Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam came to the defense of his insurance commissioner, Julie McPeak, after NewsChannel 5 Investigates revealed she has traveled extensively outside of Tennessee on all-expense paid trips that critics called a conflict of interest.
We talked with the governor about what we uncovered.
Haslam said he has no problem with how his insurance commissioner Julie McPeak has been spending her time.
"Julie's worked for me for six years. I am very convinced of her professional approach to this in terms of looking out for what's the best interests of the state," Haslam explained.
Andy Spears, with the advocacy group Tennessee Citizen Action declared, "If I were the governor, I would be asking, 'where's my insurance commissioner?'"
Spears continued, "The industry got exactly what they wanted with a very high rate increase in health insurance in Tennessee while she's taking money in the form of trips from the insurance industry. And that seems to me to be a huge conflict of interest. Her number one job should be to defend Tennesseans and to protect Tennesseans. And instead she's protecting and defending the insurance industry."
The governor said someone in his office reviews all travel requests from commissioners. That means, he said, that someone there knew just how many trips McPeak was taking.