John Duncan

Investigators find ‘substantial reason’ to believe Duncan violated House rules with family spending

Congressional ethics investigators say they have found substantial reason to believe Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. improperly used thousands of campaign dollars on personal expenses for himself and his family, reports Michael Collins.

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Duncan facing ethics investigation — apparently over campaign payments to family

The House Ethics Committee is investigating U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. of Knoxville, though not giving a reason for the probe in a statement Tuesday. But there’s immediate speculation the investigation involves  payment of campaign funds to the congressman’s relatives – most notably his son, John J. Duncan III — that continued through into December of 2017 after media reporting on the matter in July. Duncan says he’s done nothing wrong.

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Corker, Duncan quoted in report on ‘bumper crop’ of retiring congressmen

In an article on the two dozen members of Congress who are retiring this year, Politico suggests that unhappiness with the current political environment is a factor – and quotes two departing Tennessee politicians in the process.

People retire every cycle. But this year’s group is a bumper crop of members wondering whether Congress is broken forever—even as they insist they love their own jobs.

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On the ‘Hush Fund Elimination Act” and an age discrimination lawsuit against Duncan

While  co-sponsoring the “Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act” and enthusiastically supporting its provisions dealing with sexual harassment, the Nashville Post reports that U.S. Reps. Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn are vague on whether it should apply to settlements of other legal claims – such as a payment settling an age discrimination lawsuit brought by one of Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan’s staffers.

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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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Ken Gross is fourth Republican to launch campaign for 2nd Congressional District

Ken Gross, a politically-active Knoxville business executive, has become the fourth Republican to declare himself a candidate to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District.

His campaign slogan, Gross tells the News Sentinel: Make Congress great again.

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Duncan won’t back Burchett as successor in Congress… maybe Matlock

Soon-to-retire U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. tells the Nashville Post that he’s definitely not going to endorse Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett as his successor, though leaving the door open to support for state Rep. Jimmy Matlock’s run for the 2nd District Congressional seat.

And Duncan says he will continue payments from his campaign account to his son for now – though reducing the amount.

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Burchett officially kicks off campaign for Congress

Hundreds of people came out Saturday to hear Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett deliver a speech declaring himself a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., reports the News Sentinel.

“The House was created before the Senate. It was created to represent the people…the farmers, the laborers and the small business owners, people we call our blue collar workers,” he said. “People, who in 2017, go to work every day with their names on their shirts.

“There’s a reason House seats are on the ballot every dad-gum two years, it’s because these seats belong to the people, not to any one candidate or elected official,” he continued.

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Besides Burchett, Duncan retirement may bring out other candidates for 2nd Congressional District

Beside Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who is scheduled to announce his political plans Saturday, the News Sentinel has a rundown on other prospective candidates to replace retiring U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District. The article quotes former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe as saying Burchett is the clear frontrunner at this early juncture.

Among other Republicans: State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who says he think about it. Also, listed as “rumored” but not quoted are Blount County Sheriff Jim Berrong, state Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville; state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville.

State Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, who ran against Duncan in the 2014 GOP primary, said he’s not running for Congress.

On the Democratic side, Joshua Williams, a clinical psychologist, had already announced as a candidate before Duncan said he is retiring. Renee Hoyos, executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, says she’s considering a run. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero says she is not.

The district, of course, is solidly Republican and hasn’t elected a Democrat since the Civil War.

TN politician comments on Congressman Duncan’s retirement

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (via News Sentinel)

“I am grateful for Congressman Duncan’s friendship, and I appreciate the years of service he and his family have dedicated to our community… He has been a consistent, conservative voice for the 2nd District, and he’s represented us well. Few families have made a bigger impact in East Tennessee than the Duncan family, and I have no doubt they will continue to make a difference.

In an interview after Duncan’s announcement, Burchett declined to say whether he intends to run for Duncan’s seat. “I’ll still be making my announcement on Saturday,” he said. “I think it’s time we reflected on Congressman Duncan and his family’s service to our community.”

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock

“We just learned of the announcement by Congressman Jimmy Duncan not to seek another term of office. I can think of no one who has conducted himself in a more statesmanlike, humble manner. In over 30 years of working with him, I’ve never been around an individual who woke up every day with such zeal to serve his constituents. He has set the bar so high that we will have a difficult task of trying to meet that level of devotion and character in our district and in our nation. I wish to give a heartfelt thank you to Congressman Duncan from myself and my family for his years of service.”

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