campaign finance

TN conservatives send money to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore

Tennessee conservatives have been providing financial support to Republican Roy Moore in his campaign against Democrat Doug Jones, reports the Nashville Post after a review of Federal Election Commission filings. That includes a political action committee calling itself “Drain the DC Swamp,” which last week spent $10,000 on direct mail advertising.

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UT trustees donate to Republicans; faculty and staff to Democrats

Members of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees have made more than $90,000 in political donations so far this year in federal-level campaigns, reports the UT Daily Beacon after a search of FEC data. All but $2,500 went to Republicans while UT staff and students collectively gave $38,000 with only about $1,500 to Republicans.

Ten of the board’s 25 members made political contributions.

In total, (board) members gave $5,900 to Tennessee Republican John Rose, a candidate for the 6th Congressional District; $5,400 to 7th Congressional Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn, a senatorial candidate; and $1,500 to Knoxville County Mayor Tim Burchett, Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District.

(Raja) Jubran, who served on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s 2010 campaign finance team prior to his appointment to the Board of Trustees in 2012, has donated $59,200 to candidates and political committees this year, making him the largest donor on the board. Haslam, an ex-officio board member, has made $52,700 in political contributions.

On the other hand, employees at UT, including faculty, staff and graduate students, have made 2,311 contributions this year, totaling over $38,000. In contrast to the Board of Trustees, only $1,578.75 of these donations were made to organizations affiliated with the Republican Party.

Pence PAC donates to six TN U.S. Reps — including Black, Blackburn and Duncan

Politico has a list of Vice President Mike Pence’s “first round of political contributions” through a political action committee he has established —  including donations of $5,400 each to six Tennessee members of the U.S. House – Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black, John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., Scott DesJarlais, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe.

Blackburn is running for the Senate instead of reelection to the House, but money donated to her House campaign can be switched into the Senate race. Black is running for governor and, under applicable rules, she cannot shift money from her congressional campaign account into her run for a state office.

Duncan, of course, is retiring and not running for reelection in the 2nd Congressional District.

The only Tennessee Republican congressman not on the list is freshman Rep. David Kustoff of the 8th Congressional District.

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A political ‘pay-to-play’ system in place for state House Republican Caucus?

The state House Republican Caucus is calling on every GOP representative to give the caucus political fund at least $1,000 with substantially higher amounts set for leadership positions and committee chairs, reports Tennessee Star, which characterizes the document it has published as creating a “pay-to-play” system. A memo says it’s supposed to produce $267,500 in funds for Republican legislative candidates.

The Star is in receipt of the “Due Schedule” document that came out of a late August Sunday morning Republican House Member Caucus meeting, the timing of which coincided with Sunday worship and summer vacation for many.

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Fines imposed on former Rep. Durham now total $505,000

The Registry of Election Finance board voted Tuesday to impose another $10,000 civil penalty against former state Rep. Jeremy Durham, reports WTVF. That pushes total financial penalties assessed against Durham to $505,000.

The new fine was levied for wrongly reporting contributions and expenditures by Durham PAC, the political action committee set up by the Franklin County Republican. The Registry previously voted to impose a state record $465,000 in penalties against Durham for multiple violations in his regular campaign account. (Previous post HERE.)

And the Tennessee Ethics Commission has voted to impose $30,000 in penalties against Durham for problems with his filings of conflict-of-interest disclosures. (Previous post HERE.)

Black uses Trump tweet praise for fundraising

President Donald Trump on Friday sent a tweet praising U.S. Rep. Diane Black. She promptly turned it into a fundraising effort for her gubernatorial campaign.

The Trump tweet: “Diane Black of Tennessee, the highly respected House Budget Committee Chairwoman, did a GREAT job in passing Budget, setting up big Tax Cuts.”

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Ethics Commission imposes $30K fine on former Rep. Jeremy Durham

The Tennessee Ethics Commission Tuesday voted to impose a $30,000 fine on former state Rep. Jeremy Durham, who already faces $465,000 in penalties imposed by the Registry of Election Finance, reports the Tennessean.

The registry fines were for violation of campaign finance laws. The Ethics Commission penalty is for Durham’s failure to include all sources of income in his conflict-of-interest disclosure filed while he was a legislator.

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In 6th Congressional District, Rose takes big money lead over Matheny with $250K loan and Haslam help

Former state Agriculture Commissioner Charles Rose has loaned his campaign for the 6th Congressional District Republican nomination $250,000, giving him a strong financial advantage over state Rep. Judd Matheny in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Diane Black, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.

The reports show Rose, who owns a farm and runs a small business in DeKalb County, raised $292,450 in contributions and, with the $250,000 loan, his campaign had $542,450 in receipts. He reported $74,421 in expenditures, leaving a cash-on-hand balance of $468,038 on Oct. 1.

Matheny reported $166,544 in donations to his campaign and $62,458 in expenditures, leaving a cash balance of $104,086. He reported no loans.

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In 2nd Congressional District, Matlock leads Burchett in cash on hand

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett led candidates to succeed U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in collecting donations but state Rep. Jimmy Matlock has more cash on hand for his campaign, according to financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.

Duncan, who announced his retirement on July 31, still has far more campaign money than all his would-be successors combined with a reported balance of $917,303. The veteran congressman reported $52,500 in contributions received during the past quarter and continued using campaign funds to pay family members — a practice that inspired some controversy earlier this year.

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Pro-Trump super PAC and Club for Growth backing Blackburn

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of has been endorsed by two more big conservative political organizations in her run for the U.S. Senate, reports the Nashville Post.

The pro-Trump super PAC Great America Alliance endorsed Blackburn, saying, “The best way to advance the ‘America First’ movement is to hold elected leaders accountable — get on board and get the job done or be replaced by someone who will.”

And the anti-tax, free market 501(c)(4) Club for Growth has also endorsed Blackburn, along with state Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City), who officially filed with the FEC on Friday to raise money for a run for Blackburn’s current 7th District Congressional seat.

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