Shane Reeves, State Senate candidate in the GOP 14th District special Republican primary election on January 25th, filed his financial disclosure forms with the State of Tennessee yesterday and at least one of his contributions is raising eyebrows. A $500 donation is recorded as being received on November 16, 2017 from the lobbying firm of Smith, Harris & Carr PAC.
According to Reeves’ rival for the GOP nomination, former State Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas), one of the named principals in the firm, Anne Carr (no relation), is the registered lobbyist for Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood.
Joe Carr questioned Reeves’ pro-life claims when he was endorsed by the Tennessee Education Association (TEA). The TEA’s national affiliate, the National Education Association, which TEA helps fund, is a large donor to Planned Parenthood. During the 2014 election cycle NEA funneled over $790,000 in teachers’ dues money to Planned Parenthood.
“Shane has shown a disturbing pattern throughout this campaign of saying one thing and doing another, which makes him completely unsuited to represent the conservative values of this district in the legislature,” Carr pointed out. “If we can’t trust him to MEAN what he says during the campaign, how can we trust him to DO what he says if he is elected? Clearly, we can’t.”
Dr. Brent Boles, an OBGYN in Murfreesboro with Covenant Healthcare for Women and Medical Director for Portico, a pro-life crisis pregnancy center in Murfreesboro, said he’s appalled that Reeves would accept a donation from advocates of abortion. “I can’t imagine how anyone would consider him a credible pro-life candidate when he takes money from Planned Parenthood’s Tennessee lobbyists.”
“My first public action as a pro-life obstetrician was 23 years ago,” Boles noted, “and I haver never met a more determined, serious and consistent legislator when it comes to protecting unborn life than Joe Carr.”
Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker responded to The Tennessee Star request for comment as well: “Accepting an endorsement from the pro-abortion TEA was one strike against Shane Reeves. Taking money from the lobbyists for the pro-abortion advocates at Planned Parenthood is another strike. If pro-life voters are paying attention, Shane Reeves is about to strike out on the vital issue of protecting unborn babies from being killed.”
The Reeves campaign responded quickly, focusing on their donor base and registered status of Anne Carr versus the issue of abortion (other than to state Reeves is pro-life).
“We appreciate the opportunity to highlight Shane’s disclosure which includes more than $170,000 in contributions from over 250 supporters verses Joe Carr’s 19 contributions,” the Reeves campaign told The Star.
“Anne Carr is no longer a registered lobbyist. In fact, she is retired. At the time the check was written, Smith Harris Carr did not represent Planned Parenthood,” the campaign noted.
“Shane Reeves is proudly pro-life and any attempt by Joe Carr’s floundering campaign to skew the truth is inaccurate. But we’d expect nothing less from the career campaigner,” the Reeves campaign concluded.
Some additional facts concerning the back and forth between the Reeves campaign and the Carr campaign are worth noting.
“Anne Carr, a lobbyist at Smith Harris & Carr, announced on Twitter that she will miss the upcoming legislative session,” The Nashville Post reported two weeks ago on January 5, 2018:
“On Jan 9, for the first time in 37 yrs, I will miss the opening of the state legislature,” she wrote. “It’s been an honor to work with engaged, thoughtful legislators & dedicated state employees on behalf of amazing clients, but it’s time for me to move on.”
Carr was a founding partner of Fosbinder & Carr in 1986, and she became a principal at a predecessor firm to Smith Harris & Carr in 1990.
In recent years, her lobbying work has been focused on business, health care and non-profit issues.
The $500 check from the Smith Harris & Carr PAC to the Reeves campaign was dated November 16, 2017, a month and a half prior to Anne Carr’s retirement.
At the time the Smith Harris & Carr check was accepted by the Reeves campaign, Anne Carr was apparently still a registered lobbyist for Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. Her registration was effective as of January 9, 2017 according to Tennessee Ethics Commission records.
Such registrations are typically in effect for one year, which would keep it in effect until January 8, 2018.
The winner of the Jan 25 special Republican primary election will face Democrat Gayle Jordan, who is unopposed in her party’s primary, in the March 13 special general election.
Editors Note: Both the Shane Reeves for State Senate Campaign and the Joe Carr for State Senate Campaign are Tennessee Star advertisers.