Uncategorized

Lee raises more than $3M for re-election bid

Bill Lee delivers his inaugural address in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will report raising more than $3 million in the period covering the second half of 2021, The Tennessee Journal has learned. The Republican had about $5 million on hand as he began his re-election year.

Lee partially self-funded his 2018 gubernatorial bid. He’s not expected to report any loans to his re-election campaign.

Lee has yet to attract an opponent for the GOP nomination. Several Democrats have announced plans to run against him, including Nashville physician Jason Martin and Memphis City Council member JB Smiley Jr.

Lee last summer reported raising $3.6 million since being elected governor in 2018 and spending $1.85 million over the same period. Lee’s biggest donor since his defeat of Democrat Karl Dean was the Pharma Tennessee PAC, which had given $47,600 through July. Next were $24,600 each from St. Louis-based managed care company Centene and the PACs of H.G. Hill Realty and the David Volkert & Associates construction engineering firm.

The Butler Snow law firm’s PAC has ponied up $20,900, while Amazon and the HDR architecture and construction services company of Brentwood kicked in another $20,000.

The deadline to submit the most recent campaign finance reports is Monday, which is the same day the governor is scheduled to deliver the final State of the State address of his first term in office.

Trump makes endorsement in GOP primary for 5th District

Morgan Ortagus

Former President Donald Trump is endorsing Morgan Ortagus, a former spokeswoman to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for the Republican nomination in the new-look 5th Congressional District. Provided, of course, that she becomes a candidate for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville).

Ortagus is a former commentator on Fox News who joined Nashville-based Rubicon Founders, a health care investment firm launched by ex-Landmark Health CEO Adam Boehler, after leaving the Trump administration.

“I am told the very strong and impressive Morgan Ortagus is exploring a run for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District,” Trump said in a statement issued through his Save America PAC. “I couldn’t be happier because she’s an absolute warrior for America First and MAGA!

“Morgan was fantastic in her role working with Secretary Mike Pompeo at the U.S. State Department and understands the threats posed by China, Russia, Iran and others, and will be tough, not just roll over like the Democrats and RINOs,” he said. “She serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves and will fight for our Military. She won’t bow to the Woke Mob or the Leftist LameStream Media. Morgan Ortagus will have my Complete and Total Endorsement if she decides to run!”

The only officially announced GOP candidate so far is video producer Robbie Starbuck, who has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Others considering bids include former state House Speaker Beth Harwell, attorney and retired National Guard general Kurt Winstead, entrepreneur Baxter Lee, and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles.

Jim Cooper to retire from Congress after 5th District redistricting

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) appears at a Senate redistricting meeting in Nashville on Oct. 18, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper says he won’t run for another term after Republicans split Nashville into three congressional districts.

“I am a proud Democrat who refuses to demagogue, and who chooses to be on the right side of history in order to give all our kids a better future,” Cooper said in a statement. “My votes certainly fueled our Republican legislature’s revenge.”

Here is the full release from Cooper’s office:

NASHVILLE – Today Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) released the following statement:

“Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress. After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year.

“I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history, making me the state’s 3rd longest-serving member of Congress. You allowed me to help millions of people while representing our state capital, as well as 30 of our state’s 95 counties.

“Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville. No one tried harder to keep our city whole. I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville. There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.

“I am announcing my decision promptly so that others have more time to campaign. I will return the individual contributions that I have received for this race so that donors can redirect them as they choose.

“I plan on finishing out my term by maintaining a high level of service to all the 760,000+ people in the 5th congressional district. A member of Congress is only as good as his staff, and I’ve had the very best talent for almost 40 years. They are a joy and a blessing. Many have gone on to great careers inside and outside of government. My 600+ interns over the years are our future leaders.

“I’ve given out my personal cell phone number (615-714-1719) to everyone, unlike almost anyone else in Congress, so that I am accessible, even during Covid. And you have called! It’s been a privilege to hear your thoughts, help cut red tape, and to assist in emergencies.

“Another way I’ve been helping is channeling $9.5 billion in federal funds to the Nashville district in just the last 20 months, far more federal money than ever.

