fundraising

Black raising money for reelection to Congress, not a run for governor

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who has been mulling a run for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination for months, has scheduled a Washington fundraiser this week — $2,500 admission for a “PAC host,” $1,000 for a “PAC attendee” and $500 for a non-PAC person – with proceeds earmarked for her congressional reelection campaign fund, reports Tennessee Star.

Thursday night’s fundraiser will be held at Ocean Prime, one of the premiere eating establishments on Capitol Hill.

The menu, which features a Ribeye Steak for $52 and Dutch Harbor King Crab Legs for $65, is well suited to Washington lobbyists, but a far cry from the Cracker Barrels that dot the I-40 corridor of the Sixth Congressional District Black represents in Tennessee.

The news of Black’s Congressional fundraiser has veteran political tea leaf readers across the state of Tennessee scratching their heads.

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Bill Lee fundraiser collects $1.3M for gubernatorial campaign

News release from Bill Lee campaign

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Surrounded by hundreds of supporters tonight (Tuesday), Conservative Williamson County businessman Bill Lee announced that his campaign for governor has raised $1.3 million at his first major fundraising event.  The event took place this evening at legendary performer Michael W. Smith’s barn in Franklin.

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Ryan’s Knoxville country club fundraiser draws protesters

U.S.  House Speaker Paul Ryan had private visits in Knoxville and Nashville Thursday with Tennessee Republican congressmen, reports the News Sentinel. Outside of Knoxville’s Cherokee County Club, site of a fundraiser, more than 100 protesters showed up despite the rain.

“He’s in there charging $10,000 for a photo op, and then we’re out here trying to make sure that we have health care next year,” said a soaked Gloria Johnson, a former Democratic state representative and the organizer of the protest, who joked that she left her raincoat at home.

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Paul Ryan schedules Knoxville fundraiser with TN Republican congressmen

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is scheduled to visit Knoxville Thursday evening for a private fundraiser hosted by Republican members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, according to a widely-distributed invitation.

The invitation says basic cost of admittance is $2,500 per couple — $10,000 to come early and have a photo made with Ryan and/or the congressmen. Checks go to Team Ryan, a political action committee set up by the House speaker that, in turn, is affiliated with the National Congressional Campaign Committee, fundraising arm of the U.S. House Republican Caucus.

Presumably, Tennessee congressional delegation members will get a piece of the proceeds..

The invite says you have to RSVP to get the location, but Brian Hornback reports the reception is at Knoxville’s Cherokee Country Club with another gathering apparently planned afterwards at the home of James A. “Big Jim” Haslam II, Gov. Bill Haslam’s father and founder of Pilot Corp., to benefit the governor’s political action committee. Admission to the Haslam PAC fundraiser is $25,000 per couple.

TN Democrats raised $300K at Jackson Day dinner

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party

Nashville, Tenn. (May 22, 2017) – On Friday, May 19, 800 Tennessee Democrats from across the state gathered in Nashville to celebrate the annual Three Star Jackson Day Dinner. Attendees heard from elected leaders and candidates, paid tribute to President Barack Obama and looked to the future.

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Jackson Day crowd (800) urged to turn ‘outrage’ over Trump into 2018 TN Democratic wins

A crowd estimated at 800 turned out for the Tennessee Democratic Party’s annual Jackson Day dinner Friday night and heard speeches that included criticism of President Donald Trump and optimism about the improved prospects for the party in the 2018 elections, reports The Tennessean.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was keynote speaker with others the group including former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who has announced as a candidate for governor, and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, who had expressed interest in running for governor as well.

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Bredesen, Freeman co-host fundraiser for Va. senator

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Nashville businessman Bill Freeman, who have been at odds over political matters in the past, are co-hosting a fundraiser for Virginia Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s 2018 reelection campaign on April 28, reports The Tennessean.

The event will be held at Valentino’s Ristorante, which is co-owned by Freeman.

To be a host for the lunch reception fundraiser at the West End Avenue restaurant, donors are to contribute $5,400, according to an invitation obtained by The Tennessean, while others are asked to donate $2,700 a person.

