FBI agents interviewed lawmakers throughout session, Zachary says Casada promoted Phoenix

Federal agents meet with legislative staffers outside the office of Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) in Nashville on Jan. 8, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

As first reported in the print edition of The Tennessee Journal, federal agents have been conducting interviews throughout the legislative session of lawmakers who engaged Republican Reps. Glen Casada of Franklin and Robin Smith of Hixson for political consulting work.

As recently as the last day of the session, state Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) told colleagues he had spoken to federal agents in his office. Zachary spent $4,408 with vendor Phoenix Solutions (though he misspelled it as “Phenoix Solutions” on his disclosures), the outfit believed to be at the center of the FBI probe.

Several colleagues have said Smith was a vocal advocate for steering more political work to Phoenix Solutions. She and Casada have both declined to say whether they have an ownership stake in the business.

“They did not tell me I couldn’t disclose the information that we discussed,” Zachary explained to Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Andy Sher following the Journal report, adding “even with my colleagues, I’ve still tried to be very careful about disclosing what we discussed.”

“Everything centered around the investigation with my colleagues, specifically Rep. Casada, Rep. Smith… I did a survey with Glen and it went through the Phoenix Solutions,” Zachary told the paper.

It’s the first time Phoenix Solutions has been publicly linked to Casada, a former House speaker. Others have said they were told to bill the vendor for work done at the behest of his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, or at the urging of Smith.

Zachary said he didn’t feel he provided any new information to agents “because Glen never pressured me, he didn’t hound me” to use the firm.

Registered in New Mexico in December 2019, Phoenix Solutions ended up receiving $231,000 from Tennessee Republicans in 2020. According to federal tax documents filed with the state, the company was run by a Matthew Phoenix, who at least one state lawmaker said he spoke to on the phone, but none has said to have met in person.

Smith’s attorney, Ben Rose, told the Times Free Press it was “news to us that Zachary, No. 1, has been talking to the FBI and that Zachary was, No. 2, a client of Phoenix. And it certainly didn’t have anything to do with [Smith].” He added, “Our position has been we continue to cooperate with the FBI.”

14 Responses to FBI agents interviewed lawmakers throughout session, Zachary says Casada promoted Phoenix

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    rich just get richer

  • Avatar
    Jason Wallflower says:

    Stunned. Absolutely stunned that Casada is directly tied to Phoenix Solutions.

    Prediction: Robin and Glenn will not be returning to the legislature after Nov. 2022 (or maybe even next session.) Warner definitely won’t be back. That’s a one-and-done deal for him.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Conservative, shady and perhaps illegal stuff. Not really anything new for the Republicans in Nashville.

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Swift says:

    Do as we say, not as we do.

  • Avatar
    TR says:

    Glen Casada is going to be in jail after November 2022.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    I have every confidence that my friend Glen Casada (ACU-86%) will emerge from yet another tempest in a teapot into the sunlight ready to continue the fine representation that he affords the great people of District 63 and Williamson County.

    • Avatar
      Cryan says:

      Oh yeah, I’m sure the people of District 63 really appreciate having a disgraced back-bencher instead of a speaker of the house.

      And of course you think Casada and Cothern using the n word and saying “Black people are idiots.” is a tempest in a teapot.

      You’re a fine representation of the GQP. Good luck increasing your voter base under Party Boss Trump.

      Biden – 64% Job Approval. What’s Trump’s? Or Stefanik’s?

      Loser.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        No surprise Biden’s approval is 64%. His “money for everybody” is widely appealing since 85% of households will get the Jackpot. Households where parents have chosen NOT to marry but to live together will see a Jackpot amount 30% higher than parents who have chosen marriage.

        Shockingly, not everyone who gets the money is happy to see wasteful spending. That is a small positive.

        If Republicans can articulate an Honest, Factual message about flawed policies, including Covid response, schools closings, immigration, debt, and race Without the vitriol of Trumpian-styled messenger they have a strong chance of winning. DeSantis Can win Independents and the Educated White males who bailed on Trump IF, and only IF, he drops the strident appeal to the type of person who marched with Tiki torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” or the recent so-called patriots who roamed the Capitol hallways yelling “Hang Mike Pence”. Let’s remember Trump ended his Jan 6 message to the latter by saying “We love YOU”.

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          Trump gave out the largest stimulus check on record and killed another one because he thought the amount was too low. His approval rating never got out of the 30s.

          The best electoral strategy for Democrats is to shut up and let the GQP implode. Anyone who thinks DJT, Marjorie Taylor Greene, DJT Jr., and the second most liberal congressional GQP member, Elise Stefanik, are going away must have their head in the sand (Stuart).

        • Avatar
          MARLE says:

          He gave that out before the first vaccines were available to the general public. But being the idiot that he is…he was the First to call for the additional $1400 which the Dems seized on and delivered. Trump started the misguided policies that Dems have continued. It has helped investors as it seems that most of the money went straight to the bottom line of Home Depot, Walmart and Amazon among other retailers and the ancillary Dow companies like Fed EX and UPS>

          Continuing to give out $1400 to each parent and each of their children when they may not have lost their jobs so much as one day or may be making more in 2020 than they ever made in their lives well into the recovery based on vaccinations is unnecessary. Add to that the number of un-employed By Choice who reject jobs b/c they make more on the couch than on the job.

          Trump was a scorched earth autocrat and Lost an election for many reasons that being just one of them.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            This “free money” being touted by Biden to “help struggling families” is reflected in the stock market runaway rise in Netflix, Roku, Polaris (maker of 4-wheelers), Spotify and a ton more of gaming and recreation stocks.

            Kroger, Walmart, Amazon could help us know how “struggling” Americans were by releasing data on the purchasing trends during this helicopter drop of free money.

            I don’t mind helping struggling people keep the heat on and food on the table but my familiarity with the stock market and its sectors and their last 6 month performance tells me that the free money went to a lot more than helping struggling families hand on.

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          You lost everybody when you used the two words “REPUBLICANS” and “HONESTY” in the same sentence – we all know that is just not going to happen. I also noted the word articulate in that same sentence. I am not sure there are too many republicans that can actually “articulate” any original thoughts. They just tout the Heritage numbers, honesty has nothing to do with it. Does anyone equate Trump with “HONESTY?” Yes, DeSantis will certainly win the leftover trump dregs but that won’t be near enough.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    I take back my comment above about Republicans not being able to “articulate” an original thought. I believe Liz Chaney made a very articulate statement yesterday about the vote for her censure/expulsion. She made her beliefs very clear. But we all know how sad it was that nobody was listening to her at the time. It demonstrates clearly how conservatives and Republicans can be so rude to their fellow legislators. Watch the video today of Ted Cruise scanning photos on his phone and daydreaming while he was being addressed by a colleague at that very moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *