June 19, 2017  Woodbury, TN

Citizen Reportedly Files Complaint
Against Cannon County GOP Fund Raising

A citizen who wishes to remain anonymous has reportedly filed a complaint with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. The Cannon County Magazine has obtained a copy of a letter to Executive Director Drew Rawlins which alleges the GOP officials conducted the fundraiser at the 2017 Good Ole Days and it was illegal as it was done as an unlawful gambling game, a raffle..

While lawmakers can't accept contributions during the legislative session, political parties can raise funds to pay for party operations and certain political activity. Local political parties such as the Cannon County Republican Party are classified as “Multicandidate Political Campaign Committees” and have to report to the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.

The Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance as the  Registry of Election Finance board recently voted  to levy $465,000 in civil penalties against former state Rep. Jeremy Durham for multiple violations of state campaign finance laws. Durham is also a Republican.

State parties, elected state officials and political action committees are required to file their disclosures.. It is unclear if the Cannon County GOP has ever filed a disclosure. Under state law, any financial responsibility for penalties to the Registry of Election Finance board falls directly onto the shoulders of the Cannon County Republican Party Treasurer who is Jeannine Floyd.

There is also a Tennessee organization under the leadership of Dick Williams which monitors illegal political fund raisers. Dick Williams of Tennessee-Common Cause, a public watchdog group happens to share leadership in an open government organization with local publisher of the Cannon Courier Ron Fryar. In the past Tennessee-Common Cause actively filed complaints against illegal political fund raising.

The Cannon County Republican Party has openly acknowledged that they conducted an illegal raffle during the Cannon County Good Ole Days in May. They also advertised that the drawing of the winner’s name would be conducted at the Reagan Day dinner at which Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn will be the guest speaker. In more recent years District Attorney General Jennings Jones has also attended the dinner.  It will be interesting to see if he ignores the illegal activities of the local party.

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