Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You Tell Me

According to the Tennessean this is what happened:
[State] Rep. Judd Matheny ... advised the company, a Tullahoma-based title loan firm, on how to target key committee members and legislative leaders with campaign contributions.

The goal, he told The Tennessean in January, was to help 3D Financial in a "pre-emptive strike" so lawmakers would look favorably on the firm. About a month before the legislature convened for a special session on ethics, he helped 3D target more than $20,000 to a number of state legislators.

Those checks were accompanied by a letter from Matheny on his campaign stationery.

And a week before those contributions went out, Matheny received his own campaign contribution from the company of $5,000....

Matheny said he was aiding the company as he would any constituent. He also said any PAC money he receives, such as the $5,000 he received from 3D Financial, goes to charity.
Well, that begs the question: Which charity? The Help Matheny Trust?

The House Ethics Committee cleared him, finding no wrong-doing. But, as presented here, this sure doesn't pass the smell test with me.

So, is there some kind of intra--mural politics going on to protect Matheny, or business-as-usual in the State House? Or are there further circumstances not reported that mitigate appearances? Or is the culture of the State House so debased now that something like this doesn't even bother them?

You tell me.

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