Bill to ban lawmakers from selling services to the state wouldn’t extend to executive branch

A Lee Company truck is parked outside the fire-damaged John Sevier State Office Building on Nov. 24, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Current law makes it illegal for public officials to enter into sales or purchase contracts with the state. A bill moving in the House would also make it a crime for lawmakers to secure service contracts with the state, with the main aim being to curb the practice of members’ political consulting firms getting paid with taxpayer funds to design and send constituent correspondence on behalf of their colleagues.

The bill sponsored by House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) initially would have applied to any government official, but as amended it is limited to “any member of the General Assembly.”

When Bill Lee was running for governor, he appeared to have been caught off guard by questions about what would happened to government contracts held by his family plumbing and air conditioning company if he were elected governor.

“I would guess we would be required to do that. I haven’t actually looked into that. I basically went into this thing and said, am I willing to give up state contracts to do this, yes,” Lee said in 2017. “Will we be required to? I don’t know. If we aren’t required to, I won’t.”

Lee later clarified his position and announced he would cancel all contracts if he was elected. Lee Co. trucks have sporadically been spotted around the Capitol complex since the governor took office, but officials say the company has no active contracts.

24 Responses to Bill to ban lawmakers from selling services to the state wouldn’t extend to executive branch

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    All governments are evil and some are crooks.

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      Eddie White says:

      Hmm, do you mean the government that provided the military to defeat Nazi Germany? Or the government that provides the firemen and equipment to put the fire out that has engulfed your house? This is the kind of nonsense that hurts conservatives and helps elect a Democratic Congress and President.

      • Avatar
        James White says:

        The larger any government becomes, the bigger the idiot or the more
        troublesome an evil villain it is likely to be. The increasing quantity of government, in
        all nations, has constituted the greatest tragedy of the Twentieth Century.
        They try to do ‘good’ and it turns into evil by sometimes no fault of their own.
        I would rather have 3 million government workers, everyone a thief, than 300 thousand, everyone trying to do good. As the former will only steal from us, but the latter will eventually destroy us.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Good one James! Variations on a theme from C. S. Lewis:

          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their conscience.”

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        James White says:

        Eddie, the firemen aren’t evil, but the government that told the police and firemen to not help the citizens in Portland are evil.

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          Eddie White says:

          James, setting aside the C.S. Lewis references, to assign evil to government does not serve you or the conservative movement well. We all know the problems big government presents. I have seen it first hand. You did not say big government was evil, you said all government is evil. But our law enforcement, military, firemen, e-verify officials, immigration officials are all part of our government. This extreme philosophy only drives away voters and helps elect the people you claim are ruining our constitution. Of course voting for small right wing parties such as the libertarian and constitution parties leads to the same result.

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    MARLE says:

    Some serious money has been made with Spouses’ companies selling to government….is that practice now off the table?

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Now WHY would the Governor not volunteer to add his position to the list?? This law should apply to every single politician in the state. Any exceptions to this law are just asking for trouble and we already know that conservative republicans will jump at any such chance.

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Strange choice of editorial priorities Erik has in deciding what to cover on this blog. Apparently, like our own Inspector Clouseau of the French Surete whose enthusiastic suspicions of REPUBLICAN wrongdoing he often excitedly writes about on this forum Erik is on the “skullduggery beat” devoting himself to ferreting out every last shady buck that is being made somewhere, somehow in Tennessee government.

    At a time when the Sanctity in Girl Athletics and E-Verify Bills are being considered in the General Assembly I think that legislation is more important than someone, somewhere making a questionable buck on the public fisc. I don’t feel strongly enough about this, however, to start my own blog so I guess I simply will continue to be uber-informed about potential/suspected skullduggery.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      There’s a third choice. Be uber informed. Start you own. OR PERHAPS stop coming to this blog.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Well said MARLE. You’ve given me three choices without expressing any preference for one or the other and CERTAINLY without telling me which one to choose. Now that I have been presented with yet another choice I will continue to choose “. . . to be uber-informed. . . .”

