State Rep. Joe Cities’ civil penalties reached a complete of $45,000 Wednesday after the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance fined him one other $10,000 for failing to file marketing campaign experiences.
The Registry additionally took some comedic photographs on the Memphis Democrat.
“We hold doing this and the Democratic Caucus goes to be bankrupt,” Registry Republican member Tom Lawless mentioned, referring to the chance the caucus paid Cities’ penalties, which have reached the $100,000 mark.
Hank Fincher, a Democratic member of the board, quipped that the “people working in (Cities’) district” are doing the fundraising for him however having a nasty third quarter each two years.
“And the Registry can have an excellent (quarter) as a result of he’ll usher in baggage of money like Pacman Jones,” Fincher mentioned, a reference to the previous Tennessee Titans soccer participant who has run afoul of the regulation a number of instances.
Legislative candidates are required to pay any penalties earlier than they will run for workplace. However Cities mentioned earlier than Wednesday’s assembly, which he didn’t attend, “I’ve paid my final copper purple cent to them.”
In accordance with Drew Rawlins, government director of the Bureau of Ethics and Marketing campaign Finance, the checks for Cities’ previous fines got here from Cities.
After Registry members mentioned a movement to penalize Cities one other $10,000, Lawless identified the consultant is making an attempt to alter state regulation to permit marketing campaign contributions for use to repay the Registry’s penalties and to ban such assessments. Neither invoice has moved, and the Senate variations carried by state Sen. Raumesh Akbari have been positioned in a common subcommittee, that means they’re unlikely to cross, if not lifeless for the 12 months.
Fincher, who attended by convention name, added he needs to appoint Cities to exchange Rawlins when Rawlins retires quickly.
“He’s received extra expertise with the Registry than anybody else,” Fincher mentioned of Cities.
The Registry now has assessed 4 excellent $10,000 civil penalties towards Cities for failing to file experiences and late submitting and one other $5,000 penalty for late submitting of an appointment of treasurer. Wednesday’s penalty was for the third interval in 2018.
Maintaining his rivalry the board is “uncontrolled,” Cities mentioned earlier than the Wednesday assembly he had no intention of attending as a result of it doesn’t matter what form of clarification he gave, he believes the board would penalize him.
“Their fines are method past the pale,” Cities mentioned after rising from a Home committee assembly the place he offered a invoice.
Cities additionally mentioned he has no intention of paying any of the fines however plans to run for re-election in 2020.
Requested how he plans to handle that process, Cities mentioned: “We’ll cross that bridge after we get there. However I’ll let you know this, I’m not paying them one other rattling dime.”
Cities mentioned he has heard from different lawmakers and lobbyists that they’re irritated with the Registry’s actions and that they’re focusing on him.
Hardaway given reprieve
Whereas Cities’ penalties hold piling up, the Registry gave state Rep. G.A. Hardaway a break on an incomplete report he turned in for the fourth quarter of 2018. Members voted to provide Hardaway leeway till the top of the session, probably in June, to elucidate why a brand new submitting he despatched in did not account for political motion committee contributions he acquired.
Hardaway, a Memphis Democrat, mentioned not too long ago he thought he had taken care of the matter. Nevertheless, Rawlins mentioned throughout Wednesday’s assembly Hardaway filed a brand new report that merely deleted these PAC contributions and confirmed the identical starting and ending stability as in a earlier report.