Democrats to Gov. Haslam: stop fundraising on state property

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Haslam hosted yet another private political fundraiser for a Republican candidate at the Executive Residence on Monday. Following the event for Sen. Marco Rubio, Democrats again raise questions about the legality of Haslam's political fundraising activity on state-owned property.

Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris (Memphis) and state Representative John Ray Clemmons (Nashville) plan to propose legislation that will make it patently clear that state officials cannot conduct political fundraisers on state-owned property, including the Executive Residence.

“Governor Haslam seems to have forgotten that the Executive Residence belongs to the people of Tennessee," said state Representative John Ray Clemmons. "He continues to throw political parties and put them on Tennessee taxpayers' tab."

The Rubio event is not the first time Governor Haslam has hosted a private fundraiser at the Executive Residence. The fundraiser for the failed presidential candidate from Florida follows a recent event the governor hosted for Rep. Diane Black's congressional campaign.

“At times like this, I feel like I need to say the obvious. Government buildings should be used for government work,” said Senator Lee Harris. “What is particularly audacious about the Rubio event is that it took place using state resources, during business hours. These government properties should not be used for campaign fundraisers or events. If the Governor can do this, what is to stop him from going further and charging an admission fee to enter public buildings and stuffing the money in his campaign account. The Governor's Mansion is special, let's not treat it like the lobby of a Holiday Inn.”

Senator Harris and Representative Clemmons intend to pre-file this bill.

Showing 5 reactions

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  • commented 2017-01-26 14:16:53 -0600
    I’m not opposed to using the Governor’s mansion for political fund raising as long as the sponsoring organization has to pay to rent the property and for compensation of staff if used. This should apply to GOP or DEM functions, as long as it’s available to both parties. I do agree that neither Gov or Staff should be doing partisan fund raising on taxpayer time.
  • commented 2017-01-26 13:26:39 -0600
    We could never have this type of event at my work place. We could also not attend an event like this during work hours without taking time off. This should not be an approved use of space, funds or time by the tax payers of TN.
  • commented 2017-01-26 08:31:43 -0600
    rent bill boards around the state and let people know what he is doing.
  • commented 2017-01-13 18:34:56 -0600
    Who is responsible for calling the Gov to task on improprieties?
  • commented 2016-10-22 09:01:21 -0500
    Gov. Haslam has taken many privileges with the public owned properties as if they were his own personal properties without the permission nor knowledge of the Tennessee public.