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Former speaker Glen Casada, aides subpoenaed in relation to PAC

Posted at 3:11 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 16:30:54-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Potentially more problems are brewing for former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada and several of his closest allies and aides.

On Thursday, the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance voted to issue subpoenas for Casada, R-Franklin, as well as Rep. Todd Warner, R-Chapel Hill, and Casada's former chief of staff Cade Cothren along with several others.

The Registry members heard from Sydney Friedopfer, who testified by phone that Cothren had asked her to set up a political action committee because he couldn't have his name on the filing papers or be associated with the PAC. Friedopfer said she was just 22 at the time and thought she was in love with Cothren. She says he told her all she had to do was sign the registration paperwork and he'd take over running the PAC known as the Faith Family Freedom Fund.

That PAC came up a year ago during the FBI's investigation into alleged illegal laundering of campaign money during legislative elections. Agents raided the homes of Casada, Cothren and others last January. The Faith Family Freedom Fund — reportedly at Cothren's direction — paid thousands of dollars for attack ads against former Rep. Rick Tillis.

Friedopfer — who remains listed as the fund's treasurer — said Thursday that when the Registry contacted her with questions, Cothren told her not to call them back because they had no authority. Yet, the Registry's executive director said someone at least pretending to be her responded to letters sent to the fund's email address. Friedopfer told the Registry she did not even know the fund had an email address.

"I would recommend that we issue a subpoena to this Mr. Cothren and haul him in for questioning and also for all of the records he's got related to this," Tennessee Registry member Henry Fincher said. "Clearly he's a key link to the next one up the chain."