Campaign Finance Reform Bill Fails

Tuesday, May 03, 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.


Man, 51, Shot And Killed By Cleveland Police Officers

A 51-year-old man was shot and killed by Cleveland Police officers just before noon Tuesday. Police said Robert Edwin Eaves was a registered sex offender who had abducted a 28-year-old woman and taken her to an address on Phillips Street, where the shooting occurred. Police said three children were inside the house, including a 16-year-old babysitter. One of the children ... (click for more)

Senate Democrats Elect Lee Harris Senate Minority Leader

Senate Democrats elected Senator Lee Harris of Memphis to the post of senate minority leader  on Tuesday . "In a caucus of five members, every single Democrat is a leader in his or her own right," Senator Harris said. "We're making a bet on the future of the Democratic Party in Tennessee, and we're betting that we have better ideas to move Tennessee forward." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Faculty Has No Business Being Involved In Hiring Decisions

This letter will hopefully bring some clarity to the recent situation created by the faculty of Chattanooga State Community College. It is based upon my tenure as a member of the faculty at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, the transformation to Chattanooga State Community College, and my service as the financial and administrative officer at Chattanooga State until my retirement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Conversations

I am not predicting this will happen but I have known it to occur – in the middle of the Thanksgiving feast there will come a lull in the conversation and you can save the day if you’ll immediately look at the person to your right and ask, “What is the smartest thing you ever heard somebody say?” It is an easy thing, because we all love wisdom, and the ploy comes to mind because ... (click for more)

UTC Women Rally Past Austin Peay, 76-65

In post-game comments UTC sophomore Jasmine Joyner said the Mocs “needed to get tougher when we trailed (Austin Peay by nine) in the second half.” And tougher they got as the Gilbert sisters – Aryanna and Keiana -   on offense and Red Payne and Chelsey Shumpert on defense sparked a comeback for a 76-65 non-conference women’s basketball win at McKenzie Arena before an ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Toser, Turner Set For TACA All-Stars

Ooltewah place-kicker Laszlo Toser and cheerleader Haley Turner, both seniors, will participate in the 2014 East-West All-Star football game at Tennessee Tech University on Dec. 12. Toser, the Owls’ record-setting kicker who is a Mr. Football finalist, will report on Tuesday night for practices leading up to the eighth annual game promoted by the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association. ... (click for more)