Manny Sethi Campaign Fails to Provide Evidence to Support Claim Bill Hagerty Made Millions on Common Core


Members of U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi’s campaign, despite countless claims, apparently cannot prove that opponent Bill Hagerty made millions of dollars off of Common Core.

Sethi and Hagerty are both challenging one another to replace the retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for the August 6 Republican primary.

On Tuesday, The Tennessee Star asked Sethi’s campaign to demonstrate that Common Core, with no room for doubt, netted Hagerty seven figures or more. We asked for dates for when Hagerty made those millions. And in terms of compensation we also asked Sethi’s campaign to state a precise sum of money.

Sethi Campaign Manager Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer, by close of business Tuesday, provided none of that.

Instead, in an emailed response, Barnwell-Hagemeyer linked to a March 2015 CNBC article titled “Companies Cash in on Common Core despite controversy.” The article, which only had 92 words, said state governments granted hundreds of millions of dollars in Common Core-related contracts to various businesses, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Hagerty was Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s director and Compensation Committee Chair from 2010 through 2013, according to his LinkedIn page. Hagerty said he assisted a “a global publisher during transition from an Irish domiciled company to one now headquartered in the US.”

Barnwell-Hagemeyer, though, continued to say that Hagerty and HMH made millions through Common Core.

“Hagerty’s company implemented the Federal Government takeover of our schools while Hagerty was a director, they sent press releases bragging about it, and they continued cashing in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars during the Obama administration,” Barnwell-Hagemeyer said in an email.

The Star asked Barnwell-Hagemeyer for either copies of the press releases he mentioned or, better yet, links that would direct us to them.

Barnwell-Hagemeyer responded by saying he was mobile and did not have any press releases at his disposal.

Barnwell-Hagemeyer next emailed us text from a source he did not identify. That text described Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s new literature in line with Common Core standards. The written material did not mention Hagerty. The written material also did not describe how Common Core benefitted the company or any of its employees financially.

Hagerty himself, at an early voting rally at the Nashville Public Library Bellevue Branch last week, would not directly address Sethi’s accusation — other than to verbally disavow Common Core.

No Firm Evidence

The Star asked Sethi’s campaign yet again for concrete evidence to support their staff members’ claims that Hagerty made millions of dollars off Common Core.

“As a member of the board, he financially benefited, during the time in which he was there,” Barnwell-Hagemeyer said in a subsequent email.

“I would ask him on that one, but it’s clear that hundreds of millions were made from Common Core for his company HMH.”

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s 2013 Initial Public Offering said that cash compensation for non-employee directors consisted of an annual retainer for board and committee service.

“Our non-employee directors (other than the Chairman of the Board) receive annual cash compensation of $144,000. Our Chairman received annual cash compensation of $216,000,” according to the IPO.

“The Company also reimbursed all of its directors for expenses they incur in connection with attending Board meetings and committee meetings.”

Hagerty that year made $79,500 for fees earned, the IPO said.

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







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11 Thoughts to “Manny Sethi Campaign Fails to Provide Evidence to Support Claim Bill Hagerty Made Millions on Common Core”

  1. The fact that Trump’s endorsement of Hagerty had nothing to do with Trump actually endorsing him, but rather part of a deal Trump made with McConnell. In exchange for pushing through SCOTUS nominees, in return, McConnell got auto-endorsements from Trump for any candidate McConnell and the Establishment wished to push in primaries and elections all around the country. McConnell is a cancer on this party, as are so many others currently serving in the Senate. Hagerty is joined at the hip to Romney, Jeb Bush (big time!) and Rubio (another faux Tea Partier.) At best, Hagerty would be Alexander part 2, or worse, Corker Light. Sethi is an unknown, but you gotta play the averages. Bottom line, Hagerty would be a rubber stamp for McConnell (assuming he wins his election) and ultimately, not good for TN.

  2. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

    The Federal Government has zero business in education. Clearly the facets of Liberty are not being taught in any school, as evidenced by the mob.

