Tennessee Ethics Commission Reprieves Former Democratic chairman

Watchdog body reconsiders $1,000 penalty -- assessed for overlooking a filing required of party executive committee candidates, says Bryan Carson, ex-head of SCDP.


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At its meeting of June 3 in Nashville, the Tennessee Ethics Commission met to consider several new penalties for alleged campaign-finance offenders and to reconsider several already assessed. One of the latter was a $1,000 fine imposed on then Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Bryan Carson last September.

As the Commission recapped the situation last week:

“Mr. Carson was assessed $1,000 at the September 17, 2014 meeting for failure to file the Statement of Interests. Mr. Carson has subsequently filed and appeared before the Commission to explain the tardiness of his filing. After the discussion, Mr. [Jim [Stranch made the motion to reconsider and to waive the penalty as it was Mr. Carson’s first time filing. Mr. [Greg] Hardeman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.”

Carson— who ran afoul of his executive committee and the state Election Registry for his accounting procedures a few months ago and subsequently resigned his chairmanship — offered this explanation:

“A few months ago, I learned that each candidate running for public must file a Statement of Interest and submit it to the Tennessee Ethics Commission. I ran for the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee last August 2014 and did not know that I needed to complete a Statement of Interest which was due in September 2014.

“All candidates were required to complete another statement in January 2015 of which I completed and filed on time. Running to serve on the TNDP was my first time running for public office, therefore, that weighed heavily on the final decision of the Tennessee Ethics Commission.”

This is an updated and slightly abridged version of the original posted story.

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