Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; August 29, 2012:
TFA has had an increasing concern over the last four years that the state of Tennessee is “for sale” by Republican party leadership and elite.
Perhaps the concern started with Bill Haslam’s essential purchase of the office of governor by self-investing over $3.5 million in his race for governor in 2010. Haslam “self-investment” of $3.5 million was more than the totals reportedly spent by either the McWherter or Ramsey campaigns in total on those races. In total, Haslam spent just under $18 million to purchase the Tennessee’s governor’s office.
But it may well be that the Haslam “bid” for the auction of the governor’s office was not the start but just a high water mark on the sale of state government power and influence to the marionettes of Big Business interests. We increasingly see evidence that Republican incumbents, elites and party leaders rely primarily on Big Business to promote and sustain their addiction to power. They appear to rely on “grassroots” and the voters as mere serfs to carry the water and knock on the doors.
One example was the Debra Maggart primary. As TFA reported previously, Debra Maggart was proudly advertising a campaign fund raiser that involved $2500 per entity “hosts” and her proudly published host list was truly a Who is Who of those interests which seek to purchase power and legislation through incumbent legislators. (Interestingly, we anticipate some of those same Maggart supporters, many of who previously supported Democrats when they were the majority, will now be running in the next 2 years to Courtney Rogers with checks assuming she is elected in November – let’s hope she says politely “no” to their figurative bribes and attempts to purchase friendship and influence).
This week we see more evidence of the pandering of incumbents to Big Business rather than the interests and needs of the citizens. Take for example, the fact that defeated incumbent Debra Maggart is making friends and probably looking for a job at the RNC convention in Tampa this week. Indeed, Maggart tells her followers on Twitter that she is
Makes you wonder who is paying for that trip perhaps.
But Debra Maggart is now just an example of how money and arrogance corrupt and what it costs to remove such blights from government.
What we have on the horizon is more evidence that the Republican elites and leadership are still busy at work peddling temporary positional power and influence. This week TFA received a copy of an invitation to an event called “The Taste of Tennessee”. It is a fundraiser for the Republican caucus (read that the Republican incumbent caucus). The invitation is made by the current “leadership” of the Senate and House:
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick
Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron
House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart
This event is to “honor” unnamed “Tennessee Republican Legislators” although we are told some incumbents did not get “free” passes and others who are candidates but not yet legislators did.
The event is being held by these leadership Republicans at a very large venue – the War Memorial Building – a state owned structure. A later dinner is being held by these leadership Republicans at a somewhat smaller location – the Hermitage Hotel – a facility well known for its use by legislators for a wide variety of events and activities.
The intent and motive of this event is most clearly defined by the amount of “tribute” that these Republican leaders are requesting. One might want to know whether this event was set up to promote the relationship and access of the citizens, voters and grassroots organizations. The answer is easily no.
What this event seems to indicate more clearly is that these leaders are interested primarily in selling the access and “friendship” of their positions of perceived power to those who have the largest checkbooks – not those who voted them into office. For example, these leaders have required that an “event sponsor” spend a minimum of $25,000 for which the sponsor gets 2 dinner tickets and a few more passes for a pre-dinner reception. An “event host” is required to spend $10,000 and for that they do not get to eat dinner at all. It sounds more of “let them eat cake” than stewardship and public service.
Another quite notable aspect of this event invitation is the reminder on the second page that businesses are now eligible to “invest” their corporate funds to pad the pockets of the caucus bank account(s) that these leaders control. It would be interesting to know how many business do so and perhaps classify these “investments” as part of their advertising or promotional budgets so that they can expense off these payoffs.
TFA will not be padding the bank accounts of these leadership self-classified power-brokers by wasting $25,000 of membership dues on a handshake. It is doubtful that any other truly grassroots or constitutionally conservative organizations will. No, this is a time for the proverbial “fat-cats” and elitist to gather together to divide the spoils of the government that was created by “the people” for the service and protection of “the people”. As noted in Article 1, Section 1, of the Tennessee Constitution, “… all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; ….”
Notice that no where in any constitution of any state is it said that government was created by businesses (or for that matter unions) to promote the interests of businesses, unions, corporations, or any entity of any nature. The secular creator of government was in all instances “the people” and the duty of official stewardship runs solely to “the people.” Promoting an environment that is “business friendly” is subordinate to the mandate that the government act foremost to create a state, tax burden and government structure that primarily promotes the people’s “peace, safety and happiness.” That, unfortunately, seems to be a premise of government that is too inconvenient for those who see of their immediate objective as amassing vast funds for personal positions and power.