Ad Hoc Committee chair calls for emergency meeting.
Purpose is reportedly to release report of the Durham investigation.
Timing of the report suspect.
RTP is back. After a 10-day hiatus of family vacations culminating in drunken July 4th barbecues, we have all hopefully sobered up enough to resume our snarky but dead-on analysis of what passes for politics in the Volunteer state.
Yesterday we celebrated our freedom from tyranny. While many of us were celebrating the Red, White & Blue, political leaders such as Beth Harwell and Herbert Slatery were leaving the Constitution “black and blue.”
We were swigging beers and lighting fireworks to commemorate our ability to have, among other things, free elections. Meanwhile, back in the Beth Bunker, there continues an effort to use the power of the state to interfere with an election.
RTP has learned Rep. Steve McDaniel, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee investigating the Durham Issue, is poised to release (or use their preferred method — leaking to the press) the final report of the AG regarding Le Affaire Durham. They have offered at least three dates between July 5 and July 13th for members to haul their butts back to Nashville to receive the results of the Attorney General’s witchhunt inquiry.
After months of investigating, interviewing witness on things such as the mating habits of other legislators and secretly subpoenaing personal phone records like a Hoover vacuum set on “maximum suck,” the AG is now scurrying to have the Ad Hoc committee receive his report no later than July 13th.
Why would the report need to be released by July 13th? Simple: that would be just in time for early voting in the August primary election in which Durham is running for re-election. A salacious leaked report just before the election could be the final nail in Durham’s coffin. One of the assistant AGs has a personal track record of just those kinds of polltically-timed releases in his previous job in Kentucky, so there is a precedent for what is about to happen.
Of course, it is possible the meeting is being called just to ask everyone what they did over the July 4th holiday.
Sure it is.
Durham’s guilt or innocence is irrelevant to them. What is important is that he be publicly drawn & quartered, and to do so just before the election. So far, the Speaker and her allies have been unable to remove Durham via constitutional means, such as filing actually legal charges against him. Likewise, leadership has been unable to round up enough votes to expel him (which was Harwell’s stated preference). Instead, Beth and her hired inquisitors have decided to destroy Durham by political maneuvering.
Now before anyone gets into a snit that anyone at Rocky Top is trying to defend Durham, let it be noted RTP has been a regular and consistent critic of Rep. Durham. But despite our distaste for his reputed antics and alleged transgressions, we have a real problem with the boneheaded incompetence of the Speaker to try to remove Rep. Frat Boy through extra-constitutional means. Instead of stepping up and handling the problem directly and honestly, Speaker Harwell and crew have embarked on a disturbing investigation that seems to be as interested in the private lives of other legislators (legislators who, according to some people hauled in by the AG for interviews, are primarily political opponents of the Speaker and the Governor).
As a result, the Speaker’s standing within her caucus is likely at an all-time low, since many believe the clear message sent by the Speaker to her GOP colleagues is: “I’ve now got dirt on all of you Now get in line – or else.”
But despite all these efforts, there still exists for the Speaker the absolutely terrifying prospect that Durham pulls off an unlikely election victory. If that happens, Harwell is in deep trouble. She would face a growing chorus of complaints as to why she let this get so out of hand with no guarantee of a resolution. Durham would have to be sworn in, returned to his previous standing in the caucus and the Ad Hoc Committee and all actions taken by the House would – by law – die at the end of the year and the end of the session.
All that Beth would have left is a Little Black Book of Blackmail to use against her colleagues.
Come to think of it, maybe that was her real purpose all along…..