 “Anyone who would like a detailed breakdown of this recent federal aid should contact Cara Ince in my office. And the $9.5 billion does not count the billions of dollars of federal aid that our General Assembly has rejected, or the additional funds from the Infrastructure Act (that no Tennessee GOP federal representative supported).

“Most of my work in the House — the real work of Congress gets no publicity — has been on the Intelligence, Armed Services, Budget and Oversight Committees. I serve on more committees than anyone else while maintaining a nationally-recognized level of civility and bipartisanship, even in these divisive times.

“No one is perfect, and I know I’ve made mistakes. I appreciate those who have educated me and helped me improve. But I am a proud Democrat who refuses to demagogue, and who chooses to be on the right side of history in order to give all our kids a better future. My votes certainly fueled our Republican legislature’s revenge.

“I love the intimacy of solving others’ problems. I am prejudiced, but Tennesseans are the finest people in the world. We include recent arrivals, particularly immigrants, who often have hard lives. I hate the thought that no congressional office may be willing to help them after I leave. One of my remarkable staffers, John Wood, has been a one-man Statue of Liberty for decades.

“I don’t know what the future holds but I am ready to get another job next year and make up for lost time with family and friends. I could not be more excited. Having started as the youngest congressman in America, even after my record tenure I am still only 67 years old.

“For everything there is a season, a time and place under the sun. My time in Congress is ending, but I can’t wait to start the next adventure.”

Senate to take up Robinson ethics case, potential ouster on Feb. 2

State Sen. Katrina Robinson confers with Rep. G.A. Hardaway (both D-Memphis) after the Sente Ethics Committee recommended Robinson’s expulsion on Jan. 20, 20222. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) says the full chamber will take up the ethics case against Sen. Katrina Robinson on Feb. 2. The Senate Ethics Committee last week recommended the Memphis Democrat’s expulsion over federal fraud charges related to her nursing school.

Robinson is awaiting sentencing after a jury found her guilty of two charges of misspending federal grant money intended for the school. She has also agreed to pre-trial diversion on separate case in which the government alleged she and two codefendants conspired to cheat a man out of $14,470 by falsely claiming the money was needed to cover tuition
for a student at her school.

McNally has called on Robinson to resign before the matter comes before the full Senate. Democrats called the move premature because Robinson hasn’t been sentenced yet.

Here is the Senate Ethics Committee’s report to the chamber:

The Senate Ethics Committee held a public meeting on January 20, 2021 after the Committee voted 4-0 in a private hearing on January 10, 2021 that probable cause existed that Senator Katrina Robinson violated the law or the Senate Code of Ethics. The committee made this determination based on Senator Robinson’s actions that resulted in a jury conviction in federal court on September 30, 2021 for wire fraud (counts 11 and 12 of her indictment) and for actions which led to a pretrial diversion agreement with the United States that was filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on December 17, 2021.

Complaint 1: A jury conviction in federal court on September 30, 2021 for wire fraud (counts 11 and 12 of her indictment); and

Complaint 2: A pretrial diversion agreement with the United States that was filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on December 17,2021.

The following public court documents were submitted to the committee as exhibits and are attached to this report:

Exhibit 1: The Superseding Indictment from January 14, 2021 in United States of America v. Katrina Robinson, Criminal No. 2:20-cr-20148-SHL

Exhibit 2: The Jury Instructions in United States of America v. Katrina Robinson, Cr. No. 20-20148- SHL

Exhibit 3: The Jury’s Verdict in United States of America v. Katrina Robinson, Cr. No. 20-20148- SHL

Exhibit 4: Order Denying Defendant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal as to Counts 11 and 12; Granting Defendant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal as to Counts 19 and 20; and Denying Defendant’s Motion for New Trial in United States of America v. Katrina Robinson, No. 2:20-cr-20148-SHL

Exhibit 5: Criminal Complaint in United States of America v. Katrina Robinson, Katie Ayers, Brooke Boudreaux Case No. 21-cr-20003-MSN/tmp

Exhibit 6: Motion to Dismiss Indictment without Prejudice and the Pretrial Diversion Agreement in United States of America v. Katrina Robinson, Katie Ayers, Brooke Boudreaux Crim. No. 2:21-cr-20003-SHL

Chairman Ferrell Haile explained the complaints and submitted the court documents that support the information in the complaints. The committee had some discussion and some questions from Senator Robinson.

