New Questions About Ford's Ties to TennCare - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Capitol Hill Corruption

New Questions About Ford's Ties to TennCare

(Story created: 2/28/05)

There are new questions about state Sen. John Ford's financial ties to TennCare and whether Senate leaders may have had some knowledge about it all along.

All this comes from new tapes reviewed by NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.

The tapes capture legislative debates about an ethics bill that Ford opposed.

The bill would have required lawmakers like Ford to disclose any consulting fees they received from companies that do business with the state. 

It was a piece of legislation that drew the ire of the Memphis Democrat.

"This doesn't make any kind of sense. This is just feeding information to the press," Ford argued during debate on the Senate floor.

"A lot of us will not service under these circumstances -- just simply will not serve her under these circumstances."

An open microphone also captured the sound of Democratic leader Ward Crutchfield of Chattanooga warning Lieutenant Governor John Wilder about Ford's frustration.

"John's mad and now he's ready to resign," Crutchfield told Wilder.

"They don't need ... this damn thing," Wilder replied. "I swear to God, they don't. We just don't need to be here. It ain't worth it. After all the years he's been here...."

After some behind the scenes negotiations, the Senate later passed the bill with Ford's vote.

But, for some reason, Senate leaders never got together with the House to work out the final bill.

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