PACs

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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Boyd approved $1M grant to state Senate candidate’s company; Company PAC gave Boyd $5K

Shane Reeves, a Murfreesboro businessman seeking the GOP nomination in state Senate District 14, sent Randy Boyd’s gubernatorial campaign a $5,000 donation a year after Boyd as economic and community development commissioner signed off on a $1 million state grant to Reeves’ company, reports Tennessee Star.

The Star says this has unnamed “political observers” questioning whether Boyd “used his previous office as a platform to prepare a gubernatorial campaign by directing state grants to local officials and businesses who might, and in many cases have, support his run for governor.”

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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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Super PAC goal: $4M to help Ogles Senate campaign

News release from Andy Ogles campaign

FRANKLIN, TENN. (Sept. 19, 2017) — Conservative Republican businessman and fundraiser Lee Beaman announced today that he is in the process of forming a federal SuperPAC that will focus on electing Andy Ogles to the U.S. Senate.

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Joe Carr launches federal PAC

Former state Rep. Joe Carr, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in 2014 and against U.S. Rep. Diane Black in 2016, has launched a political action committee for 2018, reports Nashville Post Politics.

Carr is the designated agent of Stand Firm America, the paperwork for which was filed with the Federal Election Commission late Thursday. Carr’s daughter, Maddie, is the PAC’s treasurer. The PAC’s website was registered Thursday through a proxy.

“We’re in the formative stages of this whole thing. We’re putting this together, and once everything is put together — what we’re trying to do, what the mission statement is, what the purpose is and what it’s directly going to address — we’ll have a press release on that,” Joe Carr said Friday. “We’re not ready to make any announcements on the purposes of the PAC just yet.”

…The former state representative’s annual conservative gathering and fundraiser, T-Bones and Politics, will be held Sept. 14 in Lascassas, featuring Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. Carr said he won’t announce his own plans for a possible 2018 campaign until after the event.

Mark Green launches group to promote Christians in politics; won’t run for any new office himself

State Sen. Mark Green, who had talked about running for Congress after withdrawing as President Trump’s nominee to become U.S. Army secretary, says he is instead launching a new political advocacy organization that help other Christian conservatives run for office.

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New Rural TN PAC holds first event, gives Beavers an edge over Lee in gubernatorial straw poll

State Sen. Mae Beavers edged Williamson County businessman Bill Lee in a Republican gubernatorial election straw poll held Saturday night by Rural Tennessee Speaks, a group recently established with state Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, as president.

Beavers and Lee were the only two candidates to address the gathering in Dover, attended by about 200 people, according to media reports. Reedy tells Tennessee Star the straw poll results were 66 for Beavers, 62 for Lee, 10 for U.S. Rep. Diane Black (who hasn’t announced as a candidate), seven for House Speaker Beth Harwell and two for Randy Boyd.

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Harwell appoints PAC treasurer to TN State Museum governing board

House Speaker Beth Harwell has reappointed Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel to the governing board of the Tennessee State Museum, but is giving her own seat on the panel to Tina Hodges, CEO of Nashville-based Advance Financial.

Harwell had previously appointed herself to a four-year term on the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission that officially expired June 30, but she continued to serve through the panel’s July 3 meeting, as allowed under relevant rules allowing an appointee to stay aboard until a successor is appointed, said Kara Owen, spokeswoman to the speaker in response to email inquiries.

Subsequently, Owen said, Harwell appointed Hodges, who already serves – by appointment of Gov. Bill Haslam – on the board of directors for Volunteer Tennessee, a group that has the declared mission of promoting “volunteerism and community service” by Tennesseans. She is currently listed as vice chairman.

Hodges also serves as treasurer of Advance PAC, a political action committee operated by Advance Financial. A check of the Registry of Campaign Finance website for 2015 and 2016 shows Advance PAC giving Harwell’s reelection campaign for her state House seat $10,000 and it also donated $8,000 to the leadership PAC operated by Harwell.

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Duncan paid $316K in campaign funds to son; other family members also on payroll

U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr.’s congressional campaign account has paid the Knoxville Republican’s son, John J. Duncan III, $316,500 in salary since July, 2013, when the younger Duncan pleaded guilty to misconduct charges and resigned as Knox County trustee, reports the Nashville Post.

The campaign also pays for his son’s cellphone and reimburses his mileage, many meals and multiple other expenses, according to reporter Cari Wade Gervin’s review of campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The article says that the veteran officeholder has also made thousands of dollars in payments to other family members – another son, a niece, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and his sister – through his campaign fund and through his political action committee, Road to Victory PAC.

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Complaint filed with FEC contends campaign finance law violated by Kelsey congressional campaign

News release from Campaign Legal Center

WASHINGTON –  Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 (D21) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and will file with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Congressional candidate Brian Kelsey and others, including the American Conservative Union (ACU), for their part in a scheme to circumvent contribution limits and disclosure laws by illegally funneling funds from Kelsey’s state account through intermediaries to secretly support Kelsey’s run for U.S. Congress in 2016.

“In order to disguise the illegal transfer of prohibited state money into his federal race, it appears that Kelsey concocted a scheme to pass the money through a dark money daisy chain and straw donor reimbursement plot,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “Kelsey appears to have stacked legal violation on top of legal violation, and we anticipate that the FEC and DOJ will take this very seriously.”

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