Thursday, June 29, 2006

Memphis Bioworks and Governor Bredesen

Bill Hobbs excerpts an interesting report from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research that documents some interesting election campaign donation connections between the Memphis Bioworks Board of Directors and Governor Phil Bredesen!
Here are the interesting facts:

1. Memphis Bioworks has 18 board members, two of whom are university presidents (UT and U of Memphis). As TCPR notes, university presidents rarely donate to political campaigns. Of the remaining 16 board members, 12 of them have made campaign contributions to Bredesen. Contributions to Bredesen's campaign fund by those 12 board members and their spouses total $36,500 over the past three years. A 13th board member didn't donate directly to Bredesen but did give $1,750 to a PAC that contributed $5,000 to Bredesen in 2005. Also, Memphis Bioworks President and Executive Director Steven Bares contributed $500 to Bredesen in December of 2003.

2. Six of the Memphis Bioworks board members contributed a total of $10,500 to Bredesen in a twelve-day span in December of 2005, only days before the beginning of the Special Session on Ethics and as the administration was finalizing its preliminary budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2006-07.
Betty Anderson (That's Mrs. Jimmy "Speaker of the House" Naifeh to politicians.) was hired as a lobbyist!

It should also be noted that Rep. Harold Ford Jr used tens of millions in budget "earmarks" to get the Federal funding for this project. Is it Federal "pork" or savvy quid pro quo politics?

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