Senator Jack Johnson made a motion that Sen. Robinson’s actions in the two matters that were articulated by Chairman Haile do constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics of the Senate. The committee voted 4-1 in support of the motion.

A second motion was made by Senator Jack Johnson that should the senate find that the actions that have been laid forth do constitute a violation of the Senate Code of Ethics that this committee in compliance with Article 11, Section 12 of the Constitution of Tennessee recommend that Sen. Robinson be expelled from the body. The committee voted 4-1 in support of the motion.

Therefore, the Senate ethics committee finds that Senator Robinson’s actions in the two complaints do constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics of the Senate and that if the Senate makes that same finding, further recommends the Senate, in compliance with Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution of the state of Tennessee, expel Senator Robinson from the body.

/signed/

Chairman Ferrell Haile

Sen. Jack Johnson

Sen. Steve Southerland

Sen. John Stevens

Lee administration approves $28M in block grants

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters outside the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration has approved $28.5 million in block grants for 62 community projects. Here’s the release from the Department of Economic and Community Development:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe recently approved $28.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which will assist communities with infrastructure improvements, housing rehabilitations and health and safety initiatives.

“Investing in local infrastructure is one of our top priorities, and these funds will play a vital role as communities work to update their assets and keep their communities safe,” said Lee. “These recipients are proactively preparing their communities for future economic opportunities and continued growth.”

“Community Development Block Grants are an enormous asset to communities across Tennessee,” Rolfe said. “The 62 communities receiving CDBG funding will be better equipped for future economic opportunities, which in turn, will help our state continue to grow and succeed. I congratulate these recipients and look forward to seeing the successes in each community in the years to come.”

The allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set through the public meeting process at the local community level. The CDBG program is funded through HUD and administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development. Funds are available for water and sewer improvements and new extensions, housing rehabilitation and health and safety projects.

Here are the 62 Community Development Block Grants:

CommunityProjectAmount
AltamontWater System Improvements$630,000
Bethel SpringsWater System Improvements$313,049
BolivarSewer System Improvements$361,000
BrightonDrainage Improvements$326,679
BrownsvilleSewer System Improvements$630,000
BrucetonSewer System Improvements$511,750
Carroll CountyFire Protection$371,700
CarthageFire Protection$296,024
CelinaSewer System Improvements$630,000
Claiborne CountyWater Line Extension$630,000
Clay CountyEMS Improvements$206,706
CookevilleSewer System Improvements$580,675
DecaturWater System Improvements$630,000
DecherdEmergency Warning System$130,500
DucktownWater System Improvements$630,000
EnglewoodSewer System Improvements$630,000
EnvilleHousing Rehabilitation$525,000
Grand JunctionSewer System Improvements$209,760
GraysvilleFire Protection$420,000
Grundy CountySewer System Improvements$630,000
Hardin CountyFire Protection$290,112
HarrimanWater System Improvements$630,000
HarrogateSewer Line Extension$474,030
Henderson CountyFire Protection$288,176
HuntsvilleSewer System Improvements$630,000
JacksboroSewer System Improvements$630,000
JamestownSewer System Improvements$630,000
Jefferson CitySewer System Improvements$629,993
Jefferson CountyEMS Improvements$420,000
Johnson CountyEMS Improvements$293,582
Lauderdale CountyWater System Improvements$547,662
Lawrence CountyWater Line Extension$630,000
LawrenceburgStreet Light Improvements$268,180
LewisburgSewer System Improvements$450,000
LoudonSewer System Improvements$630,000
LuttrellSewer System Improvements$524,342
MasonWater Line Extension$431,935
Meigs CountyWater System Improvements$630,000
Monroe CountyWater Line Extension$630,000
Mount CarmelWater System Improvements$476,182
OakdaleEMS Improvements$290,535
Obion CountySewer System Improvements$564,000
OneidaWater System Improvements$630,000
Overton CountyFire Protection$420,000
PulaskiSewer System Improvements$630,000
Putnam CountyFire Protection$318,750
RutherfordWater System Improvements$276,854
SaltilloEmergency Warning System$112,601
SavannahSewer System Improvements$600,000
Sevier CountyWater System Improvements$215,426
Smith CountyEmergency Rescue Improvements$285,600
South CarthageHousing Rehabilitation$298,100
Spring CitySewer System Improvements$630,000
SpringfieldSewer System Improvements$630,000
StantonSewer System Improvements$513,188
SurgoinsvilleWater System Improvements$468,700
Tipton CountyEmergency Rescue Improvements$355,833
TusculumFire Protection$298,075
Unicoi CountySewer Line Extension$377,311
Van Buren CountyEMS Improvements$341,088
VanleerWater System Improvements$458,000
Warren CountyFire Protection$370,829

