In the Hot Seat: TN-5 Candidate Beth Harwell Sets the Record Straight on Past Legislation and Harm of Dark Money

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed TN-5 Republican candidate Beth Harwell in studio to talk about her past legislation and set the record straight on accomplishments for the state of Tennessee.

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Anti-Trumper Behind Dark Money Ad Attacking Kari Lake for Not Being Conservative Enough

A TV ad from an organization attacking Trump-endorsed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has been running on TV and radio. The spot criticizes her for a $350 donation she made to Barack Obama in 2008, well before she entered politics in 2021.

One of the men listed as leadership behind the little-known group, Freedom’s Future Fund (FFF), is Jason Roe (pictured above), who was forced to resign as executive director of the Michigan Republican Party last year for declaring that there was no election fraud in the 2020 election and that Trump’s loss was his own fault.

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Lawsuit Alleges Michigan Secretary of State Allowed Facebook to Sway 2020 Election

A conservative group in Michigan is duking it out in court with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) claiming that the elected official allowed money from Silicon Valley titan Facebook to have a partisan impact on the state’s 2020 elections. 

“This is what happened in 2020,” co-founder of the Michigan Conservative Coalition Marian Sheridan said in a press release.  “Zuck Bucks, which is private money, was used by elected officials through public entities to promote voting, but only promoted among selected potential voter groups.  Not to all citizens.  Every voter should have received the benefit of a fair portion of the funds unfairly used by elected officials.  They cannot selectively promote anything.”

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‘Private’ Church Group Funded by Government Resettling Refugees in Tennessee

This week, 35 Afghan refugees were resettled in Knoxville with the help of two nonprofits whose sole focus is bringing refugees to America. 

Bridge Refugee Services Inc. is a Tennessee nonprofit whose mission is “to help refugees, those people who are fleeing because of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, a pertinence to social group or escaping wars and violence, to be self sufficient as soon as possible,” according to its Executive Director Drocella Mugorewera. 

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Investigation Reveals Florida Democrats Used Dark-Money Organization to Support Candidates

A statewide investigation that made its way into an alleged scheme by Republican state Senator Frank Artile to influence a Miami-Dade County election in 2020, revealed that a dark-money organization was used by Florida Democrats to pay for “sham candidate mailers.”

In an attempt to make gains against a Republican-controlled Florida Senate, Josh Weierbach, the executive director of a progressive group called Florida Watch Inc., had $115,000 on hand leading up to the 2020 election that he wanted to use in support for Senate Democratic candidates, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigating 2020 Election Interference Claims in Orlando

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced they have opened an investigation into the 2020 election related to Florida Senate District 9, which saw then-candidate Jason Brodeur (R) defeat Patricia Sigman (D) by approximately 2 percentage points.

The Orlando Sentinel reported the specific allegations have not been publicly disclosed, but noted the Seminole and Volusia County election, and the political scene at-large, has been mired in scrutiny and controversy for months.

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Five Voting-Related Ballot Proposals Seek to Make Arizona 2022 Ballot

Five ballot proposals addressing voting may be on this fall’s ballot if their sponsors collect enough signatures. Three of them, known as referendums, seek to stop legislation from becoming law, requiring 118,823 signatures each. The other ballot initiatives need 237,645 signatures each. Even if all the signatures are collected, a successful legal challenge could keep them off the ballot.

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Renacci Encourages DeWine to ‘Come Clean’ on Knowledge of Ohio’s Corruption Scheme

Former U.S. Representative and GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci called on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to “come clean” to voters on his knowledge of and potential involvement in corruption allegations that have become national news.

“What did DeWine know about the nuclear plant bailout scheme, and when did he know it?” Renacci questioned in his opinion piece published in The Columbus Dispatch.

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Governor Lee Signs Bill into Law that Prohibits Outside Funding to Elections Without Legislative Speakers’ Consent

A new Tennessee law makes outside funding to state and local election officials an exception to the rule. Governor Bill Lee signed the bill into law last week – it ensures that select elected officials review all outside funding, if any. It would also enable the public to access information on those outside funds through open records. 

This law will apply to both the state and county-level election commissions, the secretary of state, county administrators of elections, and the coordinator of elections. Only combined approval from the state House and Senate speakers would enable state election officials to accept funding from private individuals, corporations, organizations, or political parties. As for county election commissions and administrators of elections, outside funding must be approved by the secretary of state or one of their designees. 

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Tennessee Senate Passes Bill Regulating Election Funding from Individuals, Businesses, Corporations, or Political Parties

Wednesday morning, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill to regulate funding for conducting local and state elections. SB 1534/HB 966 would require funds from private individuals, businesses, and corporations to receive approval from various elected state officials.

State Representative Michele Carringer (R-Knoxville) and State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) are the sponsors on the legislation. 

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Ohio Elections Chief Frank LaRose Seeks Openness for ‘Dark Money’ Groups

The source of money contributed to so-called “dark money” groups operating in Ohio and trying to influence the political process should be disclosed, with possible penalties for violating this requirement including a low-level felony and a substantial fine, Ohio’s Republican elections chief said Monday.

The Secretary of State should also have subpoena power for campaign-finance related records and groups trying to block the gathering of ballot initiative signatures should be required to register with the state, said Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

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Inside the Dark Money Dem Group Using an Umbrella Network to Flay Trump Over His Virus Response

by Chris White   Two left-leaning large super pac groups that kickstarted a digital ad campaign targeting President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response have ties to a wealthy, shadowy dark money network. American Bridge 21st Century and Pacronym are reportedly cutting ads thrashing Trump’s handling of the virus and becoming two…

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Ocasio-Cortez Has Ties to a Dark Money Group

by Andrew Kerr   Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ties with a dark money group that trains progressive organizers on how to lead grassroots political campaigns across the country. The group, Organize for Justice, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, meaning it can raise unlimited sums of money without having to disclose…

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The Influential Appointment of Dark Money Group Founder’s Daughter in North Carolina Governor’s Office Raises Questions

The daughter of the man behind a dark money group supporting North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper was hired into an influential role just weeks after Cooper took office. Tom Hendrickson is the main figure behind the dark money 501(c)4 non-profit called “Moving NC Forward.” The group was first reported…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Dark Money + Union Money = Corrupt Politics

Dark Money

This election cycle we have already seen an influx of unaccountable cash, known as dark money, which pours into our state. Outside money hurts more than it helps. Tennessee voters were not swayed by big spending outsiders. It is worth noting the message the outsiders bring is almost always negative. If you don’t think this is an erosion of democracy, you’re not thinking about it hard enough. The formula is simple: Dark Money + Union Money = Corrupt Politics

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