Sen. David Fowler said Wednesday he did nothing improper with lobbyist Charles Love, who has pleaded guilty in the Tennessee Waltz FBI sting.
In a tape Tuesday during the trial of County Commissioner William Cotton, the name of Sen. Fowler was among those mentioned that Love was meeting with in regards to the bogus E-cycle Management firm.
Sen. Fowler said, "Charles Love was not “working” with me. I was on the Senate Finance Committee at the time he came to see me, and I didn’t think anything of it since it is normal for lobbyists to visit with the members of a committee before which a bill is pending.
"As to what happened, Mr. Love called my law office and said that he was working with a company out of Atlanta that recycled computers. He wanted to introduce me to the company representative and explain the bill. He wanted to schedule the meeting while the representative was in the area to meet with Sen. Miller. I don’t recall the date, but I do recall Mr. Love never showed up and never called.
"Somehow I got his phone number (I think my assistant, Glenda, tracked it down) and I called to find out why he had stood me up. He said he’d decided to stay until the end of a County Commission meeting that was going on that morning. I told him that as a lobbyist he should never schedule a meeting and not have the courtesy to call and tell a legislator he was not coming; as a lobbyist he knew that our schedules were crowded; that it was rude to know you weren’t coming and not even call to advise; and that by setting up a meeting for him I had blocked out time I could have met with others which time was forever lost. He apologized and asked if we could reschedule. I told him we could, but only if he assured me that he would show up.
"On the rescheduled date, Mr. Love showed up at my law office with a man who said he was from Atlanta and worked for E-Cycle. I don’t recall anything else about the person, age or race. They explained the landfill issues surrounding computer disposal and how the bill was an attempt to address that problem. I remember questioning how narrowly it was drawn to permit only one business to qualify for the recycling project and explained that I generally did not favor such legislation. I explained that I didn’t realize that computers were problems for landfills and asked if they could give me some information on the subject to read.
"I remember getting the information (an article from some magazine or journal and maybe some newspaper articles). I don’t remember if he had it with him or if the company representative sent it to me by mail after the meeting. I remember reading it at a later time prior to session. That was my one and only meeting with Mr. Love or any E-Cycle person.
"There was a reception scheduled when session started (last year I believe). I RSVP’d but did not attend because I’d already met with the person and I knew there would not be anyone from Chattanooga there other than Mr. Love.
"There was never any discussion of money or political support for me. The only PAC check I have ever taken was from the Tennessee Conservative Union in 1994. I have taken only two cash contributions in my life to my knowledge: $100 each from Corky and Theresa Coker in 1994 while sitting in Mr. Corker’s office and $100 from Lester Barnett of Red Bank a couple of years ago when I went visited with him in his garden after going to see my dentist, Tom Blockley, whose office is across the street.
"I resent that anyone said they were 'working with me' in any way that would imply anything other than the occurrence of the meeting described above. The actions to which Mr. Love pled guilty are despicable. To offer a bribe or to take one is, to me, tantamount to treason as it subverts justice and the integrity needed for our form of government to work."