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Todd Warner wishes you a merry (Dixieland) Christmas

State Rep. Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill) is going back to the well by sending out his Christmas cards through a presorted mail permit that first drew attention to a mysterious political vendor at the center of a federal cases against two former lawmakers and a onetime top legislative aide. Warner’s home and offices were searched as part of the probe, but the lawmaker has not been charged.

During his 2020 Republican primary campaign against incumbent Rep. Rick Tillis, Warner’s mail pieces were sent by his Rainbow City, Ala.-based vendor Dixieland Strategies using a Chattanooga postal permit. What was unusual was when the same permit No. 383 also appeared on attack pieces sent out by an ostensibly independent group called the Faith Family Freedom Fund and another outfit called Phoenix Solutions, which was was sending out literature on behalf of other Republican candidates around the state.

The treasurer of the Faith Family Freedom Fund later testified to the Registry of Election Finance she had established the group at the behest of Cade Cothren, a former boyfriend who had been fired as chief of staff to then-House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) because of sexist and racist text messages and boasting of drug use in his office. Former Rep. Robin Smith resigned and pleaded guilty in March to secretly setting up and promoting Phoenix Solutions to her colleagues. Cothren and Casada are awaiting a public corruption trial in federal court next year.

Warner told reporters following the January 2021 FBI raids he couldn’t remember whom he had dealt with at Dixieland. He again engaged the outfit for his successful re-election campaign last year. When the arrangement caused heartburn among his GOP colleagues, Warner assured them he had cut ties with
the company. But a campaign finance disclosure filed the day after the GOP primary showed he had paid Dixieland another $19,100 to bring his annual total to $55,150.


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