Another shoe to drop?
Taylor Ferrell delivered her brief email to the press last week in an attempt to tamp down the growing scandal involving her working for the Republican state party while she is also working against incumbent Republican office holders.
Among the complaints listed in a letter to Chairman Ryan Haynes and signed by 27 GOP House members, was the inherent conflict of interest of someone working (and living) with the state party’s political director while trying to defeat the very people the state party is supposed to help get re-elected. At the time, Haynes and his executive director, Brent Leatherwood, stood silent while they trotted out the 28-year-old Ferrell to deal with reporters.
Ferrell claimed she was going to resign from two clients, but refused to say who those clients were. RTP has learned and numerous sources confirm Ferrell was working for at least three, maybe more, candidates who were challenging elected GOP incumbents. For example, as of this morning – over a week later – the candidate running against conservative Rep. Judd Matheny still had Ferrell listed on his website as his consultant. And since Ferrell was the one who designed the website in the first place, you would think she would be competent enough to remove her frickin’ name.
Same goes for Grant Starrett – the 29-year-old Californian who parachuted into the 4th congressional district to challenge incumbent Scott DesJarlais. Starrett still lists Ferrell as his consultant and there has been no attempt to inform the public or his supporters that Ferrell has resigned, which leads us to the conclusion she’s still being paid. So just who the hell did Taylor Ferrell get rid of? Someone is lying in a rather obvious attempt to avoid further media scrutiny and hope that the controversy will go away.
Our guess is that Ferrell did not resign her most lucrative client, Starrett. That the state party honchos would allow Ferrell to keep Starrett as a client is problematic. When Haynes came in as chairman in April 2015, he was told and warned by at least two SEC members about Taylor Ferrell’s unethical business arrangement. She was on the state party payroll as a state party employee and had just signed on Starrett as a client. Despite Haynes and his core defenders on the SEC such as Beth Campbell trying to claim Ferrell as a “vendor,” it appears she did not become a vendor until the fall of 2015. Regardless of her employment status, Ferrell had broad access through her husband, Walker, to the state party’s entire donor database as well as any other proprietary political information that her husband chose to share with her. That insider information not only gave her a leg up on getting new business, it also gave her valuable resources she could use on behalf of her clients – you know, the ones running to defeat Republicans. This all stinks to high heaven, and is why Haynes is in the “duck & cover” position.
Haynes & Co. tried to placate the justifiably outraged incumbent Republican officials by allegedly removing Taylor from two of their opponents’ payrolls. But allowing her to keep Starrett is not only selective corruption, it has also raised an even more serious issue about the motives of Taylor Ferrell’s superiors as well as that of her husband. What is the connection between Grant Starrett, Brent Leatherwood and the Ferrells?
Unless Haynes, Leatherwood, etc address the concerns of the 27 Republican legislators – specifically and in writing — Rocky Top will feel compelled to discuss the exact nature of those motives.
We’re waiting, Ryan. The clock is ticking….