Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More details, questions on the THP scandal

Early this morning, Mr. Kleinheider displayed his prophetic gifts in quipping that "This is Gonna Get Exciting If There Are Journalists On The List." It turns out he is right.

According to WSMV, "The department won't release the names of those individuals on the list, but[Patrol Colonel Mike] Walker said it included two journalists and one country music personality." The list doesn't include elected officials, though. [Update: I originally said it doesn't include candidates. Actually, that possibility hasn't been ruled out.]

Meanwhile, Republican House candidate A.J. McCall, who is running against Democrat Stratton Bone, came forward and told Clint Brewer that his records from the early 90s were provided to House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower and Rep. Clen Casada.

Other than timing, the incidents may not be related since McCall notes that "the records of his arrests, though expunged, have been used against him repeatedly in the last year in political activity. McCall said numerous automated 'robo' calls and at least one negative 'push' poll conducted in the 46th District have brought up the two DUI charges to voters." McCall admits that he doesn't know who conducted the robo calls or the push poll. And Mumpower has also said that a direct link between the incidents has not been established.

But given the timing, Mumpower's hunch is justified until it is established who is pushing the information about McCall. So far, there is no indication that the public will soon know who is on the list. That means that questions will linger and flare up through November. In themselves, these invasive background checks are scandalous. But they are detrimental in their effects as well. With so little coverage of legislative races, this may be the only issue that stands out. And that will have the unfortunate effect of drowning out the policy differences among candidates.

There is no word yet on whether we will see independent investigations of these events.

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