After the InsureGate and the Haslam administration’s release of personal financial information on legislator health insurance policies, one would think the governor would take a breather from sticking another middle finger into the eye of Republicans in the legislature. But as he demonstrated yesterday, no insult is too small for Bill Haslam to use to disparage fellow Republicans. The governor appears oblivious (intentionally or not) to it all, even when making board appointments.
By now you are probably asking yourself: “What the heck is RTP talking about?”
Answer: Remember Brian Kaegi?
Brian is the Tom Ingram protégé who headed the attack on incumbent Republican members of the legislature, at the direction of the governor and his soon-to-be-former chief of staff, Mark Cate. Kaegi ran the media operation for the infamous Advance Tennessee PAC, which spent a wad of money trying to defeat legislators in last year’s GOP primaries. The PAC, which was funded by FOBs (Friends of Bill) spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars and walked away with exactly one defeated Republican House member. At the same time Kaegi and his crack team of political operatives were doing their magic, conservative candidates knocked off two of the governor’s allies, meaning Kaigi and Krew spent over $200,000 to wind up with less Haslam allies in the House than they started with. Oh sure, they also knocked off Sen. Stacy Campfield, but that was more like shooting the wounded.
Here is the story from the RTP Archives:
So after these humiliating experiences, how does the governor try to mend fences with the legislative Republicans? He appoints Kaegi to a paying job on the ABC Board.
[Side Note to Jeremy Harrell: ABC stands for the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Jeremy. It is not related to schools and education, so there is no need for you to swing into action with stuff like the weird, out-of-context mailers you did for Ferrell Haile recently. Everyone’s still trying to figure out what that’s about. Your joke of a grassroots organization is apparently well-funded if it wastes resources on things like tables at the Statesmans Dinner. A friendly tip from your friends at RTP: Using your funders’ money to buy tables at the Statesmen’s Dinner does not make you politically connected or a statesman.]
Advance Tennessee is not the only time that Brian has been in the news. To our knowledge, Kaegi still has not registered as a lobbyist, even though he clearly lobbied the administration on behalf of corporate clients on several occasions:
Legislators are wondering who will defend them from these repeated attacks by the governor, his liberal allies, the media and lackeys on his payroll. How about the legislative leadership? Come to think of it, we haven’t heard a public word from Speaker Harwell defending her caucus on any of this. Has anyone checked the bathroom lately?