug women at church. I hug women at the Capitol. I hug men. I think hugging is proper, if done correctly,” Casada said.

But Durham didn’t stop there. He named lawmakers who he said regularly drink in their office.

Those men did not return calls from Channel 4. But even Durham admits, he too drank on state property.

“I have drank in my office before,” Durham said. “I did keep alcohol in my refrigerator, I did.”

When asked if she would look into these claims, Speaker Beth Harwell stated, “Jeremy has again called 22 victims liars, and he has no credibility. Beyond that, I have no additional comment.”

Special ouster session way short on signatures

The idea of calling a special session of the Legislature to consider ouster of state Rep. Jeremy Durham — and possibly Rep. Joe Armstrong — appears to be losing steam.

As of Friday, only four nine of the necessary 66 state House members had signed either of two submitted petitions. One by House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga, calls for expelling Durham, R-Franklin, and the other by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, calls for ousting both Durham and Armstrong, D-Knoxville.

Durham has been accused in an investigative report by state Attorney General Herbert Slatery of sexually harassing 22 women legislative staffers, lobbyists and interns. Armstrong goes on trial Tuesday on federal tax evasion charges that prosecutors contend involve profits from a cigarette tax increase he supported as a lawmaker.

Casada said in a telephone interview Sunday that he was a bit surprised at the scant signatures so far and will confer “mid-week” with House Speaker Beth Harwell to consider the possibility of extending the deadline for signing the petitions that is currently set for Friday.

But he also said that, should the signature drive fall short, he would accept that decision as “what the majority wants.” Continue reading

Casada: Campaign finance texts warrant Durham’s resignation

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, who declined to join other GOP leaders in calling for Rep. Jeremy Durham’s resignation over sexual harassment allegations, says things are different in allegations he violated campaign finance laws, reports The Tennessean.

Casada cites text messages from Durham to Benton Smith, a former legislative assistant, campaign worker for Durham as well as an employee of Durham’s company, Battleground Title and Escrow. The messages indicate Durham transferred money from his campaign account to the company.

Casada said there is a clear difference between the text messages involving Durham and Smith and the harassment allegations Durham is facing.

“This is empirical, this is measurable, it’s his own words indicting him, where the harassment charges were she said this and he said this,” Casada said. “There was nothing to show who was right or who was wrong. It was rumors, hearsay, that kind of thing. This is Jeremy’s own words saying ‘Do this, take money out of my campaign account and put it in my business account.’ ”

…Casada’s comments come one day after the state registry of election finance board voted to audit and investigate Durham’s campaign finances dating back to 2014. The board plans to issue subpoenas for Durham’s personal bank accounts, his campaign accounts and his business bank accounts.

In a Thursday morning email to The Tennessean, Durham declined to say whether he planned to resign if the latest allegations were deemed credible.

“I think we should let the process run its course and stop rushing to convict people in the media before they have the opportunity to address the situation in a legitimate forum,” he said.

“Nothing illegal or unethical was done and I’ll be happy to fully cooperate and present any relevant information to the panel of people tasked with reviewing campaign finance matters. To suggest taking any action before that point seems premature.”

On Wednesday, Durham called Smith a “disgruntled former employee.”

Durham reelection backed by Casada, Johnson

From a Tennessean story:
Rep. Jeremy Durham may no longer be a member of the House Republican Caucus nor have an office in the Capitol building, be a “continuing risk to unsuspecting women” and the subject of an ongoing investigation by the state’s attorney general but that doesn’t mean he’s not receiving support from his fellow Republican colleagues.

When Durham, R-Franklin, officially kicked off his campaign Tuesday, Sen. Jack Johnson and Rep. Glen Casada, both of Franklin, were among the supporters who gathered at Lillie Belle’s in downtown Franklin.

On Friday, Casada said he attended the event because of the fact that he’s the chairman of the House Republican Caucus and part of his job includes supporting “all the incumbents.”

“It’s my duty to come to their fundraisers and go to their events and be there,” he said. The move comes despite the fact that Durham is no longer a member of the Republican caucus — a fact which Casada admits has created a different situation than he’s ever faced.

“This is new ground for me,” said Casada, who earlier this week acknowledged that he accidentally left Durham on the caucus’ email list for months.

When asked if he plans on endorsing Durham, who is facing challengers in both the August primary and November general election, Casada avoided using the word but reminded The Tennessean that both he and Durham are Republicans. (Note: Durham has two opponents in the August GOP primary, Stacey L. Givens of Fairview and Sam Whitson of Franklin.)

…Johnson said he didn’t donate to Durham during this week’s event and was uncertain whether or not he will write him a check in the future. But that doesn’t mean Johnson is shying away from Durham, who he said hasn’t asked him for money.

“He’s a friend and he asked me to come to his event,” Johnson said.

…Rep. Charles Sargent, also of Franklin, said he did not attend Durham’s campaign kickoff because he had a prior engagement. When asked if he would offer any support to his colleague, Sargent said he was focused on his own race. Sargent is being challenged by Steve Gawrys and Terrence Smith in the August primary.

Casada shelves push for special bathroom session; Haslam vows to help sued systems

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada is putting his push for a special legisslative session on transgender bathrooms on hold, reports WPLN. He says it looks like there’s no longer a need for lawmakers to weigh in.

Casada started the petition to hold a special meeting. He did it after the Obama administration told school districts they’d be running afoul of federal anti-discrimination rules if they don’t let transgender students use the facilities of their gender identity.

Casada worries Tennessee districts will be sued, and he wanted to compel the state’s attorney general, Herbert Slatery, to defend them.

But now Slatery has told Republican leaders he’ll take the case, which is good enough for Casada. He says the only reason to hold a special session was to protect Tennessee school districts from a directive he sees as unconstitutional.

That’s being met in Sumner County, Casada says, and “it’s safe to assume that if you’re helping one county, you would help others that got sued.”

Special sessions are usually called by Tennessee governors, often to deal with major legislation. But state lawmakers have managed to do it only twice — in 1971 to give 18 year olds the right to vote and in 1982 to meet at the World’s Fair in Knoxville.

…Casada says the petition won’t be thrown out. He plans to keep it on file, just in case interest in the session bubbles up again.

Gov. Bill Haslam, who has been decidedly cool on a special bathroom session, tells WKRN that he stands ready to fully support any local school system that gets into legal troubles over transgender restroom policies:

“If they get sued I think that we the state will jump in to help those local school boards, because it should be their decision,” he told News 2 after a stop at the American Legion Boys State in Cookeville.

Casada said Slatery’s office indicated to Lt. Governor Ramsey that it would defend Sumner County Schools against an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) complaint filed last week for lack of a transgender bathroom/locker room policy.

“I really applaud the attorney general for stepping up and defending Sumner County and it’s given a lot of members comfort,” Rep. Casada told News 2. “We would love to see the attorney general say I am going to defend any school over this unconstitutional DOJ directive.”

The governor believes that would happen for any school district facing legal challenges over transgender student polices.

“My full intention would be for the state to help them in every way that we can if they are sued,” added the governor.

Casada suggests special legislative session on transgender bathrooms

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada has raised the possibility of a special legislative session to consider taking action against President Obama’s transgender bathroom directive, reports The Tennessean. Casada sent a survey to fellow House Republicans Tuesday asking whether they would favor the idea.

Casada, R-Franklin, said the directive, announced by the Obama administration on Friday, concerned him because he believes it is unconstitutional.

“I want our school systems to know that they can tell the (American Civil Liberties Union), who would bring lawsuits, or the Department of Justice that the state of Tennessee is going to stand with them,” he said, pointing out that he was not speaking on behalf of the Republican caucus.

Two hours after Casada sent out the survey, he said, 16 out of the 22 respondents were supportive of holding a special session. Five members were “a flat no” and one was undecided, he said.

It would take two-thirds of members in both chambers — 66 in the House and 22 in the Senate — to call for a special session. Republicans hold 73 seats in the House and 28 in the Senate.

Adam Kleinheider, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, said he is not aware of any effort in the Senate to survey members about the prospect of a special session, which Casada admitted would be unnecessary if Slatery publicly expressed plans to oppose the directive.

…Also on Tuesday, Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, began circulating an online petition asking Tennesseans to sign onto a letter she plans to send to Haslam on the issue.

TN Republicans moving to accept Trump as presidential nominee

With some misgivings, prominent Tennessee supporters of Ted Cruz are ready to support Donald Trump for president now that the Texas senator has suspended his campaign, reports The Tennessean.

