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FBI Arrests Several Tennessee Lawmakers In Corruption Sting

The Nashville City Paper reports a big bust in Tennessee this morning.

State Sen. Ward Crutchfield (D-Chattanooga), Sen. John Ford (D-Memphis), Sen. Kathryn Bowers (D-Memphis) and state Rep. Chris Newton (R-Cleveland) were arrested by the FBI near the state Capitol this morning and led away in handcuffs.

The four were arrested under the federal Hobbs Act, which covers extortion by the wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear.

The arrests apparently involve a bill [PDF] sponsored in the House by Newton and in the Senate by Crutchfield and Ford that involved the sale of surplus computers and electronic equipment. Newton withdrew the bill from committee consideration Wednesday.

A quick read of the bill indicates that only "qualified electronic recycling" companies would be eligible for state contracts to dispose of unwanted computer equipment.
The department or agency which declares the computer and electronic equipment to be surplus may be charged a fee to cover the cost of disposing of such equipment pursuant to subdivision (2). The amount of the fee shall be determined by the board of standards.

(6) All computer and electronic equipment generated by the state which is not disposed of pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be disposed of by a qualified electronic recycling company by means of a negotiated contract for sale pursuant to Section 12-2-403(a)(4). In order to be eligible to participate under this subdivision, the electronic recycling company shall have conducted business for a period of at least one (1) year prior to participating under this section. The electronic recycling company may purchase outdated or surplus computer and electronic equipment from the state for fair market valuation of the equipment.

Perhaps the FBI ran a sting where they posed as a electronic recycling company eager to get state law changed to funnel business their way.

Tennessee is has a blogging Congressman (Rep. Stacey Campfield), who reports that the rumor at the capital is there are more arrests in progress.

Nashville blogger Bill Hobbs has more on the story.

Update: Via Michelle Malkin comes links to the grand jury indictments at Nashville's NewsChannel 5. The NewsChannel 5 link has been slipstream updated throughout the day. It turns out I was right on the money about the sting operation. The FBI established a fake company called E-Cycle Management, Inc., to run the scam.


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» Michelle Malkin linked with THE STENCH IN TENNESSEE

» Outside The Beltway linked with FBI Arrests Four Tennesse Legislators

» GOP and the City linked with Operation Tennessee Waltz

» Nashville Is Talking linked with Corruption-O-Rama

» JackLewis.net linked with Around the Blogosphere

» bennellibrothers.com linked with Some REAL scandal to chew on

Comments (14)

I'm waiting for tonight's c... (Below threshold)
a4g:

I'm waiting for tonight's coverage:

A Republican lawmaker was one of four led away in handcuffs today...

"A Republican lawmaker w... (Below threshold)
Jon:

"A Republican lawmaker was one of four led away in handcuffs today..."

That's just classic.

Here's the best bit:<... (Below threshold)

Here's the best bit:

"John Ford threatened, according to the indictment, to shoot and kill anyone who squealed!! Now, NOW, will someone take this guy’s raving lunacy seriously, instead of treating it indulgently? "

From Mike

What are you folks in TN tr... (Below threshold)
Cal Skinner:

What are you folks in TN trying to do...butt in on Illinois' record of being the most corrupt Midwest state?

It's been a long time since the FBI arrested a state legislator. I can't ever remember a sting like this one.

We have Chicago aldermen convicted all the time, but rarely state reps or senators.

a4g:you stole my thu... (Below threshold)

a4g:
you stole my thunder.

Typical stats, 3 out 4 crim... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Typical stats, 3 out 4 criminals are democrats. Once again we are shown why democrats are working so hard to get criminals, illegal aliens, and dead people to vote, especially dead people, they vote democrat 110 out of 100.

Cal:No we are trying... (Below threshold)

Cal:
No we are trying to be the most corrupt state in the southeast. Ford has been under the glass by the Nashville media for a year for other wrongdoing but nothing like this.

This has been really fun to... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

This has been really fun to follow in the blogosphere tonight with two members in the Tennessee house "reporting" the events as they happen.

The Dems in Memphis, and statewide will deserve further scrutiny, as will the US Senate campaign upcoming.

Fun.

The Repub involved should get all he has coming to him as well.

How long did they think that they could be that stupid?

Except for this quote from Bill Hobbs.com, "Agreed. Today is a great day for all Tennesseans - liberal, moderate or conservative, Republican or Democrat - who believe honesty trumps ideology every time.

I'd rather have a legislature full of honest Democrats than corrupt Republicans."

What? Or rather, WTF!?! What the F'ing, F--k?

Were they paying attention?

Harold Ford for US Senate. John will probably cut a deal in time to be able to be out on the stump for his nephew.


Mesa, I think Bill's point ... (Below threshold)

Mesa, I think Bill's point is that he'd prefer honest politicians over corrupt ones. If all the Republicans were corrupt and all the Democrats were honest, he knows how he'd vote.

And I'd have to agree with him.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, Bill was stating a hypothetical that has no chance of ever happening.

Democratic Underground is h... (Below threshold)

Democratic Underground is having problems with it. Surprised? I didn't think so. Here's my favorite quote there on this matter (among many jewels):

DUer quote: "one Repug arrested also."
Another DUer response: "Token bi-partisan gesture."

Morons.

This is John Ford's latest ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

This is John Ford's latest run-in with the law. He has at least three illegitimate children for which he avoided paying child support. He was the County Clerk for Shelby County and convinced his judge-buddies to NOT put child support requirements into any paternity finding. He told them, "I'll take care of it myself." His solution was to hire the women to high-paying jobs in his office for which they were totally unqualified.

And don't get me started on the "family business," a funeral home. They were caught there selling the same plot to multiple people, even burying two people in the same hole.

McGehee.Point take... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

McGehee.

Point taken, thanks for the clarification. A few cocktails were involved with that post.

I just hadn't had an opportunity to say "WTF!?! What the F'ing, F--k? before.

Peace.

Tennessee has a real proble... (Below threshold)
Tony:

Tennessee has a real problem where businesses, like phone companies, that are subject to state regulation seem to get very favorable treatment from regulators. I hope this investigation will lead to some inprovements.

Yesterday it was reported t... (Below threshold)

Yesterday it was reported that New Jersey's governor has rejected the following for a new state slogan"

"Most of our elected officials have not been indicted."




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