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Attack Watch


From Phil Williams:

Radio legend Paul Harvey developed a trademark segment in which he tells his listeners about some newsy or historical tidbit, then surprises them with "The Rest of the Story."

Perhaps, voters ought to look for that twist any time that they read a missive from either political party.

Case in point: a news release this week from the Tennessee Republican Party, headlined "DEMOCRATS SEEK TO LET SEN. COOPER KEEP MOST OF THE MONEY HE STOLE."

It reads, in part:

Two Democrat appointees on the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance may have found a way to let ex-state Sen. Jerry Cooper keep $80,000 of the $95,000 he stole from his campaign contributors a few years ago.

Today, according to news reports, they caused the TREF to ask the state attorney general if state law permits the TREF to fine Cooper $120,000 for his crime, or if the fine is limited by state law to 15 percent of the "amount in controversy."

While the TREF can not and should not levy a fine that it is not legally empowered to levy, Tennessee Republicans note with interest that Democrats seem less concerned with punishing Sen. Cooper for his theft than they are with protecting his pocketbook.

"Instead of trying to find ways to help a thieving Democrat keep his ill-gotten money, Democrats on the Registry of Election Finance should be calling for reform to close the 'Cooper Loophole'," said Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party.

And, now, the rest of the story.

The vote to postpone action on the Cooper matter was unanimous -- Democrats AND Republicans.

While Democratic appointee George Harding clearly appeared sympathetic to Cooper, the other Democrat in question -- attorney Lee Anne Murray -- seemed genuinely concerned about whether the Registry had the legal authority to levy the $120,000 fine that it had imposed last month.

And, by the way, Murray had advocated at that prior meeting that Cooper needed to be fined even more, Registry minutes show.  Her original motion was for a fine of $150,000.


On the other hand, there's an attack by the Democrats on state Sen. Diane Black.

The Tennessee Democratic Party's latest "Munday Message" passes along a column written by Sumner County Democrat Leonard Assante, "charging that state Sen. Diane Black did not exclude herself from voting on legislation which provided her husband's corporation with potentially $1.4 million in state contracts."

Assante's column -- which quotes a WSMV-TV story that, in turn, quoted Assante -- notes that the Sumner County Republican's husband heads the Aegis Sciences Corporation.  That drug testing firm has three state contracts, potentially worth up to $1.4 million.

And, now, the rest of the story.

Sen. Black fully discloses her husband's interests on financial forms required by law.  Furthermore, according to information from Assante, it appears that all she ever did was to vote on the state budget.

But here's the clincher:  According to a state contracts database, all three of Aegis Science Corporation's contracts were awarded by the Bredesen administration through competitive bidding -- without any input from Black or anyone else in the legislature.

And the last time that I checked the Tennessee Democratic Party still thinks that Bredesen is doing a good job in managing the state's money.

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