Coming This Sunday.

Beth Harwell & the “Coconut Water Caucus”…

coconut water

… and how it might impact her political future.

Don’t miss it!

Brent Leatherwood Updates His Twitter Account?

Leatherwood Tweet Leatherwood Tweet edited

Mystery Photo #2

The following photo came from one of our loyal tipsters.  We are pretty sure the person on the right is Rep. Charles Sargent.  Can anyone correctly identify the woman on the left and why she might be significant?

And remember, the Rocky Top Tip Line (RTPtipline@gmail.com) is open and anyone can play!  To date, we have been able to protect the identity of every tipster and we are proud to say not one of our tipsters has ever been “Vince Fostered” for leaking their insider info to us.

It’s safe! It’s fun! And it drives the entrenched corrupt establishment absolutely nuts (and understandably so).

sargent photo 1 edited

 

 

 

 

Ethically-challenged Toadies Unite!

We thought that after the Tennessean, Rocky Top and several other outlets revealed the governor was using taxpayer money to give his family business a big pay-off, that  there would be some sense of regret – some sense of shame — from the establishment wing of the Tennessee GOP.

Boy were we wrong.

Just hours after RTP highlighted the governor’s crony corruption (and compared it to the political corruption taking place at the state party headquarters), than one of the ring leaders of the state GOP corruption puckered up for a major butt kiss for the governor and Pilot Oil:

Leatherwood Tweet

Maybe they also stocked up on Chapstick to make it easier for you to remove your lips from the derriere of the Haslams, Brent.

Man, your knees must be sore too….

It’s as if he is trying to PROVE he’s corrupt.

Governor rigs board, increases taxpayers’ share to pay for oil spills caused by his family’s company.

Pilot Oil/Flying J gets big financial break.

rip off

The opening lines in the Tennessean story say it all:

After taking office, Gov. Bill Haslam reconstituted an obscure board that enforces environmental rules for the industry that helped make him the richest elected official in America.

Since then, the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board has taken steps to shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers.

Bill Haslam has skirted dangerously close to corrupt crony capitalism several times before (i.e., remember Jones LaSalle and fracking schemes on state land?).  But in this case he blew right past the line of impropriety and handed his company – the same company he refused to put in a blind trust and which has made him a billionaire – a huge break paid for by the taxpayers.

What is it with this governor?  Is he:

  1. clueless
  2. arrogant
  3. stupid
  4. corrupt
  5. or all of the above?

The hubris here is astonishing.  Our Governor is a major stockholder in a company that is (still) under federal investigation for ripping off customers and which has already netted about a dozen felony convictions, and yet Bill Haslam thinks it is okay to pull off his version of “Manuel Rebate” using taxpayers as the patsies. (“Le me introduce you to my leetle friend…”)

This is not good for the Republicans in Tennessee — crap rolls downhill, you know.  Why, it’s enough to make the likes of Ryan Haynes think he can misuse state party money to pay the wife of his political director who then goes out and tries to defeat incumbent Republicans.  Or a Speaker with $1.3 million in her personal campaign accounts who only uses that money to pay off her friends while she goes out and recruits candidates to run against fellow Republicans. And don’t get us started on her covering for her cronies’ sexual harassment accusations — the same sexual harassment that she claims she is fighting in the House..

“After all, if the Governor can get away with it, so can we….”

State GOP explains (sort of)

Two days after the state party took down the SEC member contact information from their website, and less than 24 hours after Rocky Top pointed out its suspicious disappearance, the web page is back up with an asterisk.  It still has no SEC member contact information, but now says it is down “for maintenance.”

Sure it is.

“John Doe Reporter # 3”

The most loyal readers of RTP (both of them) may have noticed that after a flurry of posts about rumors of senior aides and sitting chairmen accused of sexual harassment, RTP has gone uncharacteristically quiet on the subject over the last couple of weeks.

Hope you enjoyed your respite from the muckraking, because starting tomorrow we are going to crank it back up again.  And just what has prompted us to revisit the controversy?  Well, a couple of things.

One was today’s article in the Tennessean.  It was a mishmash of rehashed re-reporting of Jeremy Durham — a story from which most people with actual lives had finally moved on.  Reporters Boucher and Ebert dance all around the issue, decrying the “culture” that had allowed Durham to thrive.  But in their rambling article they forgot to mention that the most powerful person in the House, who for six years has overseen and condoned the culture by covering up for her friends who were allegedly involved in drunken sexcapades with legislative staff, was none other than the Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell.

