The Honorable Glenn R. Funk
District Attorney General-Elect
222 Second Avenue North, Suite 500
Nashville, TN 37201
Please accept this correspondence as a formal complaint and request that your offices open an investigation into the illegal campaign activities of a political action committee operating under the name “Strong and Free Tennessee” and using the address: P.O. Box 90968 Nashville, TN 37209.
As I understand the law governing the conduct of political action committees in Tennessee, they are required to file statements of formation and disclosures of their receipts and disbursements with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance if advocating in state elections or with county election commissions if they are advocating in local campaigns. My understanding from Mr. Drew Rawlins at the TBECF is that the State of Tennessee considers elections for the Executive Committee of the Republican and Democratic Parties to be local elections.
Since the week of July 21, Davidson County residents have received direct mail from “Strong and Free
Tennessee” endorsing candidates Baker Ring and Melissa Gay and advocating for their election in the 18th
Republican Committee District as well as D.J. King in the 19th District.
To date, “Strong and Free Tennessee” has not filed any statement of formation or disclosure with the state, the Davidson County Election Commission or the Sumner County Election Commission. Their information does not appear on a listing of PACs in the state database, verified by Mr. Rawlins, and I have personally verified with Joan Nixon of the DCEC that no filing is on record with her office.
I have been informed that this group has sent identical mailers advocating for other Republican committee
candidates in at least four other districts comprising nearly 25% of Tennessee counties at what can easily be understood to be a considerable financial expenditure.
As a sitting member of the Republican State Executive Committee, this activity causes me great concern.
As instructed by the TBECF, I am referring this matter to your office with a request that you look into the
activities of this group and their efforts to influence elections in Nashville and across Tennessee while
concealing their identity and sources of financial support from public view. The integrity of our system
requires that all elections on every level be conducted according to the law. I hope you will take this into
account when reviewing my request.
I am attaching a photocopy of the mailer for the 18th District as well as Mr. Rawlins’ opinion on this matter. If you require additional information, I will be pleased to assist in any way. I look forward to your reply and hope we can resolve this matter in a timely fashion.
Tennessee RepublicanState Executive Committee, District 19