Casada blasts Registry as ‘biased,’ Ogles threatens legislative action to halt subpoenas

Then-House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin), right, meets with members on the Senate floor on May 1, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) on Friday called the members of the Registry of Election Finance “biased” for subpoenaing information from him about a political action committee allegedly created at the behest of his onetime chief of staff, Cade Cothren.

Speaking at a Williamson Inc. forum, Rep. Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin) also blasted the move, saying the House plans to take a “deep dive” into the powers of the campaign finance board’s powers. Ogles is close friends with Cothren and was a prominent Casada loyalist before his speakership collapsed in 2019.

Casada is retiring from the House and running for Williamson County clerk this year. The Registry in 2020 hit Casada with a $10,500 civil penalty for failing to keep receipts for $99,000 worth of expenditures made by his PAC. He also had his home and office searched by FBI agents early last year.

The Registry last week voted to issue subpoenas after a former girlfriend of Cothren’s testified under oath that she had set up a political action committee called the Faith Family Freedom Fund at his urging, but then had nothing to with it as it bankrolled attacks on the re-election bid of then-Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg). Email correspondence between someone purporting to be herself and the Registry did not come from her, she said.

Here is a transcript of the Williamson Inc. meeting on Friday:

Dave Crouch, moderator: The elephant in the room maybe this morning is you’ve been in the paper with some questions been asked about various things here recently. Is there anything you would like to say?

Glen Casada: I feel like a kid sitting on the side of the road, and someone’s just some come and punched me in the nose for no reason. If you didn’t know, the election registry of finance has subpoenaed me to ask me questions on a PAC. And the frustrating thing is, Dave, I have no knowledge of this PAC, I have no association, and there’s no reason to think that I do. And I realize three years ago, I was quite involved politically across the state on elections and getting people elected. But I just feel like the board has a bias, you know? And so, so let me just be very clear. And I was very clear [when I ] contacted them. Guys, not only do I not know, or never heard of this PAC, or no association with it. Why would you even reach out and punch me in the nose like you did? You know, there’s no reason to do that. So, so let me just put that to bed. And thank you for this opportunity to address it.

Crouch: I’m gonna push back a little just for conversation here. Cade Cothren was your chief of staff?

Casada: Yes. Three years ago.

Crouch: When you were speaker of House?

Casada: He was.

Crouch: And apparently he’s the one that had his girlfriend set this PAC up. That’s correct?

Casada: Yes.

Crouch: And why would he have done that?

Casada: You could ask Sam [Whitson], Brandon [Ogles], or Jack [Johnson] that question. I don’t know. I mean, there’s no association. It’s been three years ago when he was employed by me. So again, it’s just a bias on that board’s opinion. And the legislature gave them certain powers to be deliberative, and to be fair, and not biased. And I feel like you’re exhibiting biases by just assuming because he once worked for me three years ago, you know, that somehow I’m involved. And that’s not the way we run public policy.

Crouch: I just, I didn’t want to totally ignore the subject. I want to just air it out some. Brandon, you’ve got a comment?

Brandon Ogles: I’d like to speak to this because there was a conversation yesterday with members of the Judiciary Committee in the House. The fact that some of the things that were said in the press, they were so sloppily said by these committee members. For them to issue a subpoena that’s not signed by a judge, there’s going to be ramifications for that when you start threatening people to subpoena them. Some of these boards that we’ve set up in the state of Tennessee, these pseudo-entities, even entities within the state of Tennessee, that threaten people. And to issue subpoenas that have no weight, or credit, or value – and are not signed by a judge – circumvents every judiciary process we have in this state, both criminally and civilly. So we’re going to deep dive into this, this threat to subpoena people. And if this continues, remember: also the House committees can subpoena as well. So this will be interesting to watch play out. I’m going to enjoy being a member of Judiciary and seeing this come to light.

New TNJ edition alert: Tiptoeing through Tipton, Robinson’s travails, and a Merritt obit

State Sen. Katrina Robinson confers with Rep. G.A. Hardaway (both D-Memphis) after the Sente Ethics Committee recommended Robinson’s expulsion on Jan. 20, 20222. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here’s what’s in it:

— Senate approves slightly revised maps, House votes next week. Changes include splitting Tipton County between Rep. Cohen’s and Kustoff’s districts.

— Ethics panel calls for Robinson’s Senate expulsion, Democrats protest.

— Obituary: Gil Merritt, Supreme Court finalist who threw out fleeing felon laws.

Also: Another potential GOP candidate in the new-look 5th District, Orgel gets weak-kneed over decrepit buildings in Memphis, and Lundberg gets a new office.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Lee to deliver last State of the State of his first term on Jan. 31

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his second State of the State address in Nashville on Feb. 3, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee is scheduled to deliver his fourth State of the State address –the last of his first term in office — on Monday, Jan. 31. Lee is seeking a second term this fall.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced he will deliver his fourth State of the State address to the General Assembly and fellow Tennesseans on Monday, January 31 at 6 p.m. CT. The joint session will take place in the House Chamber of the Tennessee State Capitol.

“I look forward to sharing my vision for Tennessee, including my budget and legislative priorities for the year,” said Gov. Lee. “Tennessee shows the rest of the country that America hasn’t lost her way, and with the support of the General Assembly, we’ll continue to ensure Tennessee is a national leader for opportunity and freedom.”

The address can be found on Gov. Lee’s Facebook and YouTube channels and will be aired statewide.

Is that you, Cade? Read the email to the Registry the PAC’s treasurer says she didn’t write

The treasurer of a PAC that pilloried then-Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) in the 2020 primary says she never did anything beyond register the Faith Family Freedom Fund. Everything else, she testified to the Registry last week, was handled by the man she once thought she was in love with: Cade Cothren.

“He told me that none of this was illegal, that he didn’t do anything illegal, and that it was no big deal to open the political action committee,” said Sydney Friedopfer, a former Vanderbilt student.

“And he said he just couldn’t have a name on it, considering everything he had gone through, which I’m sure everyone’s aware,” she said. “But yeah, he resigned from his position as chief of staff to Glen Casada. And he didn’t want his name on the political action committees.”

Friedopfer, who now lives in Utah, said she was unaware the PAC had a Gmail address and that someone had been corresponding with the Registry under her name.

That was not me,” Friedopfer said.

An email purporting to be from Friedopfer was sent from a FaithFamilyFreedomTN@gmail.com account on Nov. 2, 2020. It was dismissive of a complaint filed against the PAC for allegedly coordinating its activities with Todd Warner, the Republican challenger who would go on to win the seat.

“It is extremely difficult to follow the rabbit holes of Mr. Hazelwood in this complaint and it seems the majority of his grievances are with other people/organizations,” the email said. “To our knowledge, we have disclosed all information required of our PAC in Tennessee and will certainly continue doing so.”

After offering to answer any further questions, the author signed off: “Thank you again, Sydney.”

The Registry last week voted to subpoena Cothren and others for more information about the PAC.

