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TFA Concerned TN is ‘For Sale’ by GOP Leadership, Elites

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

Waiting by the pool in Tampa for all my
Republican friends to show up to nominate
the next President of the USA
@MittRomney #RNC2012

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.

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Casada Looking to Jump Back into House GOP Leadership Role

Rep. Glen Casada says if he learned anything from his GOP leadership successor Rep. Debra Maggart, it’s to take nothing for granted.

Casada is considering a move to reclaim his seat as the House Republican Caucus chairman and replace Maggart following her fiery primary election defeat fueled by Second Amendment advocates who disapproved of her role in blocking a key gun bill.

“Being in leadership is very time-consuming, and if you’re not careful, it can overwhelm you with your responsibilities for the caucus,” Casada told TNReport in a recent interview.

“You can maybe put your district in second place — and just enough where it can cost you an election. I’m not saying that’s what happened to Debra, but it’s something you’ve got to be mindful of,” he said.

The Franklin Republican, who left the chairman’s post to run a failed bid  for speaker in 2010, brings to the caucus a conservative voice at a time when the gun-rights lobby is showing off its political strength. The GOP caucus lost seven incumbents including Maggart in this month’s primary election. Two others squeaked by,winning with margins as tight as four votes.

Casada is generally regarded as more in tune with House conservatives than Speaker Beth Harwell, who edged out Casada to win the gavel two years ago. Harwell typically works hand-in-glove with Gov. Bill Haslam, both of whom are centrists who’ve been criticized at times by party conservatives for being more attentive to big business interests than grassroots concerns.

However, Casada is himself loathe to criticize Harwell. The chief reason he’s uninterested in trying to make a grab at the speaker’s gavel again this year is that “Beth has done a good job,” he said.

“Things are well. We’re cutting taxes. Government’s small. Things are going well in the state of Tennessee so I see no reason to switch at this stage,” Casada said.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, on the other hand, isn’t so happy with the status quo. The conservative Tullahoma Republican is mulling a run for speaker. Matheney told The Associated Press earlier this month that as a result of his conservative politics he feels he’s “purposefully been put in a box” by the caucus higher-ups.

For his part, Casada says House leadership has never made him feel like that. He said he feels he would “add to, not conflict with, the leadership team” of Harwell and GOP Leader Gerald McCormick, who says he expects Casada would fit naturally back into a leadership role, if he pursues the seat.

“We heal our wounds very quickly in the Republican Party and in our caucus, and I think you’ll see us come together again,” McCormick told TNReport. “I don’t sense any tensions there, and I think Glen and Beth will work really well together and be part of a good team if he choses to run for caucus chairman or another position and wins. I don’t think there would be any problem at all.”