Smith wants to cast wider net on banning lawmakers from doing business with state

Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) attends a House floor session in Nashville on April 23, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A bill introduced by House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) is aimed at ending the practice of having lawmakers’ political consulting firms be paid with taxpayer dollars to send out constituent mailers for their colleagues. The measure would apply to two GOP lawmakers who recently had their homes and offices raided by the FBI, Reps. Glen Casada of Franklin and Robin Smith of Hixson.

Smith’s Rivers Edge Alliance last year billed the General Assembly nearly $11,000 for work on behalf of three colleagues. Casada’s Right Way Consulting billed $12,500 to six GOP lawmakers’ accounts. Smith and Casada have also refused to say whether they have a stake in a secretive vendor Phoenix Solutions that sprung into prominence last year.

Smith tells Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Andy Sher she wants to amend Sexton’s legislation to make it “even better” by expanding it to also include legislators’ “consultant or agent.”

Smith didn’t tell Sher whom she was seeking to target with her amendment, but her attorney has been blaming Sexton adviser Chip Saltsman for the FBI probe into his client, calling the matter a “turf war between political consultants.”

Saltsman and Smith are both former political consultants to the House Republican Caucus. They have been at odds since a 2010 congressional race in which Saltsman client Chuck Fleischmann defeated Smith in the Republican primary.

Sexton is cool to the idea of Smith amending his bill.

“Her amendment and what she wanted to do would not fit the caption of my bill,” Sexton told the Times Free Press. “Nor has she come to me about adding an amendment to my bill. What she’s wanting to do would not fit the caption, therefore you can’t do it even if I gave her the approval, I would accept the amendment — which I have not.”

38 Responses to Smith wants to cast wider net on banning lawmakers from doing business with state

  • Avatar
    Donna Locke says:

    What pigs these people are.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Why am I remembering an old Cher song?. . . Gypsies, tramps and thieves. . .

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    What good is being a legislator if you can’t mooch off of the state treasury? Both our Democrats and Republicans have proven adept at it.

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Robin Smith (ACU-90%) tightening up legislation to make it more effective. We are lucky to have her in the General Assembly. On the other hand her nemesis, Chip Saltsman, has long been a centrist/tepid conservative go-to man. No surprise that the most liberal member of the Tennessee delegation in Congress, Chuck Fleischmann (Heritage-71%), is a Chip Saltsman client.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Of course, I meant the REPUBLICAN delegation.

    • Avatar
      Benton Temple says:

      Ok, Stuart. You do know that Robin is in very serious legal trouble right? She was raided by the freaking FBI.

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        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Oh indeed Benton, but as you know I’m a conservative and we conservatives are sort of sticklers for old fashion concepts like the presumption of innocence until the prosecution proves guilt by following the requirement of due process of law as required by the U. S. Constitution. Thus far, Robin, Glen et al have not even been charged with any crime so they continue to be simply fine conservative legislators of the type that keeps Tennessee a wonderful place to work, live and play.

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          Benton Temple says:

          Ok Stuart. Have fun in La La Land. Some of these guys may let you be on the visitation list.

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          Cryan says:

          Conservatives are for the presumption of innocence for their own. It’s the single biggest example of the hypocrisy of the right.

          Remember “Lock her up” or the Department of Corrections/CCA prison-industrial complex or the Salem Witch trials or lynchings or…

          • Avatar
            Benton Temple says:

            It’s just embarrassing to just straight-up stick up for some of the most corrupt public officials we have seen in Tennessee in a long time.

            Katrina Robinson has some real legal issues and Robin, Glen, Warner do too.

            Robin’s attorney keeps saying she’s not a target of the investigation, when in fact she very likely is. We don’t know that she isn’t a target. Time will tell, but you don’t get raided by the FBI unless they have some idea of what you’re up to.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            But Benton, it’s absolutely bracingly refreshing ” . . .to just straight-up stick up for. . . .” the rule of law and due process that have been a common law tradition for centuries and to show the hopelessly liberal media that not everyone salivates when they ring their silly bell as to another “hot off the press” expose of some conservative lawmaker doing something or other to or for something or other.

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            MARLE says:

            I thought you, Stuart, were one of those calling Hillary a part of the Clinton Crime Family and went along with her accusers of all sorts of misdeeds, incl Trump who said if he were president “she’d be in jail”.

            Try to be consistent in your outrage at judging people BEFORE they get “due process”. Or has Hillary been convicted of a crime??????

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Sorry MARLE your TDS has caused you to be a little turned around. During the general election campaign of 2016 I was licking my wounds depressed over Cruz’s defeat in the Republican primary and watching Trump’s campaign while trying to prognosticate as to by how much this guy was going to lose. I may have been somewhat amused on occasion by Trump’s tactics, and of course I had no sympathy for Hilleary, so if that’s what you call “going along” I guess I’m guilty of something or other.

            Now I’ve used the term “Biden Crime Family” but I don’t recall applying that to the Clinton’s though the Clinton Foundation and Message Parlor (as Rush called it) stuff might have made that an appropriate label as well. Hilleary has not been charged with anything so I certainly never called for her to be locked up. I’m almost always consistent and you simply have the wrong guy.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Not true. You, not some other guy, have called Hillary a crook and the family a crime family.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Maybe your Biden Derangement Syndrome has a memory loss side effect.