Ex-girlfriend testifies Cothren had her register PAC that attacked Casada foe Tillis

Cade Cothren, speaking on phone, attends a meeting with lawmakers and fellow staffers on the balcony ouside the House chamber on April 29, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tenenssee Journal)

In remarkable sworn testimony to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance on Thursday, the treasurer of a mysterious political action committee testified she had registered the outfit at the behest of her then-boyfriend, Cade Cothren, and had nothing further to do with it thereafter.

“I asked him if it was illegal to open it for him,” said Sydney Friedopfer, a former Vanderbilt student who now lives in Utah. “And he said no. And he said he just couldn’t have a name on it, considering everything he had gone through.”

The Family Faith Freedom Fund PAC was involved in attacking then-Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg), a foe of Cothren and his former boss, House Speaker Glen Casada, in the 2020 primary won by now-Rep. Todd Warner. (Just as a reminder, Cothren, Casada, Warner, and Rep. Robin Smith had their homes and offices searched by the FBI around this time last year).

Here is a transcript of Friedopfer’s testimony to the Registry on Thursday. The other speakers are Registry chair Paige Burcham Dennis, general counsel Lauren Topping, executive director Bill Young, and members Tom Lawless, David Golden, and Hank Fincher.

Paige Burcham Dennis: Miss Sydney, are you on the phone today?

Sydney Friedopfer: Yes, I am.

Paige Burcham Dennis: OK, before we get to you. I want to remind you, we’re going to have Lauren, give us a little bit of background on the Faith Family Freedom Fund case. But I do want to remind you that you are under oath today even though you’re participating by phone.

Sydney Friedopfer: OK, yep, no problem.

Paige Burcham Dennis: OK. Lauren, can you give the Registry a little bit of background on what’s going on with the Faith Family Freedom Fund case?

Lauren Topping: So as you’ll recall, this case came about as a result of a complaint that was filed with the Registry. As a result of that, there was an audit that was ordered. Up until this point in time, we had been unable to reach Ms. Friedopfer. And so the audit report basically says that we were unable to obtain any information. I think that’s all in your packet. But since then, we have been able to contact her and so she is here on the line today to tell you what she knows. So that’s kind of where we are.

Paige Burcham Dennis: OK, so at this time, Sydney, I understand you’re in Utah. Is that correct?

Sydney Friedopfer: Yes, that’s correct.

Paige Burcham Dennis: OK. I’m Chairman Burcham Dennis, and we’re going to let you tell us what you would like to tell us concerning the case.

Sydney Friedopfer: OK. So I guess I don’t have the exact date, sometime in end of 2019, early 2020. I had a friend of mine that I met when I was back at Vanderbilt ask me to open a political action committee for him. I was advised that I should tell you the name. The name is Cade Cothren. And I trusted him.

Paige Burcham Dennis: Could you repeat that? His name was what?

Sydney Friedopfer: Cade Cothren.

Paige Burcham Dennis: OK.

Sydney Friedopfer: Being a 22, 23-year-old at the time, I, unfortunately, did not have any information about politics. I asked him if it was illegal to open it for him. And he said no. And he said he just couldn’t have a name on it, considering everything he had gone through, which I’m sure everyone’s aware. But yeah, he resigned from his position as chief of staff to Glen Casada. And he didn’t want his name on the political action committees. Like being young and dumb, honestly, regarding this, I –

Paige Burcham Dennis: So Sydney, you had an involvement, a relationship or friendship, with him. And he asked you to do this on his behalf. That’s what you’re saying?

Sydney Friedopfer: Yes. I mean, yeah. At the time, I thought I loved him, I guess. But I was young and he’s 10 years older than me. And I trusted him. And so I opened the political action committee for him. And I filed the papers, signed my name, and that was the last I heard of it. I received the e-filing thing in the mail. And I just sent him a picture of that. And he took over from there. And I didn’t hear about it again until a reporter started calling me. But the first time I had anyone call me from a reputable source that I was going to talk to was when Lauren called me a few weeks ago.

Continue reading