State Party Threatens GOP Lawmakers?

SEC members say GOP executive director making “veiled threats” against signers of letter.

Brietbart News posts major national story on the controversy.

The fallout over the crass conflicts-of-interest and “insider trading” by the ethically challenged state GOP staff and leadership is only just beginning.

Baghdad Brent

State GOP Exec. Director Brent Leatherwood

After over one-third of the House GOP caucus sent a scathing letter to Chairman Ryan Haynes about the corrupt arrangement between the party’s political director and his political consultant wife, the immediate knee-jerk response came from the state party’s executive director, “Baghdad Brent” Leatherwood, who said that Haynes

“would in no way allow his staff to be involved in legislative primaries. It hasn’t happened and it never will.”

Leatherwood delivered his pronouncement with an apparent straight face, even though neither he nor Haynes challenged the facts laid out in the legislators’ letter. All he offered were vacuous bromides about the terrific and “valuable” staff down at the cesspool – er – party headquarters. Considering history is replete with political operatives such as former and current political staff constantly getting caught up in such violations, for Leatherwood to say “it will never happen” is ludicrous. Congressional staff receiving gifts and kickbacks to deliver contracts to vendors? Never happens. Governor’s staff selling pardons (see: “Blanton, Gov. Ray”) and liquor licenses for cash? It never happened. Walker Ferrell making car payments or buying dinner from money received by his wife for working against incumbent GOP officeholders? Would never happen.

Tell us another fairytale, Baghdad Brent.

But overnight the Rocky Top Tipline ( has been pinging like crazy, with more than one SEC member saying that Leatherwood and Haynes are making no-so-thinly veiled threats against GOP legislators who exposed the corruption in the state party headquarters. One said party officials were insinuating that those legsilators “might not get as much help from the state party if they signed the letter” — an apparent crude attempt to peel off some of the more weak-kneed signers.

Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the signers were sticking to their guns. The conservative news service Breitbart ran an extensive story in its national website this morning. Their headline says it all:


Controversy is threatening to bring an early end to the regime of thirty-year-old Ryan Haynes, who was named chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party in April 2015.

by Michael Patrick Leahy21 Apr 2016, 6:56 AM PDT

If Ryan and the others think by stonewalling they can wait out the storm and make this go away, they are fools. Haynes needs to cut these people loose or he will lose all credibility – and maybe even his own job.

And as for those wavering or wondering about the charges delivered by the Republican legislators yesterday?  Stay tuned:

Rocky Top will have more bombshells later today and tomorrow.

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