  3. Kevin

    And the political mud slinging goes on, while “Rome burns”! One thing that this does illuminate, is that we need to rescind the 17th Amendment! Or, at the very least, make it a 4 year cycle, so We the People get to recall an errant Senator more quickly!

    But how come there has been virtually ZERO media coverage of the other 12 people in the US Senate race? Certainly one of those other candidates must be an “outsider” with Conservative beliefs. And, certainly there is the possibility that at least one of them is being funded by some “establishment” money. Anyway you slice it, the answer to my question is money!

    I will unenthusiastically vote for Manny Sethi, mainly because I don’t want the proven RINO, Hagerty. I would vote for one of the others, IF I knew more about them, AND, I thought they could win. But I’m also not so sure that a couple of them aren’t in the race, just to help Hagerty.

  4. Stuart I. Anderson

    It certainly isn’t very interesting if you are a conservative to watch a race for high office between two candidates who can only engender thoughts of how we can replace whoever wins in six years. In a race between Republican Establishment’s Central Casting Bill Hagerty and Republican Establishment hanger-on Chairman Manny the issue is who can do the most damage to the conservative movement in by winning. I say Chairman Manny by showing you can get conservatives to vote for you despite the fact you have done almost nothing in your entire life that shows you have the slightest interest in conservatism or its movement. That’s why I am going to cast an unenthusiastic vote for Hagerty.

    1. Trevor

      At best Stuart I think Hagerty was conflicted to serve on the board at the same time he served as Haslam ECD commissioner! This question needs to addressed in the primary!
      The democrats will bring it up in the Primary election. The voters in Tennessee have seen this video before, RINOs run their primary and general election races as a true conservative and after winning they vote as a Democrat! As examples Corker, Haslam ( Mayors against guns, Anti 2nd amendment, concealed carry to work parking lots) Alexander! Hagerty is part of the Tennessee RINOs! Oh did I mention he contributed money to another good Tennessean AL Gore! and never Trumper Mitt Romney!
      Our country faces serious challenges, financially, our debt, social unrest. We need to send someone who is not part of the swamp and can think differently than Corker, Haslam, Alexander.

      Just this week Nancy Pelosi wished George Bush was back as president because he was a RINO. We need a New senator for Tennessee, Sethi is my choice.

    2. John

      Stuart, I don’t think you quite get it. We are sick of RINOs. At this point, Sethi could drive over a cliff in a bus full of newborn babies and he’d still get my vote.

      Given the choice of voting for an establishment candidate or someone who may or may not turn on us, the choice becomes abundantly clear.

      1. Stuart I. Anderson

        With no conservative in this race unfortunately the choice is anything but abundantly clear if you are a movement conservative. I understand your choice John.

        After this is all over conservatives have to come together and make it clear to the winner that we expect a Heritage score of at least somewhere in the mid 80’s or we will do our utmost to make him a one term Senator. We conservatives simply have to do better than this in the future.

    3. Jackie Archer

      Hagerty has a Rino record. We know what he will do. Sethi, at least, is a possible conservative, if he lives up to his campaign rhetoric. I putting my money on Sethi and will then hold him to his word.

      1. Randy

        I agree i am voting for Sethi! I will also hold him accountable!!

      2. Stacey

        Jackie, Can you please list the items that make up Hagerty’s Rino Record? Thanks in advance.

        1. Randy

          Aiding and Supporting Massachusetts Mitt Romney, Anti Trumper, Worked for Bill Haslam! Donated to Al Gore….. Oh Jeb Bush, Low energy… Supported Common Core, the Tennessee legislature had to real in his boss, Haslam on the common core curriculum! That is enough to know he is running and supporting the folks that are out of step with Tennessee Conservative Values (RINOs)!! I am disappointed in Marsha! I did consider her to be a member of the Tennessee RINOs. But Sethi will prevail over all this negative campaigning! Tennessee people do not respond to negative campaigns. We need to turn the page on the RINOs and need new leadership to represent Tennessee. I am scared he and his pal Romney will do harm to our country. GHo Sethi