The TNDP chairman coins a new nickname for the Governor:
“We’re now 77 days into Gov. Bill Haslam’s first term. In that time, we have not seen any inkling whatsoever that Republicans have a jobs plan — or even any ideas to put struggling Tennesseans back to work.
On the other hand, we have seen plenty of proposals that: grow the size of government, attack teachers, attack science, restrict religion, blow the tops off our Smoky Mountains, build a state mint, turn away affordable health care, disenfranchise voters, micromanage local school districts from Nashville, make government less transparent, waste millions of tax dollars and stifle economic growth — BUT most of all, protect the financial interests of their big dollar campaign donors.
Tonight, those titans of industry are coming to the governor’s mansion to pay the piper.
“Shakedown” Bill Haslam is hosting a fundraiser for the Tennessee Republican Party at $3,000 to $25,000 a ticket — all this smack dab in the middle of legislative session.
What kind of message does this send to the everyday man who can't afford to spend a year’s salary on Shakedown Bill’s one night soiree?
This event likely shatters the ethics laws designed to keep special interest money out of government, and it surely doesn’t pass muster in the eyes of working Tennesseans.
This governor and the Republican Party are running a pay-to-play scheme on Capitol Hill. Government for sale! All expenses paid for by of taxpaying Tennesseans.
In his eight years in office, Gov. Phil Bredesen never held a fundraiser during session. He also mandated that he and his cabinet members would fully disclose their incomes and income sources.
That’s the way it should be.
In contrast, Bill Haslam’s first directive as governor was to repeal Bredesen’s executive order that made financial disclosure for the governor and his cabinet the law of the land.
Hard-working Tennesseans don’t want government business done behind locked doors anymore than they want big money, special interest groups influencing the legislative process.
But that doesn’t seem to bother “Shakedown” Bill and other Republicans, who are standing at the door of their fundraiser with hat in hand.
Former TNGOP Communications Director Bill Hobbs goes after his former employer for its use of Conservation Hall - or what Hobbs must have called "The Bredesen Bunker" forty-eleven times back in 2007 - for a partisan fundraiser:
What changed? Simple. The Tennessee Republican Party has a different chairman today than it did in 2007.
In 2007, as the political battle over the construction of Conservation Hall, a/k/a "the bunker," raged, I did some research in my role as communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party and found that a similar controversy had arisen a few years earlier when Arkansas added a similar facility to its governor's mansion.
I also learned that Arkansas had established official policies governing the use of its ballroom - policies that FORBID using the facility for partisan political purposes.
Tennessee needs similar policies - if it is possible, some lawmakers in Nashville ought to amend the next state budget to include such policies.
That won't stop the current leadership of the Tennessee Republican Party from misusing this publicly-funded facility for partisan purposes, but it would prevent future leaders of both political parties from doing so.
Simple ethics and the desire to be consistent ought to stop the TN GOP from using the ballroom for a fund-raiser, but it won't.