A wealthy Nashville health care investor has given more than $120,000 to two new political action committees that have used most of the money to attack incumbent Republican state legislators or help their challengers in the last days of campaigning.
The sole donor to the two new PACs is Andrew E. Miller, who last week gained national attention by giving $260,000 to two federal-level PACs that are using the money for attacks on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.
One of the state-level PACs is Tennesseans 4 Ethics in Government, which has been given $50,250 by Miller, according to disclosures filed with the state Registry of Election Finance. The PAC used $30,263 to pay for radio ads targeting four incumbents and had $19,987 remaining as of Monday, the report says.
Targeted incumbents in the ads are Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville; Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough; Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville; and Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin. The disclosure reports spending $7,885 each on Overbey and Ford ads; $7,221 on the Maggart and Sargent ads.
The second new PAC, named Truth Matters, got $71,000 from Miller, then distributed all but about $7,500 of the money to 10 Republican candidates.
Among the donations: $7,100 each to Scott Hughes, Overebey’s opponent in Senate District 2, and Micah Van Huss, Ford’s opponent in House District 6; and Rob Hathaway, Sargent’s opponent in House District 61. Maggart’s opponent, Courtney Rogers, got $5,800.
Under state law, Miller could have given just $1,400 to a House candidate as an individual. . But a PAC can give up to $7,100 to a candidate.
Others receiving $7,100 contributions from Truth Matters PAC include two incumbents who face challengers on Aug. 2, Reps. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport; and Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby,
Also receiving donations were Republican candidates in open seats where multiple candidates are running. Those chosen for contributions by Truth Matters were Eric Chance of Morrison in Senate District 16; Timothy Hill of Blountville in House District 3; and Rob Mortensen of Nashville in Senate District 20, Rep. Jim Gotto, R-Nashville, who has no primary opponent but faces a Democrat in November, received $5,000.
Registry records also show Miller put $10,000 into another new entity, Standard Club PAC, that had not made donations to any candidates as of last week’s disclosure deadline. The new PAC received no other money.
He also gave $10,000 to a PAC operated by House Speaker Pro Temoore Judd Mathney of Tullahoma and $40,000 to Leaders of Tennessee PAC, an established PAC that donates to conservative Republicans.