Former State Rep. Jeremy Durham issued a statement through his attorney Peter Strianse late Tuesday outlining his response to a Show Cause letter from the Registry of Election Finance.
“Frankly, I am surprised that the Registry would publicly disclose Mr. Durham’s audit response before conducting a fair and honest review of its contents. Despite obvious violations of Mr. Durham’s constitutional rights, Tennessee law, as well as the Registry’s own policies and procedures, Mr. Durham has responded in exhaustive detail to every question raised,” Strianse said in his statement.
“The selective inquisition of Mr. Durham and his records appears to be driven by an agenda rather than a good faith effort to police legislative fundraising, expenditures and the reporting process,” Strianse added. “The Tennessean, by simply reviewing one year of certain legislators’ public records, has uncovered far more egregious examples of financial abuse than the allegations made against Mr. Durham after an audit of four years. If the Registry is serious about policing the legislature, then it should follow up on this paper’s reporting and pursue audits of the legislative abuses identified in recent stories. The failure of the Registry to take such action speaks loudly to its real intent which, unfortunately, is to harm Mr. Durham rather than protect the public interest.”
You can see Durham’s full response here:
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/durham-response-60pg.pdf” title=”Durham Response”]
The Tennessee Star has learned that Durham asserts that he was never properly served with the Show Cause letter from the Registry as required by state law in order for the Registry to assess fines. Durham reportedly plans to raise that objection in an additional filing with the Registry on Wednesday, May 3.
TCA 2-10-110(a)(2) provides: (2) “Class 2 offense” means failing to file a report required by this part within thirty-five (35) days after service of process or receipt of notice by registered or certified mail of an assessment or any other violation of the requirements of this part. A Class 2 offense is punishable by a maximum civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or fifteen percent (15%) of the amount in controversy, if fifteen percent (15%) of the amount in controversy is greater than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Durham was defeated in the August 2016 primary for the Republican nomination in the 65th District by State Rep. Sam Whitson (R-Franklin) after Attorney General Slatery made public a report regarding Durham’s personal conduct while a member of the Tennessee General Assembly.
“On February 4, 2016, the Article II, Section 12 Ad Hoc Select Committee was appointed to determine whether allegations concerning Representative Jeremy Durham constitute disorderly behavior and whether such behavior or other circumstances justify explusion from the House of Representatives,” the Comittee’s report to Speaker Harwell dated July 13, 2016 stated.
“On February 8, 2016 . . . the Committee requested the Attorney General to conduct a full, fair, and thorough investigation and, upon conclusion, prepare a report for the Committee,” the report noted.