MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee legislature only has 33 senators. So it’s rather remarkable that two of them are mired in criminal trouble at the same time, and both are from Shelby County.
Republican Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown was recently indicted on felony charges of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws. His response was to call the indictment a political witch hunt orchestrated by Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration. Except the investigation of Kelsey started when Donald Trump was in the White House. So if there’s a witch hunt brewing against Kelsey, Republicans started the hunt.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Katrina Robinson was convicted last month of fraud involving federal grant money she got for her nursing school. Despite the conviction, Robinson still maintains the charges as baseless and part of a political and racist attack against her. But a federal jury didn’t buy it, and now the question becomes will Robinson resign or be expelled from the senate.
Kelsey’s political future is more complicated. He’s entitled to his day in court. But how effective can he really be as a conservative advocate for law and order with a federal indictment hanging over his head?
Both of these cases are troubling to say the least. Because constituents are entitled to credible and honest representation. So we will be watching how the senate leadership handles the thorny problem of two of their members in legal hot water.