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Lamar Alexander Dismisses Campaign Finance Complaint

Posted at 8:51 PM, Jun 17, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander's re-election campaign faces a possible investigation by the Federal Election Commission over issues first raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

An independent candidate for Senate, Danny Page of Goodlettsville, filed a complaint Tuesday. He claimed Alexander's campaign worked with the Tennessee State Museum to "promote" the senator's re-election.

Last fall, the museum planned to open a traveling exhibit last fall that would have highlighted Alexander's two terms as governor and his swearing into office three days early to end the scandal plagued administration of Gov. Ray Blanton.

Our investigation revealed employees at the Tennessee State Museum were concerned about the timing of the exhibit, because it would have traveled across the state at the same time Alexander was running for re-election.

"When we first started talking about the exhibit, there was a general understanding that he probably wasn't going to run," the longtime head of the Tennessee State Museum, Lois Riggins-Ezzell said last year.

But she said that even though Alexander decided to run for re-election, the museum planned to move forward with the exhibit.

Our investigation showed numerous e-mails between the museum and Alexander's campaign about timing and even funding for the exhibit.

After our questions, the museum postponed the exhibit.

"The decision was made based on all the factors you are bringing up," Riggins-Ezzell said last year.

Page wants the Federal Election Commission to investigate the exhibit and $400,000 in federal money Alexander secured for the Museum four years earlier.

Last summer, Alexander's campaign called the whole "affair" a "silly political stretch," noting that the $400,000 was part of an earmark program for the preservation of museum artifacts and the exhibit would be paid for with private money.

On Tuesday, Alexander's campaign dismissed the complaint, saying it's over a "traveling exhibit that never traveled."

Danny Page called it "Museumgate."

The Federal Election Commission must decide if the complaint warrants further action.

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