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          Cryan says:

          Everyone has a typo now and then, but your excessive use of quotation marks to which nothing is attributed and your spaced four periods constituting an ellipsis just wreaks of psychotic.

          Do you eat people too, Dr. Lecter?

    • Avatar
      James White says:

      I see that they may start pushing E-verify to use as a vehicle to carry the VAX certificates. I am for E-verify, but the bill they may pass should prohibit using it for Vaccination verification.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        You needn’t worry James. The E-Verify bill was voted down in subcommittee 0-6-1 with the following four Republicans showing that they are not all that serious about our open border by voting “No” regarding the legislation:

        Clark Boyd (ACU – 89%)
        Rush Bricken (80%)
        Kirk Haston (79%)
        Kevin Vaughn (80%)
        Susan Lynn (86%) – Present but not voting.

        Just to refresh conservative’s memory of why they should NEVER, EVER contribute a dime to any pocket of the Republican Party, the Republican leadership scuttled any attempt to bring E-Verify legislation to the floor of the House, thus saving House Republicans having to make a choice of whether to vote against a majority of their constituents or vote against the wishes of employers of less than six workers.

        “MILLIONS FOR CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATES, NOT A PENNY FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY”

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          Yeah, a little conservative republican corruption never bothered good old Stuart! Just smooth it over and move on. This criminal behavior is what makes our government so crooked in the end- it’s just a little here and a little there.

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          Donna Locke says:

          Stuart, Susan Lynn is one of the biggest phonies up there. These pigs in the legislature don’t care, but in the future, the generations coming up will know exactly who sold them out, even with the coming history revisions in effect.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Susan Lynn and I go wayyyyy back to the early days in her political career when I contributed to her campaign and had a most friendly relationship with her. Earlier today, however, a long-time conservative friend of mine was telling me that there is conservative dissatisfaction with the more recent incarnation of Susan Lynn. The Susan Lynn I knew would have a higher than 86% lifetime ACU voting record. Perhaps as her status in the General Assembly grew she has become too anxious to please the Chamber/NFIB lobby and the Republican establishment.

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            Donna Locke says:

            Stuart, Lynn’s phoniness is not recent. Thanks for posting about E-Verify. One of the business lobbyists went after me in the comments at the Tennessee Star. They don’t even know what they’re talking about. It is not an exaggeration to call that bunch anti-American, so I’ll refer to them that way from now on. For context here, my in-laws were and are businessmen and -women, and my daughter has her own businesses. We know who our real allies are.

    • Avatar
      Taxpayer #314 says:

      It is not “someone, somewhere” that is making a buck, it is YOUR elected representatives that are making lots of bucks off of scamming companies set up to do exactly that – scam money from the voting public. This practice is exactly why the conservative republican numbers are going down, Taxpayers don’t like to be cheated. It might be OK with you Stuart, but most voters don’t agree with it.

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    Why are you trying to cost people their jobs? People need MORE opportunities…not less. This near sighted racist behavior is why America is full of over privileged white males today. The rest of the world doesn’t treat workers this way. Shame. Worry about assault guns and mass murders and universal healthcare and meaningful subjects.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      When you’re hot you’re hot. That’s why the Lady Race Baiters keep giving the ball to Beatrice while she is virtually at mid-court just to see he slam those three pointers in like she just did for the second day in a row. The conversation is about the problem of a certain number of low skill jobs being available in this country and Americans trying to decide whether they should go to an American or to a Central American, Yemeni, Pakistani, etc. etc. and Beatrice scores by shooting that old leftist go-to subject changer “RACISM.” Just how much longer can Beatrice keep it up fans?

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        More conservative diversion tactics – Stuart is always the first one to scream about how non-racist he is.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    TN Star is reporting that Penny Schwinn gave a 8 million dollar contract to the company her husband works for. No uproar over that so far.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    No uproar because nobody knows yet.

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