MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanfordshares his point of view on the latest federal investigation involving StateRep. Brian Kelsey.
The Tennessee legislature spent the majority of this yearpreoccupied with scandal. Most of it involved former Republican House speakerGlen Casada, who was forced out of that job by members of his own party for alaundry list of bad behavior.
But the negative news just keeps on coming. Now we’velearned that Republican state Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown is underfederal investigation for possible campaign finance violations. And this is nopetty partisan inquiry. We’re talking about FBI agents asking lots of questionsabout money changing several hands, to support Kelsey’s unsuccessful campaignfor Congress in 2016.
The investigation comes after news reports in the NashvilleTennessean newspaper linking Kelsey’s congressional campaign to a complicatedarrangement that involved possibly illegal contributions. So far, FBI agents haveinterviewed current and former state lawmakers, including former Lt. GovernorRon Ramsey. A Nashville councilman has also been questioned.
A key focus of the investigation seems to be a contributionof $106,000 from Kelsey’s state legislative campaign to a Political ActionCommittee. Most of that money may have then been routed illegally into Kelsey’scongressional campaign for radio ads.
Kelsey told The Tennessean this week he welcomes theinvestigation, insisting all donations were done legally.
Whether that’s true remains to be seen. But this is just onemore scandalous story from a legislature that, this year at least, is fullthem. And that’s my point of view.