Governor Threatens Line-Item Veto of Questionable Appropriations - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Governor Threatens Line-Item Veto of Questionable Appropriations

(Story created: 5/5/05)

FIRST ON 5: Another NewsChannel 5 "You Paid For It" investigation has the governor's attention. And he's threatening a budget confrontation with lawmakers.

Our investigation discovered millions of dollars doled out by lawmakers through what are called "legislative earmarks" to politically connected companies. That's where they adopted amendments in the state budget making it a law that expenditures go to certain entities.

That has included more than $2 million to corporations at this Memphis address shared by state Sen. John Ford.

Those corporations are headed by Ford's political treasurer, Frank Banks.

State officials say they've been blocked by lawmakers when they've tried to find out how the money is spent.

Bredesen told reporters:

"I am certainly carefully considering whether or not I should go through the budget when it is passed, if this is not dealt with before then, and just line item veto those.

"What I think is offensive about what's going on is not that these things exist.  The legislature is entitled to put money into things that they want.  It's that they've been removed from any oversight from the normal process.

"These are things where literally on July 2nd, somebody calls and says give me my check and if you don't, I'll scream. That's not the way we should operate state government.

"If we can't get these things sorted out in the state budget, I'm certainly going to carefully consider using a line-item veto and bringing this thing to a head."

Banks admit he's taken state money to help minority businesses and then helped his own business partners.

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