The poll shopped around by Republicans concerning the purported lead state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas has over Democratic challenger David LaRoche is another attempt by the state GOP to stop the bleeding of an incumbent who is out of touch with his district.
“Everyone knows Joe Carr is the Per Diem King over in the state Legislature,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said. “And everyone knows he voted in favor of allowing foreign countries to dump their radioactive waste here in Tennessee.
“With that kind of reckless record in the General Assembly, I find it hard to believe Republicans would even attempt to snow the general public about his popularity. Sweetheart loans from wealthy land developers don’t help his reputation either.”
Last summer Carr, a first-term legislator with no leadership responsibilities, was roundly criticized for collecting an excessive amount of taxpayer-funded expense reimbursements, or per diem, which reimburses lawmakers for their expenses while doing official business.
Carr collected more than $18,000 in expenses at the time, more than House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower of Bristol, according to the General Assembly’s administrative offices.
“Despite his fervent claim to be an opponent of taxes, Mr. Carr ranked at the top of the class of Republican House lawmakers taking per diem,” Forrester said. “When confronted about the excessive reimbursements, Carr claimed he was unaware the state reimbursed lawmakers whenever they came to their offices in Nashville at the state Legislature.
“Lawmakers don’t have to accept the payments. He could have given it back, but he didn’t.”
Carr, who has accepted campaign contributions from a company wanting to import foreign nuclear waste into Tennessee, has also voted against measures to prevent that. The Middle Point Landfill in Murfreesboro had accepted low-level radioactive waste until about three years ago when local citizens unaware of the practice objected and company officials volunteered to stop accepting the material.
Energy Solutions, the aforementioned company making the campaign contribution (PDF) to Carr, had petitioned the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow the company to import up to 20,000 tons of nuclear waste from Italy and process the material at facilities in Tennessee.
“Mr. Carr fails to understand that his job is to represent the interests of voters in his district, not special-interest groups donating wads of cash to his campaign coffers,” Forrester added.