    • Avatar
      Donna Locke says:

      They are not conservatives. If they were, they would not behave as if they are in the legislature to represent foreign nationals, not Tennessee citizens trying to get jobs and make a living. If our legislators were conservatives, Tennessee would be requiring all employers to E-Verify, and Tennessee government would not be shoveling our tax dollars away in ways that will NEVER benefit average Tennesseans. These farcical legislators are self-servants, not public servants, and they wear business-lobby collars and leashes.

      Also, if they were true conservatives, they would not be trying to mind everyone’s personal business — while they themselves do as they please, of course.

      Wash the legislature clean, put in term limits, get rid of the Cadillac health insurance, the absurd per diems for more food than an NFL linebacker could eat, and the staff doing the work the royal legislators should be doing. And run and elect true public servants with a clue to the unsustainable path we are on.

      • Avatar
        Donna Locke says:

        And the pensions. Get rid of the legislator pensions, too. This is a parttime job, and they do very little.

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          Donna Locke says:

          And one more thing: these “consulting” businesses that legislators set up to grab more tax dollars and others’ campaign donations? They are middlemen/women skimming a lot of money off the top before sending the work on to actual vendors who will do the actual work and whom clients could contract with directly. There are people who will give you advice and vendor information for FREE.

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        Cannoneer2 says:

        Well said, well said!!

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        Stuart confuses “Conservatives” with “Crooks” quite easily.

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    Eddie White says:

    Not much news here

    • Avatar
      Cryan says:

      Seriously? She was the target of an FBI raid and the subject of a little fraud scheme using a shadow company in another state. If this isn’t news, I don’t know what is.

      This is a common sentiment on this blog by the fascist class. If it makes my side look bad, it’s not news.

      There’s really no hope for these people either. You all thought Trump was going to be inaugurated in November, December, on January 6, on January 20, and on March 4th. Just keep your heads in the sand. It helps with the delusion.

  • Avatar
    Susan E Gingrich says:

    Why does it always seem that conflict of interest is the rule, not the exception in all levels of TN government? Both parties are guilty & both can do much better for taxpayers!

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      All levels? No. The lion’s share of conflict of interest is going on in the legislature , Commissioners and Governor’s staff. Call it like it is, it has been that way for at least 30 years.

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        That’s a good reminder. There’s no telling what the commissioners have gotten away with over the years.

        All these Assistant Commissioners making 6 figures while somehow simultaneously drawing full TCRS retirement benefits needs to stop. It’s funny. They’re all friends of the governor’s campaign.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    These examples of what the republicans call “Corruption Light” are the very reasons that the FBI have been spotted so frequently in the TN Legislature. Is it any wonder what they are looking for – everybody seems to already know – why do these conservative “lawmakers” keep doing this? The FBI needs to clean house!

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    Democrats need to be in control. Look at the civility in DC now. No riots or insurrection and money flowing to citizens.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Beatrice with all that “civility” around here, how are those Spanish lessons coming? Conjugating those irregular verbs are tricky and those idioms are a bear but keep at it Beatrice and you better hurry, since the demented Big Guy has introduced his “no border” border security plan there’s “No riots or insurrection. . . .” at the border but it’s crowded, VERY, VERY CROWDED and more caravans are coming.

      Repeat after me TENER: tengo, tienes, tiene. tenemos,. . . .

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        I am sure they’re on their way to TN where Marsha declared no need to deport anyone other than the “criminals” of which she wasn’t including illegal crossing and the tons of fraud needed to sustain the break in.

        The weather is fine in TN and our Congressional team is most welcoming! Once you get here there’s no interest in deporting anyone but the hardened.

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        Now the US Border is the latest Diversion for any topic the conservatives don’t want to talk about or a problem they don’t want to address. The immigration problem is not new. The US has not had any immigration policy for years as republicans never brought it up while they were in office and they just ignored the Democrats ideas on Immigration when they were in office. The GQP is the Party Of NO” do you not remember?

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        More of the racists code words and phrases from Stuart. And he doesn’t even see the connection. He thinks all of “us” are just making a big deal out of his comments.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Beatrice, please get your calendar! I know that you will be as excited as I am when you learn that the demented Big Guy is actually going to hold a press conference! That presser will take place on March 25th, some 64 days after the Big Guy took office which is later than the last fifteen Presidents before him but then again, they weren’t partially demented so that explains that.

      Don’t be afraid Beatrice, the White House press corps that is so dogged during a Republican administration acts as a sort of a Praetorian Guard for a Democratic President so they will be easy, VERY, VERY EASY on our poor infirm President. So Beatrice be prepared to put down your book of Spanish grammar and vocabulary on the 25th and enjoy.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        Biden has held a press conference in 64 days and W didn’t for 34. Biden is setting a precedent; Trump set one as well by becoming the first president in 90 years to lose the House the Senate and the White House. Between the 2 of them Trump wins!!!!!!

        And you were predicting a great loss in the presidential debates by Biden. Didn’t happen. YOU have Biden Derangement syndrome for sure. It’s going to take some doing to outdo the “inject bleach, you know, like a sort of cleansing”.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Herschel Walker is the very essence of a No Record Candidate. Surely the Republicans of Georgia can find a proven conservative to run against Raphael Warnock. Unfortunately, Walker seems to be Trump and the RNC’s choice. What a shame.

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          It is not the number or frequency of any press conference by any President – it is what is being said at the conference and how important the topic is to the people. Of course it always helps when the public actually believes what is being said instead of cringing at obvious lies being repeated ad nauseum in hopes that somebody might accept at least a part of the lie. There is no comparison between Biden and the Trumpster liar.

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      It was as bad if not worse under the Democrats!

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