Tag Archives: louie

Sunday column: Louie Lobbyist’s Privatization Plan

Louie Lobbyist came by the cubicle the other day and, after making a couple of insulting remarks about the clutter, asked if we could speak privately for a moment. Sure, I said, and we walked across the hall to an empty legislative committee room.
“What’s the governor paying Tom Ingram?” he asked as we settled into the staff seats in the center of the room.
An undisclosed sum, I replied. How should I know? Tom was paid out of the governor’s own pocket until July 1, when he went on campaign payroll. That will be reported next Jan. 31 or so. But the governor tells us media types none-ya (none of your business) when his own money is involved.
“Yeah,” Louie said, “but you looked at those campaign reports back in 2010. So what was he paid then? I figure Haslam would pay about the same thing now as he did then.”
Well, not necessarily. The governor has explained that he speaks with Tom about governmental matters mostly — “organizational” was one of his words — and political stuff comes up only on the periphery, and so it would be very difficult for him to parse that out and report it as a political expenditure.

Sunday Column: Louie Lobbyist and Harp Music

Dressed in a three-piece suit, Louie Lobbyist was sipping on a glass of Chablis, leaning against one of the stately columns in the courtyard of the War Memorial Building and listening — seemingly intently — to a legislator’s talented wife strum a harp and produce soothing sounds.
The occasion was a Republican Caucus fundraiser, which started with a reception where a curious reporter could drop by and be tolerated without paying the price of admission, to witness an event where other folks had, collectively, paid $400,000 or so for the privilege of being present. There were maybe 100 or so people milling around at the moment.
“Hey, you (expletive adjective deleted) media moron,” said Louie. “I thought you were too old to go to these rock concerts.”
“Well, yeah, it has been awhile since I infiltrated a lobbyist shakedown,” I replied. “But, hey, this one was in a public place and held early in the evening, so I thought I’d wander by and see how these things go nowadays. Is this typical? It does seem a contrast to watching you cut a rug with (former female legislator’s name withheld) to Jimmy’s Church Street Band playing ‘Soul Man.’ ”

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Sunday Column: TN PACs and their superpowers

Under Tennessee law, it’s illegal for a lobbyist to make a political contribution to a state legislator. But, if the lobbyist sets up a political action committee, gives money to the PAC and then the PAC gives money to the legislator, well, that’s just fine.
And lots of lobbyists do that.
Under Tennessee law, it’s illegal for a human being to give more than $1,400 to candidate for the state House. But a PAC, essentially a legal fiction created by human beings who are legislators, can give up to $7,100.
So Louie Lobbyist, who as a human being is prohibited from giving anything to Larry Legislator, can fill out the PAC creation paperwork, then Louie PAC can give Larry $7,100. The well-funded lobbyist thus has more giving power than your average citizen. Oh, and if Larry has decided to set up a PAC himself (and lots of legislators do), then Louie the individual person can give money to Larry PAC, since Larry PAC is not Larry Legislator, the person. And then Louie PAC can give more to Larry PAC on top of that.
They’re all separate, you see. And PACs have superpowers beyond those of mere mortals.

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