Boy, the leaks just keep on coming. Seems that Rocky Top kicked over a rock and all sorts of noxious secrets are now slithering out from underneath. The Rocky Top Tipsters (www.rtptipline.com) have given us so much inside information, we are having to line up the stories like planes at the Atlanta airport. Here’s the latest:
Unable to refute the facts of their conflicts and insider dealing, the state party staff and some officials have resorted to ad hominem attacks and threats. Their only defense has been to fall back on a narrow and dubious interpretation of the party by-laws.
But more to the point, they have built their entire defense of their obvious misdeeds on their own personal definition of a “contract employee” by claiming Taylor Ferrell’s clients outside of her state party contract duties is “her business” and cannot be questioned. Here’s an explanation for the sleazy reasoning as defined by SEC member Beth Campbell:
“Taylor Ferrell’s…contract started last fall and will terminate the end of July. Mrs. Ferrell has her own business and her clients are her business.
“The members of the Admin Committee of the SEC was informed about this contract. As for staff members our by-laws forbid them from getting involved in a Republican primary.”
–SEC member Beth Campbell, 4/24/2016
Did you catch that, readers? Ms. Campbell tries to explain — poorly — why state party officials don’t see anything wrong with the ethically challenged state party staff and their sweetheart deals, even in the face of the facts. According to Campbell, state GOP contractor Ferrell can work for anyone she damn well pleases because “her clients are her business.”
The hell they are, Ms. Campbell. As the following will reveal …
And now for a dirty little secret
Before Leatherwood & Co. took the reins of the party, contractors and part-time employees were expected to abide by the same set of policies and procedures required of full-time employees. Why? Because that is standard practice in any other legitimate business and it was designed to prevent the very kind of thing we see happening now – the attempt of state party “contractors” to defeat incumbent GOP officeholders while drawing a check from the state party and using state party prestige, resources and offices while doing so.
Somewhere around 2006, employment job descriptions as well as policies and procedures were revised and updated by the state party. It was a firing offence to “blur” the lines of responsibility (like Taylor Ferrell claiming to speak for the state party by calling national media reporters), or to inappropriately use data (like Taylor Ferrell using fundraising databases for her clients who are running against incumbent Republicans), or to inappropriately use other TNGOP resources (like Taylor Ferrell using TNGOP offices while servicing her other clients), among other safeguards.
Even for such tasks as fundraising special events, comptroller and other positions that did not require full-time employment the same policies and procedures demanded from ther egular party employees were also in effect for the “contractors.”
Apparently, when executive director Brent Leatherwood was hired, he threw those standards in the trash. Case in point: In 2014 the mysterious Strong & Free PAC was formed to elect SEC members who would toe the line for the establishment (aka Gov. Haslam) and defeat those members who strayed from complete obedience. When they (Mark Cate, etc.) needed a treasurer to run their clandestine operation they only had to walk about 15 feet down the hall at the party HQs and enlist Troy Brewer, the then and current comptroller (and a “contract employee”) for the state party. Did Leatherwood knock on the wall of Troy Brewer’s office and ask why he – a contractor with the state party – was actively engaged in trying to elect and defeat SEC members who were more to the establishment’s liking? No, because Leatherwood knew exactly what he was doing (more on this in later postings).
Sound familiar? Sure it does. After successfully getting away with this egregious conflict-of-interest, it was a small step to using the same low set of ethical standards to justify hiring the wife of the party’s political director, knowing full well that she was working for or was going to sign up legislative candidates who were going to run against conservative legislators who were thorns in the establishment’s side.
And now ethically-challenged operatives like Walker Ferrell are lining their own pockets with money earned by his spouse for trying to defeat GOP incumbents, all the while defended by Ryan Haynes and apologists like Beth Campbell.
In closing, here is a little question for Ms. Campbell: Following your exact line of logic Beth, would it be just fine if Taylor Ferrell signed up to work for, say, Hillary Clinton because that would be — in your own words — “her business”? According to you, the answer is “Yes.”
We wonder if you would still think it was just “her business” if Ferrell signed up a client to run against you for re-election to the SEC next time, Beth. What a hypocrite you are.
What a complete crock of a defense these morons have cooked up — don’t address the charges, excuse the blatant conflicts of interest, paper over the obvious lies and half-truths and hope that it will go away. It is dishonest, disingenuous and wrong and they know it. That is why they are pulling out all the stops to threaten and discredit the two dozen legislators who signed the letter demanding they stop their corrupt conduct.
And that it why this will NOT go away.
Fire them all, and let God and Ronald Reagan sort them out.