gary humble

Mailer barrage in Johnson-Humble primary in Williamson County

Tennessee Stands founder Gary Humble’s primary challenge of Senate Republican leader Jack Johnson in Williamson County has unleased a mailer barrage. Campaign literature is being sent out by groups like Senate Speaker Randy McNally’s PAC, Tennessee Conservatives PAC, and Tennesseans for Putting Students First.

“We don’t need Gary Humble representing prosperous Williamson County,” says on mailer.

Here’s a sampling:

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Complaint alleges Humble failed to register as lobbyist

Complaints filed with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance and the state Ethics Commission allege conservative activist and state Senate candidate Gary Humble failed to file as a lobbyist and sent out a mailer without a disclaimer. Humble is challenging Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson of Franklin in the Republican primary.

The ethics complaint was field by Brentwood resident Tom Freeman. It says Humble as the head of the group Tennessee Stands often spoke about lobbying state lawmakers, but never filed official paperwork to do so. The Registry complaint says campaign literature didn’t include information about source.

Here’s is the sworn statement of facts from the ethics complainant:

According to the Tennessee Lookout’s story “New conservative group Tennessee Stands takes on government mandates” (published on 1/21/21) Tennessee Stands and its founder, Gary Humble, have filed lawsuits against Gov. Bill Lee and county officials…. and lobbied for law changes, although there is no record Humble or others associated with the organization have formally registered as lobbyists.

In an April 2021 interview with the Tennessee Star (available on their website at “Tennessee Stands Gary Humble Describes His Visits to the Tennessee Capitol Hill as a Grassroots Activist”), Humble stated the chooses “not to participate” regarding the ethics commission rules. Of note, in this interview, Humble also admits that he could register as a lobbyist.

Tennessee Stands, the organization founded by Humble, has previously listed “Lobbying” as one of their functions, but this has since been removed. Despite admittance of carrying out lobbying activities, Gary Humble has never been a registered lobbyist. Tennessee Stands has never had a lobbyist registered under their name, according to the Tennessee Ethics Commission.

In an April 2, 2021 video entitled “How Tennessee’s Vaccine Medical Exemption Bill Was Amended To Only Apply To COVID-19” on The Tennessee Conservative’s YouTube, Humble said, “… I had no idea that was going to happen, I have been lobbying this bill…”

In a video posted to the Tennessee Stands YouTube account on November 13 2020 entitled “So much going on…here’s an update from Gary,” Humble solicits donations to help sustain “lobbying” activities carried out by Tennessee Stands, saying: …”There is a donate button, we need help, we’re continuing to build a legal fund, we need help with lobbying activities…”

Neither the Registry nor the Ethics Commission meet before the Aug. 4 primary. Members of the Registry have taken issue recently with complaints they see as having been “weaponized” for political purposes.

Humble responded with the following comments to the Tennessee Star:

I have not registered as a lobbyist because I am not a paid lobbyist. I am not paid to lobby for any special interests. Tennessee Stands is an advocacy group that engages citizens all across the state of Tennessee in grassroots lobbying efforts. I have travelled across the state engaging citizens to work with their legislators, email, and call to support conservative legislation. And yes, as a citizen of the state of Tennessee, I myself have asked our legislators to support conservative legislation. Those are not efforts that require a permission slip from the government to engage in and are constitutionally protected for any citizen.

We did send out a mailer where the “paid for” disclaimer was unintentionally missed in the design. The mailer came directly from my campaign. The mailer contained my branding, my image, and a personal message from me as the candidate and was clearly sent from my campaign. The mailer was invoiced to my campaign and paid for in full by my campaign. Further, that invoice has already been provided to the DA’s office satisfactory to the complaint that was filed. This was a clerical error, nothing more.