Tennessee House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, who voted for Cruz in the state’s March primary, said he will ultimately back Trump in the November election, even though he didn’t see eye to eye with the New York businessman.

“I’m just not convinced he’s an intellectual conservative,” Casada, R-Franklin, said Tuesday night about Trump… Nonetheless, Casada said in a race pitting Trump against Clinton, there’s no question as to whom he will support.

…Steve Gill, a former conservative radio talk show host from Brentwood and a Cruz Tennessee delegate, called Cruz’s exit from the race disappointing but commended the senator for recognizing the political reality he faced.

Gill indicated he would eventually rally behind Trump, but said the repeated personal attacks from Trump against Cruz could make it difficult for some Cruz loyalists to get energized behind the presumptive nominee.

…State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, also backed Cruz and said he was disappointed but will support the eventual GOP nominee.

“It’s pretty clear, though, the American people and the people of Tennessee believe that Donald Trump can best go to Washington, D.C., and reverse the downward spiral caused by both parties,” Green said. “He just seems to change people and clearly we need a fresh start.”

…Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, said she was surprised by Cruz’s decision to drop out of the race, but respects his decision.

“Donald Trump was not my first choice, but if he is our nominee, I will support him,” Harwell said.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said the choice is now clear.

“Hillary Clinton must be stopped and Donald Trump can stop her,” Ramsey said in a statement. “Trump has given voice to frustrated and alienated voters who had all but given up on the political process. He is building a coalition that can defeat Hillary Clinton and make America great again — but only if all Republicans and conservatives unite with him.”

On playing partisan games as legislature winds down

A sequence of partisan bickering events last week led to the apparent death in the House — barring a last-minute change of heart by Republican representatives as the Legislature moves to adjourn this week — of a Senate-passed bill (SB2149) allowing indigent people convicted of driving with a suspended license to pay their court costs and fines through community service rather than cash, subject to local approval.

The bill is sponsored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart of Nashville, who has played a pivotal role in pushing Democratic amendments to various Republican-sponsored bills that reached the House floor — almost always voted down by the supermajority.

Here’s a rundown on last week’s events, which began with a noncontroversial bill (HB2009) sponsored by Rep. Shelia Butt, R-Columbia, that changes the wording of some education-related statutes:
Continue reading

Casada moves to ban public release police body camera recordings

Legislation birthed and given quick initial approval by a state House panel last week would prohibit public disclosure of most body camera recordings made by Tennessee law enforcement officers for at least a year — and potentially keep video of police misconduct under wraps for even longer.

The move has drawn protests from open government advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union. The bill’s sponsor, House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin, said he is not happy with the measure himself and will go “back to the drawing board” to negotiate over revisions in coming days.

As approved by the House State Government Subcommittee, the measure, HB876, would declare a general one-year “moratorium” on public disclosure of any police body camera footage, starting on July 1.

The measure allows public release of recordings that involve an officer’s violation of a law enforcement agency’s administrative policy or “alleged use of unlawful or unnecessary force in violation of state law or the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States” — but only after completion of “any investigation” into the individual case as well as completion of any trial or disciplinary proceeding involving the recording — which would take months at minimum and more likely years.
Continue reading

Casada, Sargent favor school funding lawsuit

Responding to a question from Williamson County School Superintendent Mike Looney, House Republican Caucus Chairman Glenn Casada and House Finance Chairman Charles Sargent both said they think another lawsuit is warranted against Tennessee’s school funding process, according to The Tennessean.

Looney said that he was concerned about state education funding, particularly in light of Williamson County Schools’ rapid growth, which is projected to continue. Next year, he said, the district is slated to grow by more than 1,800 students.

Sargent responded that because he believes Williamson schools get back a relatively small portion of the tax dollars the county sends to the state under the current formula, “Yes, I do think at some point in time Williamson County is going to have to look at suing the state.”

He added that, “I usually wouldn’t say that, but with the way the formula works … several districts are in the same boat we are.”

Casada, meanwhile, said that litigation could be a solution in the absence of a funding formula that is, as he put it, “simple, that’s understandable and that’s fair.”

“The problem we have in Tennessee is that this formula we have called BEP is so complicated and so convoluted that every school district in the state has standing to sue because they’re not getting what they should be,” he said.

Note: Separate lawsuits over BEP funding have already been filed by six Southeastern Tennessee school districts and by the Shelby County school system.