TVA Officials Indulged Excessive Amount on Luxuries, Audit Says


Tennessee Valley Authority executives reportedly indulged in an excessive amount of spending on luxuries for themselves, according to a new audit.

The audit, as reported, included executives having expensive steak dinners and using chauffeurs instead of cabs, among other things.

“The nation’s largest public utility spent nearly $1.8 million on travel costs for its 67 executives from October 2016 to July 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by TVA’s Office of the Inspector General. The audit found executives repeatedly violated both federal travel regulations and TVA’s own policies. Violations included excessive meal costs, the use of car services instead of cheaper alternatives, foreign travel expenses and lodging. Some travel costs, the report states, were not reported to the TVA Board of Directors,” according to

“The audit found TVA executives spent $253,018 on dining costs during those months. For about half of the meals at business events, the average cost per person exceeded the allowable per diem, or daily meal allowance. For 41 percent of events, executives did not reduce their per diem when meals were provided — a violation of policy.”

Among the reported indulgences:

• $1,157 spent at a New York City steakhouse in New York City

• Also $1,157 spent at a steakhouse in Washington, D.C.

• They spent $911 to cover dinner for three employees at a French restaurant in New York City.

As The Tennessee Star reported in March, members of the Tennessee General Assembly considered a resolution to express support for a bill in Congress that would require the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Board of Directors to hold open meetings.

According to the TCOG website, State Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, explained Senate Joint Resolution 192 in a Senate committee meeting. The resolution won unanimous approval.

“We all know, Mr. Chairman, that the TVA is the steward of billions of dollars of ratepayers money,” Yager reportedly told members of the Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this year. 

But they also make rules that govern the lives and affect the lives of everybody else in Tennessee. Not the least of which is the property owners of this state. I just think in the spirit of transparency and open government, that all of their meetings should be open.

The Tennessee Valley Authority Transparency Act is sponsored by U.S. Rep Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville and co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis.

“Burchett’s bill would require the board and subcommittees of the board to hold their meetings in public, provide public notice of its meetings no fewer than six days before the meeting, and make publicly available the minutes and summaries of its meetings,” according to the Tennessee Coalition of Open Government.

“Private meetings could be held with a national security exception, and emergency meetings could be held without the six-day notice.”

The TVA is currently required to have four meetings a year. It is not required to have those meetings public, according to the TCOG.

According to the proposed resolution, the TVA is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies, serving 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states.

According to, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the Tennessee General Assembly resolution in April.

The Tennessee Valley Authority Transparency Act, meanwhile, was referred to the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment in February, according to

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “TVA” by TVA.




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  1. […] reported last year, Tennessee Valley Authority executives indulged in an excessive amount of spending on luxuries for […]

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