Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee says decisions about his company’s local government contracts will be made after the election. As state capitol newsroom reporter Chris Bundgaard tells us, it’s an issue brought up by Lee’s democrat opponent Karl Dean.
Lee’s heating and cooling company has contracts with local governments, but what happens if he is elected Governor?
“I am a business man. I run Lee Company. A lot of people work at Lee Company in this county,” says Lee.
The business success of his company is a prominent part of Lee’s campaign. On the Lee Company website, contracts are promoted with state and local governments that include renovating the state capitol’s heating and cooling.
Opponent Dean says Lee should say what he would do with the local government contracts before the November 6th election.
“In terms of avoiding all appearance of impropriety and avoiding any conflicts, all that information needs to be made available,” says Dean.
Lee has already said what he would do with his company’s state contracts.
“I think it’s really important that we don’t have conflicts of interest at the state level. That is why I have said I would undo state contracts or finish them out and not renew,” says Lee.
The Lee Company’s “local” government contracts remain a question that may not get answered until after Tennessee selects its next Governor.
“I have got an election to win before we start making decisions and set up particulars after the election, so I want to get to November 6th,” says Lee.
It’s clear that conflicts of interest are often a tricky and delicate issue for any businessman turned politician like Lee.
Gubernatorial campaigns like Lee’s or Dean’s always have lawyers who advise the candidates on potential conflicts of interest.