Remind us never to rely on the Tennessean to find the 5,000 lb. gorilla in the room.gorilla

The other reason for our renewed coverage was a rumor that circulated two weeks ago that a former senior staffer, in a desperate attempt to somehow save his own hide, was ready to “roll over” on leadership and their complicity in covering up for friends of the Speaker.  The story our tipsters told us, was that the former aide was going to/did talk with a reporter from the MSM just before checking himself into re-hab.  Gratified that the MSM had finally decided to get involved prompted the crew here at Rocky Top to back off for a while (the vote was not unanimous, however, with Mrs. Hot Chick wanting to bring the heat).

RTP admits to one of our rare mistakes: We trusted the MSM to actually do its job.

The interview – if it ever took place – never made it into any story. Our sources also tell us the former staffer is now incommunicado, hidden safely behind the well-manicured hedges of some sort of facility that specializes in helping people who do stupid things.  The irony is every political reporter in the state knows exactly who RTP is talking about and they have proffered that name to numerous individuals.  Reporters have said they need to “get confirmation” and to publicly “get someone on the record” to say the names out loud so they can report it.  Funny, we don’t recall them holding such high-falutin’ standards of journalism when they were going after Rep. Pants Candy.  Durham deserved his fate, but the MSM seem bound and determined to protect the Speaker and her cronies from a similar fate.  Maybe if we start calling them “John Doe Chairman #2” and “John Doe former staffer #12” the media will get off its butt and report something.  Also, considering the crack job the “John and Jane Doe” coding system did to protect the anonymity of the individuals involved in the Durham case, the identity and privacy of the latest miscreants should be safe for at least the 15-20 minutes it takes to crack the code.

Was RTP “played?”  That’s certainly a possibility.  But live and learn, we always say.  Rest assured, we are back on the job and will continue to present mature and thought-provoking discourse on weighty matters of public concern.

Or more likely, we will continue run rockets up the nether-regions of preening politicians who reek of hypocrisy and malfeasance, regardless of whether the news media continues to playing pattycake with 5,000 lb. gorillas.

Thugocracy

Here we go again…

State GOP takes down contact information for State Executive Committee members.

Action follows public release of roll call vote that denied GOP legislator the right to speak to the S.E.C.

It’s happened before….

Around noon on Saturday, Rep. Judd Matheny provided several members at the Tennessee Alliance of Tea Party and Liberty Groups the roll call vote that took place when the SEC decided 35-25 (including 9 proxies who conveniently voted against allowing him to speak) and encouraged attendees to call their SEC members and ask why they voted the way they did.  Within hours, the state party website removed the names and contact information for all SEC members:

SEC not found

As of this posting, the info was still not on the website.   And before Haynes rolls out a canned excuse such as the “site was down for maintenance,” we would point out that all other pages and links on the site were working properly.  It’s clear SECmembers were starting to get phone calls asking them to explain why they muzzled a 14-year state representative and refused to allow him to address teh state party.

This is not the first time the Haynes Hacks at the state party have pulled a similar stunt when facing controversy.  In April, just before Haynes and the establishment loaded up the delegation to the National Convention with former Bush and Rubio supporters at the expense of Trump delegates, the state party waited until the night before to release their preferred list, then immediately took down the contact info for the SEC members and others before the vote.  It was not restored for several days.

The state GOP, with its by-laws violation, its nepotism and self dealing financial arrangements, flipping off and its outrageous attempts to defeat incumbent GOP lawmakers while flipping off the 27 legislators who complained, is turning into what borders on a criminal (or certainly unethical) enterprise.  Their “do anything, say anything” to retain power is disgusting.

But never fear:  Rocky Top anticipated these creeps would pull something like this, so we screen shot the missing web pages a couple of weeks ago (below).

Recent news reports announced that Tennessee will experience a total solar eclipse in exactly one year.  But we invite Ryan and his little thugs to take this early opportunity to stick their list where the sun don’t shine, today…

Screenshot (55) edit Screenshot (56) edited Screenshot (57) edit Screenshot (58) edit

 

 

 

 

Harwell hands Matlock a huge gift.

Lotfi Firing Likely To Backfire With Many GOP Caucus Members.

By now everyone in state government knows about the firing of the aide to Rep. Andy Holt, Michael Lotfi.  Harwell apparently instructed House Clerk Joe McCord to dispatch Connie Ridley to do the axe job.

Harwell was doing what she loves to do:  punishing the most vulnerable by vindictively seeking revenge for perceived slights and challenges to her power.  It is a pattern she has repeated again and again and again and again.

