Campaign Finance Reform Bill Fails

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - by Andy Spears, Senate Democratic Press Secretary

Nashville – Just one week after the Senate passed sweeping ethics reform meant to clean up the influence of money in state government, Senate Republicans voted in the Senate State & Local Government Committee to kill legislation designed to close a loophole in campaign finance law that allows individuals and special interest groups to funnel money to political candidates at levels far exceeding legal limits.

“The Republicans on the committee need to be honest with the people of Tennessee,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis, who sponsored the bill. “If we’re going to tell people we have campaign finance limits, we ought to really have limits. My bill would have put some controls in the campaign process to prevent hiding the true source of campaign funds by funneling them through numerous political action committees.”

Kyle’s bill was an attempt to enforce the campaign contribution limits currently on the books. Under current law, an individual can contribute $1,000 to a candidate for state office in a primary election and another $1,000 in the general election.

Kyle noted that during the 2004 election cycle, former King Pharmaceutical CEO John Gregory funneled over $1 million to GOP political action committees (PACs) and candidates. In some instances, Gregory money made up the bulk of money given to PACs (97% of the funding of State of Franklin PAC and 96% of Tennessee Conservative PAC).

“John Gregory and the Republicans ran campaigns in 2004 based on circumventing current campaign finance laws,” Kyle said. “I have no problem with John Gregory or other King Pharmaceuticals executives contributing to campaigns. I just think they should follow the law.”

Kyle said that Gregory recently contributed another $50,000 to the Tennessee Conservative PAC.
“Based on today’s vote, it appears the Republicans are planning to employ the same questionable tactics in the next election,” Kyle said. “Meanwhile, Democrats will continue to abide by both the letter and the spirit of the law.”

Because of the Senate Committee’s actions, the bill will not become law this year. The bill failed with all five Republican members voting no. Those members include Senator Tim Burchett, Senator Bill Ketron, Senator David Fowler, Senate Republican Leader Ron Ramsey and Senate Republican Caucus Chair Jeff Miller.


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the agenda for the upcoming city council meeting on Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Grohn). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. Proclamation “Luther Masengil Day” Presented by Councilman Chris Anderson V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION Transportation ... (click for more)

City Treasurer's Office Open Saturday On Last Day To Pay Taxes Without Interest Or Penalties

The city of Chattanooga Treasurer’s Office will be open on Saturday on the last day to pay property taxes without interest or penalties.   City Hall (101 East 11 th St.) will be open from 9 a.m. – noon . (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Always Been A Battleground Between Good And Evil

From the thousands slain in nearby Chickamauga Battlefield during the Civil War…  To the launching point of the Cherokee Indian’s Trail of Tears…  To the lunch counter sit-ins led by Howard School students — the only high school student sit-ins in the nation — during the Civil Rights Movement…  To Walter Cronkite calling the polluted Southern industrial town ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 92-Year-Old Victim

It is with great pride, and far greater relief, that I can report a “caretaker” is far different than a “boyfriend.” A story out of Memphis earlier this week morphed into a virtual fireball that had such power it appeared on the front page on a London newspaper and other news outlets all around the world when it was reported by the Associated Press a 28-year-old man had assaulted ... (click for more)

Baylor Girls Lose In State Basketball Semifinals, 69-61

NASHVILLE -- The third time wasn't the charm for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles in the semifinals of the D-II Class AA girls state basketball tournament at Lipscomb University, Baylor came up short for the third time this season against the Lady Eagles by a 69-61 final score. It was a see-saw affair with seven ties and 13 lead changes, ... (click for more)

UTC Men Edge VMI in Double Overtime, 86-82

The Chattanooga Mocs picked up a crucial road win in thrilling fashion, 86-82 in double overtime, at VMI. Chattanooga improves to 21-9, 14-3 in the Southern Conference, while the hosts fall to 11-17, 7-10 in league play. “It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination,” coach Will Wade said. “Good teams find a way to win, and we found a way to win. These were two highly motivated ... (click for more)