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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