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.