PACs

Who do you love? Top PAC donors of this election cycle

The doors of the state Capitol were closed to the public on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Political Action Committee giving to legislative candidates may be down in 2020 compared with the previous election cycle, but that doesn’t mean big money isn’t finding its way into the the campaign coffers and leadership committees of Tennessee lawmakers.

Through campaign finance disclosures running through the start of early voting on July 17, here are the top PAC and business recipients among state lawmakers, candidates, and leadership committees.

  1. MCPAC (Randy McNally): $510,380
  2. CAM PAC (Cameron Sexton): $385,287
  3. HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS: $334,500
  4. SENATE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS: $326,250
  5. TENNESSEE LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: $259,292
  6. SEXTON, CAMERON: $230,076
  7. ROSE, PAUL: $181,184
  8. JOHNSON, JACK: $147,950
  9. LAMBERTH PAC $138,000
  10. KEYPAC (Ken Yager):  $120,600
  11. REEVES, SHANE: $117,350
  12. LAMBERTH, WILLIAM: $115,750
  13. POWERS, BILL: $111,595
  14. TILLIS, RICK: $99,577
  15. FAISON, JEREMY: $97,750
  16. GARDENHIRE, TODD: $93,617
  17. SMITH, ROBIN: $90,550
  18. HAILE, FERRELL: $88,600
  19. LYNN, SUSAN: $86,550
  20. GANT, RON: $85,550
  21. DICKERSON, STEVEN: $82,150
  22. BELL, MIKE: $78,580
  23. HICKS, GARY: $77,408
  24. YAGER, KEN: $77,065
  25. BAILEY, PAUL: $76,100

The PACs and businesses that have given most generously are:

  1. TENNESSEE REALTORS PAC: $446,700
  2. WINE AND SPIRITS WHOLESALERS OF TENNESSEE PAC: $324,100
  3. TENNESSEE BANKERS ASSN PAC: $189,250
  4. TENNESSEE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: $164,710
  5. AMAZON.COM SERVICES LLC: $163,000
  6. TENNESSEE HIGHWAY CONTRACTORS PAC: $161,500
  7. JACK DANIEL’S PAC: $154,000
  8. FLEX PAC: $149,500
  9. INDEPENDENT MEDICINE’S PAC-TN: $146,250
  10. TN ADVANCE FINANCIAL PAC: $146,100
  11. BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF TN PAC: $134,600
  12. FEDEX CORPORATION PAC: $133,100
  13. CAM PAC: $129,817
  14. FRIENDS OF THA: $121,250
  15. AT&T TENNESSEE PAC: $117,650
  16. CORECIVIC INC. PAC: $115,750
  17. TENNESSEE HEALTH CARE ASSN PAC: $112,750
  18. TENNESSEE REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC. PAC: $105,750
  19. TENNESSEE EMPLOYEES ACTION MOVEMENT: $102,400
  20. HCA TRISTAR FUND: $101,900

PAC set up by disbarred tea party figure takes aim at Romney

A political action committee set up by Judson Phillips, the disbarred founder of Tea Party Nation, is reporting new independent expenditures against Mitt Romney in the presidential race, the Nashville Post’s Stephen Elliott has found.

The PAC called Drain the DC Swamp was formed in November 2017. Phillips was listed last year as its treasurer and custodian of records. A new statement of organization filed last week no longer lists Phillips in either of those positions.

The PAC reported spending money in support of President Donald Trump and against Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 and current U.S. senator.

The State Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Responsibility disbarred Phillips in June after he acknowledged “he could not successfully defend himself” on 41 pending disciplinary complaints. Phillips had previously been disbarred last year after clients alleged he charged unreasonable fees and misled them about the results of timeshare litigation.

Beavers, Pody complain about PAC billboard criticizing them

A recently-formed political action committee has placed a billboard on a Wilson County highway criticizing former state Sen. Mae Beavers and her successor, Sen. Mark Pody, for voting against Gov. Bill Haslam’s 2017 “IMPROVE Act.” The two conservative Republicans, both currently engaged in political campaigns, complain that the billboard unfairly links traffic accidents and fatalities on the highway to their vote, reports The Tennessean.

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NRA endorses Diane Black for governor

Press release from NRA Political Victory Fund

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) today endorsed Rep. Diane Black for governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary Election. Black is the only Tennessee gubernatorial candidate with an “A” rating and perfect record on Second Amendment issues.

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NFIB endorses reelection of 18 incumbent Republican state legislators and two Democrats (including ‘black Republican’ Tate)

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Tennessee political action committee has endorsed 20 incumbent state legislators for reelection – 18 Republicans and two Democrats. Sen. Reginal Tate and Rep. John DeBerry, both of Memphis. NFIB typically only endorses incumbents.

The Nashville Post notes that Tate’s Democratic primary opponent, Katrina Robinson, was recently endorsed by Democratic state Sens. Lee Harris and Sara Kyle, also representing Memphis. And that Tate and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron were recently recorded at a legislative committee meeting joking about that unusual move and Tate’s status as “a black Republican.”

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With an eye on becoming House speaker, Casada budgets $200K to help elect favored Republican reps

House Majority Leader Glen Casada has budgeted more than $200,000 in spending by his political action committee as part of an “aggressive strategy” to elect Republican representatives this year and —  perhaps not so coincidentally – help him get elected as the House speaker by those winning the races, reports Andy Sher.

Casada is one of at least four current Republican legislators eyeing a run to succeed current House Speaker Beth Harwell, who is not seeking reelection to the House this year and instead running for governor. The other three are Rep. Gerald McCormick, a former majority leader; House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson and Rep. David Hawk, currently assistant majority leader.

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Former Maryland governor and his PAC endorse Karl Dean for TN governor

Former Maryland governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has endorsed Karl Dean for governor, reports the Nashville Post.

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New PAC backs Lee in Republican gubernatorial race with radio ad

A new Super PAC supporting Tennessee Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee says it began airing radio ads today touting the Williamson County businessman as the “conservative outsider we need,” reports the Times Free Press.

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Black campaign asks TV stations to stop airing PAC-sponsored attack ad

The front page of The Tenenssean the day the driver’s license bill passed the General Assembly in April 2001.

An attorney for Diane Black’s gubernatorial campaign is asking TV stations to stop airing a TV ad that declares “Dishonest Diane Black” is “good for illegal immigrants, bad for Tennessee.” So reports The Tennessean, which obtained a copy of a letter sent to Knoxville TV station WVLT.

The ad was paid for by a political action committee, known as Tennessee Jobs Now, which supports one of Black’s GOP competitors — Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Boyd. (Previous post  with video and text of the ad, HERE.)

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TEA endorses Harwell for GOP gubernatorial nomination, Fitzhugh for Democratic nomination

Press release from Tennessee Education Association

The Tennessee Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education (TEA-FCPE) has endorsed Beth Harwell in the Republican Primary for Governor, and Craig Fitzhugh in the Democratic Primary for Governor. TEA-FCPE is the political action committee of TEA, the state’s largest professional association.

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