Dr. George Flinn – after falling short in his bid to replace Representative David Kustoff (R-TN-08) by only 3,000 in the historic 2016 election cycle – has personally lent his 2018 campaign “rematch” with Kustoff $1.4 million, Federal Election Commission filings show.
For the first quarter’s reporting period, Flinn reports $863,350 was paid to Caissa Public Strategies of Memphis for “campaign management expenses, leaving a cash-on-hand balance of roughly $530,000. A separate area of the report shows the campaign made a loan payment to Flinn in the amount of $11,000. Apart from the $1,400,000, records show a total of $500 in donations were reported.
Meanwhile, incumbent Representative David Kustoff reported receipts of $236,800 across 450 contributions, which range from $500 to $2700 each. A total of $100,000 were from PACs. The sum total of all contributions through the first quarter total $1.12 million – slightly less than Flinn’s loan to his own campaign.
Before politics, Dr. George Flinn had a successful career in medicine, where he eventually built a chain of radiology clinics in Tennessee. He took some of that fortune and used it to start Flinn Broadcasting, which acquired a series of radio, and eventually, television stations across the country.
Prior to his election to Congress, Representative David Kustoff was an attorney in private practice. In 2006, President Bush appointed him to be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. During his tenure, Kustoff ran Project Tennessee Waltz, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of Democrat John Ford (older brother of former Senator Harold Ford, Jr) for bribery.
After a brief return to private practice, Kustoff decided to mount a campaign to run for the newly re-drawn 8th congressional after then-incumbent Representative Stephen Fincher announced he would not run in 2016. In a crowded primary against better-known and financed candidates, Kustoff earned the backing of former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Against five other candidates – one of whom was Flinn – Kustoff won the primary with a margin of victory of a little over four percentage points. Flinn came in second.
In the Fall of 2017, The Tennessee Star reported on Dr. Bryan Merrick, an 8th congressional constituent and beloved local physician whose ability to practice medicine was all but ended after a capricious ruling by the Medicaid authority, CMS. Dr. Merrick sought help from his representative, Kustoff, however the congressman failed to provide any meaningful assistance at the time:
Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN-08) met on Tuesday with Dr. Bryan Merrick, co-owner of McKenzie Medical Center, whose Medicare privileges were abruptly revoked by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services over clerical billing errors totaling $670, McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland, Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelley, McLemoresville Mayor Phil Williams, Carroll County Mayor Kenny McBride, and Bethel University President Walter Butler, all of whom were attempting to secure his help in stopping this egregious abuse of individual rights by an overreaching federal government health care bureaucracy.
Kustoff basically punted in response, offering to undertake nothing more than a purely symbolic effort to “expedite” the lengthy administrative law judge offering.
Meanwhile, Dr. Merrick’s patients and employees, as well as Dr. Merrick and McKenzie Medical Center, will suffer devastating consequences, since Medicare payments, which comprise almost half of his practice, are now completely cut off.
McKenzie, Tennessee is located in Tennessee’s Eighth Congressional District, which Kustoff represents.