Legislator uses campaign money for machine gun ammo

State Rep. Judd Matheny, currently running for the Republican nomination to the 6th Congressional District seat, used $1,600 from his legislative campaign funds to pay for ammunition fired during target shooting for lawmakers with machine guns in April, reports The Tennessean.

“The ammunition was belted 30-06 ammunition from my personal collection I have acquired over the years. Two of our large tripod weapons need that stuff and it is mostly unobtainable already linked in belts that we could afford,” Matheny (R-Tullahoma) said in an emailed statement.

“I have many thousands of rounds I have stockpiled and I diverted 2,000 rounds to the shoot. We spent roughly another $12,000 in ammo (that) was donated by various groups (or the money was) to purchase it. I just augmented with some from my collection.”

Matheny defended the use of campaign funds for bullets and paying himself with those donor dollars, saying the event also teaches gun safety and “is a high value incident for my constituents.”

…The shoot, attended by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburg, and other Tennessee lawmakers while committee hearings proceeded at the Nashville statehouse, is the latest instance of lawmakers using their donations on a wide array of purchases.

Note: The article lists some other legislator purchases with campaign funds disclosed in reports covering the first six months of 2017. The biggest: $3,000 spent by Rep. Gerald McCormick on “office furnishings from a famous Maryland sculptor;” the smallest, $205 spent on “entertainment” at Skulls Rainbow Room, a Nashville bar that offers burlesque and craft cocktails.

The legislative machine gun event has been held for several years at Arnold Engineering Development Center near Tullahoma with Matheny serving as chief organizer. His disclosure shows that, besides the $1,640 he paid himself for ammo provided to the event, Matheny also used another $310.77 for a separate purchase of cartridges from an Ohio firm, $425 for a tent set up at the event; $90 for a “caution tape,” $124 for “hearing protection/safety glasses,” $376 on “food for workers,” and $317 for “snack and drinks.”

6 Responses to Legislator uses campaign money for machine gun ammo

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    Whatever… Some folks who contributed might get bent out of shape over this, I have better uses for my money than giving it to politicians.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Great thinking Cannoneer 2 so long as you can somehow avoid being governed and taxed by politicians. No problem if you usually vote for middle of the road Republican squishes like Corker who are wealthy and/or who get loads of money from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce/Business Round Table. Those of us who haven’t found a way to avoid government run by politicians and who want our governing politicians to be conservative, however, simply don’t have the luxury of failing to contribute all we can to our favored politicians if we want to stop the decline of this nation.

      • Cannoneer2 says:

        Stuart, in the past, I have donated to corporate PACs, “special interest” PACs, as well as individual candidates. I have also helped put out campaign signs and have put one up in my own yard. No more. Dollar for dollar I now believe my money will grow faster if it is properly invested and not politically “contributed”. I once believed that things would greatly improve when we had “regime change” in state government. At several gatherings, I listened to legislators breathlessly tell us what wonderful things would happen “when we get control” of the General Assembly. In my opinion,what we got was “same crap, different Party”. Once the R’s took charge, they weren’t that interested in listening any more. That scenario is now playing out at the national level. I was surprised at the half-truths and outright lies that have been told by our Republican “leaders” on both state and national levels. For example, I live in Rep. Susan ‘I Am Not For The Gas Tax So There Is Nothing To Debate’ Lynn’s district and am eagerly awaiting ANY sign of progress in this area with regard to our roads. Post tax increase, I HAVE seen increased activity in TDOT’s favorite working locations in other areas of the Midstate. So far in this area, I have seen one picture in the local media of a Governor’s visit, complete with a fawning Legislator. That’s it. I hope things improve. I will probably contribute and/or volunteer again at some point in the future, but I have yet to see a candidate that warrants digging out the check book. Right now I see a whole gaggle of career politicians here in Tennessee that are playing a game of musical chairs.

  • Jane Tucker says:

    School systems in his district could have certainly used that money

  • Kevin Baigert says:

    The fact that 30-06 ball ammo has ballooned in price to well over $1.00 per round, thanks in part to Government hoarding, and manufacturing regulations is somehow lost in the Gannett rag sheet. Wasn’t that long ago that I could buy military surplus 30-06 ammo for around $0.20 per round! Rep. Matheny represents the kind of man that Tennessee used to send to Nashville and Washington to represent her. And franky, as I drive around Tennessee, Representative Matheny still exhibits the traits that most Tenneseans identify with, and that originally made America great. Too bad our Gannett Tennesean continues to present “left” coast views. But maybe that’s why their distribution is sinking.

  • Chuck says:

    I agree with Ms. Tucker. How about requiring the extra funds to go to public agencies such as the school district, library, or food bank? If these funds go to a public election it seems to me they are then public funds and might be better spent on public needs. Those needs are there.
    Thanks.

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