Board Refuses to Reduce Cooper Fine - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Capitol HIll Corruption

Board Refuses to Reduce Cooper Fine

Posted:

Former state Sen. Jerry Cooper had hoped for mercy for his illegal use of campaign funds.

But the Warren County Democrat found none.

Instead, a state board ruled that he will have to pay an unprecedented fine of $120,000.

Our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams first obtained the evidence that led to the fine.

Cooper did not attend Wednesday's meeting.

But he sent a letter. 

In it, he did not deny that he broke state law --  a law that prohibits candidates from pocketing money from their campaigns.

Instead, Cooper asked for mercy from the Registry of Election Finance. He wanted the board to reconsider and fine him a more modest amount. He had suggested no more than $10,000.

At issue: checks which showed that Cooper had transferred $95,000 from his campaign into his personal account.

In his letter, Cooper asked for consideration given his "limited ability to pay."

He added that he "would humbly apologize for any mistakes" he made.

Still, it didn't convince regulators.

"You shouldn't profit from serving the public," Registry member Lee Anne Murray said after the meeting.

"This should be something that you get reimbursed for your expenses, but you certainly, certainly should not make a profit and get any personal gain from doing so."

Cooper had resigned, hoping his resignation would be enough. 

As to whether the Registry ever see this money, it may not.

As our investigations revealed, Cooper has faced serious financial problems for years -- which led to some questionable ethical decisions.

Ultimately, state attorneys could end up taking him to court and at least forcing some sort of payment plan.

Back to NC5 Investigates: Capitol Hill Corruption
Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.