Lotfi’s “crime” was helping re-elect conservative incumbent Republican legislators.  This he did on his own time and in so doing made a few bucks to supplement the paltry salaries legislative aides receive from Connie Ridley’s office.  Compare this to the likes of Walker and Taylor Ferrell who were financially rewarded by GOP state chairman Ryan Haynes for opposing conservative incumbent Republican legislators.  Lotfi’s real crime was working for conservative members of the House GOP caucus who might vote for Harwell’s opponent in the coming race for Speaker.

Connie Ridley edited

Connie Ridley

When Harwell’s henchwoman Connie Ridley told Lotfi he was being fired, she said one of the reasons for his firing was that “he was making too much money.”  Based on the Tennessean story,  to help make that determination Ridley reached back to money Lotfi made in 2014 – BEFORE he even started working in the legislature. To this, RTP asks Ms. Ridley the obvious question:  “Where the hell do you get off deciding how much money someone made before they came to work in your offices is relevant, Ms. Ridley? It’s none of your damn business.

Of course, when asked directly about the circumstances, she hid behind the old canard that she “was not allowed to discuss personnel actions.”  Then the Tennessean asked Harwell’s office about the matter and they were referred back to Connie Ridley.  See how that works?  What a bunch of craven, dishonest cowards.

Harwell, using her hacks to deliver her own special brand of nasty and petty vindictiveness, has unintentionally delivered a political gift to her opponents in the Speaker’s race.  According to our sources, in conversations with GOP caucus members, Rep. Jimmy Matlock has positioned himself as a Speaker who wants to put an end to the constant retributions and intimidation.  Matlock has advocated a more open House built on respect and inclusion as opposed to deceitful fiscal notes, muzzling members who do not toe the line, punitive firings, encouraging the defeat of Republicans who dare hold a position different from that of the speaker or the governor, plus any number of other tactics and rules designed to stifle debate, not promote it.

Harwell’s churlish action against a low-level staffer serves as a stark reminder to all members of the House GOP of what another two years of Harwell will be like.  If anything, it promises an even more regressive and revenge-laden, dictatorial style of running the House.  She could not have hurt herself more with her colleagues if she had tried.

Time to put Harwell and her Hacks on Ice.

Post Script:  The Tennessean reported that one of the accusations the Speaker and her lap dogs hurled at Lotfi was that he was suspected to be the person behind Rocky Top.  While we are flattered that Harwell, Ridley, the MSM, etc. continued to be obsessed with our little blog, it came as quite a surprise to the crew here at Rocky Top.  Nothing against Lotfi, but none of us can recall ever being introduced to Lotfi, much less having worked with him in any capacity.

Of course his not being a member of the Rocky Top crew is something of a tribute to Lotfi’s superior good judgement.  He definitely hangs out with a better class of people than we do.

“Ice Bitch.”

 

ICE BITCH?

CONNIE RIDLEY

In a disturbing development, RTP has learned that a state representative has repeatedly used a derogatory name to reference the director for Legislative Administration, Connie Ridley.

In several private meetings, the legislator repeatedly referred to Ridley as the “Ice Bitch.”  And no, Rocky Top is not making this up and it has been confirmed by impeccable sources.

So what happens now?  Any legislator who made such a vile, sexist and misogynistic slur is surely worthy of an Attorney General investigation, an ethics charge or at the very least, a sternly-worded David Plazas editorial in the Tennessean, right?

First things first, though.  RTP feels it is our civic duty to name the legislator who committed this foul insult.  The identity of the miscreant will surprise you, so brace yourself.  The legislator who will no doubt be ridden out of office on a wave of public revulsion for calling Ridley an “Ice Bitch” is:

Beth Harwell.

No, that is not a misprint.  And again, we are not making this up.  In private meetings with legislators who were complaining about Ridley’s abusive and dictatorial style (more on this later today), Harwell has been heard to say “Look, I know she’s an Ice Bitch, but….”

But you see, Harwell wasn’t using the term to criticize Ridley, but as a way to verbalize her admiration of Ridley’s ruthless use of her position to protect Harwell and the interests of the leadership.  Think of it as Kanye using the “N-word” to give a shout out to his favorite Homey.

So by now, we assume the Nashville Scene has developed a bad case of The Vapors over this anti-woman outrage, the editors at the Tennessean are busily writing their editorials calling for Harwell to resign over this misogynistic misstep and Gov. Haslam is distancing himself even as he instructs Mark Cate to get Stand for Children or some other political front group to launch a massive independent expenditure against Harwell in her re-election campaign.

Yeah, right.

If a conservative male legislator called Ridley an Ice Bitch, he would assuredly be raked across the coals and browbeat into submission at the alter of Political Correctness.  As for the crew here at RTP, we would never use the “B-word” in reference to our colleague, Mrs. Hot Chick.  We’ve all met her husband and we would like to keep all our teeth…

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