Ahead of the presidential election, Freeman and other Nashville Democrats welcomed Kaine at Valentino’s for an Aug. 23 fundraiser for the then-vice presidential candidate and his running partner Hillary Clinton.

Kaine’s Senate seat figures to be a top target of Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections, although at this point there are no declared GOP candidates seeking the seat.

On compromise and fundraising for a POW flag at TN Capitol

The Legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee staff calculates it would cost $100,000 to begin flying a POW-MIA flag over the Tennessee state Capitol at all times, as initially required by SB125. The Tennessean reports that a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise the funds and that Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, sponsor of the bill, has personally contributed $10,000 to the cause.

The problem is that laws already require the flying of three flags over the Capitol – the American flag, the Tennessee flag and, when the legislature is in session, the official flag of the General Assembly. Because of the way flag poles are structured in the Capitol dome, or cupola, the addition of another flag would require a new flag pole and some rearrangement.

As things stand now, the Senate has voted to amend Green’s bill so the POW flag would fly only when the General Assembly is not in session, effectively replacing the legislature’s flag at such times (which, of course, is most of the year). The amended bill passed the Senate unanimously and awaits its first vote in the House.

Says Green (via Tennessean): “We had no idea the cupola was at its max capacity… It’s a bummer.”

Note: The fiscal note explaining the cost is HERE. The GoFundme campaign is HERE.

Legislators beat the blackout clock with pre-session fundraisers

State law imposes a ban on fundraising during the legislative session that begins at noon today, but a bunch of lawmakers beat the “blackout” clock by holding fundraising events shortly before the deadline, reports the Times-Free Press.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, a potential 2018 candidate for governor, held a $2,500 per person or political action committee event (Monday), along with the 74-member House Republican Caucus and five-member Senate Democratic Caucus.

Others listed by the newspaper as holding fundraisers newly-elected House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, and his immediate predecessor,  former Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.

Also:

* House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, who is weighing a 2018 gubernatorial bid.

* Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville.

* Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston.

* Freshman Rep. Mark Lovell, R-Eads.

* House Democratic Caucus members hold their event Tuesday prior to the new General Assembly convening.

* Senate State and Local Committee Chairman Ken Yager, R-Harriman, holds his fundraiser Tuesday morning.

* Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, holds a fundraiser Tuesday as well.

Incoming Senate Speaker Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, held a $10,000 per person event for his McPAC last week.

AG says it’s OK for governors to hold political fundraisers at the executive residence

Attorney General Herbert Slatery has opined that Tennessee law permits fundraising events at the governor’s executive residence, but also requires disclosure of any related expenditures at such events.

The opinion was requested by state Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, after Gov. Bill Haslam hosted a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio during the Florida senator’s unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. (Note: The full opinion is HERE.)

The Times-Free Press has a write-up on the opinion. An excerpt:

Tennessee governors, both Democrats and Republicans, have for decades held or allowed political fundraising at the mansion. Campaign fundraisers have been held in the past at other state-owned venues by Republican and Democratic legislators, as well. That’s because Tennessee’s “Little Hatch Act” specifically includes an escape hatch for the state’s elected politicians.

The provision declares it illegal to use public buildings or facilities for meetings or preparation of campaign activity in support of any particular “candidate, party or measure.”

That is “unless reasonably equal opportunity is provided for presentation of all sides or views, or reasonably equal access to the buildings or facilities is provided all sides.”

In his response to a series of related questions posed by Clemmons, Slatery also said the state’s Campaign Financial Disclosure Act “would require the disclosure of such [public] expenditures if they constitute either a ‘contribution’ or an ‘expenditure’ as defined under the Act.”

It’s unclear how a state campaign financial disclosure requirement would apply in Rubio’s case. It’s not known who or what entity footed the bill. Moreover, Rubio himself is a federal officeholder and presumably not covered by the state’s campaign disclosure law.

The story also notes a second, separate opinion (HERE) requested by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, that says social media accounts set up by Tennessee municipalities may be subject to the state’s Open Records Act.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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