NASHVILLE – State Sen. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet and state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster owe a huge debt of gratitude to a prominent Wilson County man whose furniture and appliance store chain is reportedly under investigation by the state for sales-tax irregularities.
Both lawmakers have received large infusions of cash into their campaign coffers from Albert “A.J.” McCall II, co-owner of D.T. McCall and Sons. The Carthage-based business, according to media reports, has been the focus of a state Department of Revenue investigation, which itself is being reviewed by state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Mrs. Beavers and Mrs. Weaver have treated Mr. McCall very well,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said. “They even sponsored legislation to help Mr. McCall out of a bind when he got into trouble inappropriately using an official state logo in newspaper advertisements.
“Both of them refuse to support funding critical infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and schools, but they will use taxpayer money to return a favor for a rich campaign contributor like A.J. McCall.”
The legislation (SB3494/HB3629) the two lawmakers sponsored did not become law, but it would have required the state to develop a new logo and spend taxpayer money managing the use of the logo.
Beavers continued her staunch defense of McCall in today’s (Thursday, Oct. 21) edition of the Lebanon Democrat, a local newspaper. Her quote implied she may seek retribution against a District Attorney who requested that state and federal law enforcement authorities take a closer look at the handling of the sales-tax investigation.
“This is an abuse of power and something that needs to be looked into next year,” Beavers, whose campaign treasurer is A. J. McCall’s wife, told the newspaper.
McCall contributed $55,000 to McCall PAC, a political action committee created earlier this year listing him as an officer, according to state records. His father and a co-owner of the store, Albert McCall, contributed $15,000 to McCall PAC last month.
Beavers has received at least $15,000 from the PAC, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who was a Republican gubernatorial candidate during the summer’s Primary elections, received $7,500. Weaver, an employee of D.T. McCall and Sons, received $10,000 from the PAC last month. Additionally, a political action committee formed by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of College Grove dubbed CAS-PAC, received $7,500 from McCall PAC.
Numerous other Republican state House and state Senate candidates have received tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from the PAC and family members of the owners of D.T. McCall and Sons.
Last year, A.J. McCall announced his intention to run for the state Senate seat held by Beavers, who had considered a run for Wilson County mayor. Beavers, however, abandoned her mayoral campaign in March of this year after McCall abandoned his run for the state Senate. McCall sought the state House seat of Rep. Stratton Bone of Lebanon in 2008 but lost handily.
“Mrs. Beavers is right about one thing,” Forrester said. “The actions of her, Mrs. Weaver and Mr. McCall need to be looked into now, not next year.
“Voters should know why an elected official would give more preferential treatment to a rich contributor than an ordinary person who struggles with paying a mortgage, utility bills and tuition for a child’s college education,” he added.