House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower has joined Majority Leader Gary Odom in calling for an "outside investigation" into the background checks conducted by a member of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
In the piece written by the Tennessean's Brad Schrade, Mumpower also reveals a chilling incident that happened a few weeks ago:
Mumpower said his concerns are compounded by a mysterious incident a month and a half ago at his legislative office at the Capitol complex.
The Bristol Republican said an envelope appeared overnight in his locked office containing photocopies of THP arrest records involving a Republican candidate for state House. The arrest had happened years ago, and did not result in a conviction.
Mumpower would not identify the candidate, but said the episode smelled of political dirty tricks.
“Intimidation is the only thing I can think of,” Mumpower said, who said THP officers who work at the Capitol have keys to the legislative offices, as do cleaning personnel and some staff members.
Toward the end of the piece, the word "fake" shows up again in reference to the disciplinary action against the trooper in question, along with a reminder that the administration still hasn't answered some of the lingering questions around the ticket fixing incident from a few years ago:
When the ticket-fixing became public, the patrol leadership at the time concocted a fake punishment for Shirley, The Tennessean later reported. Why Shirley was given a break has never fully been answered by the Bredesen administration.
This scandal is extremely discouraging. Coming on the heels of one of the more partisan legislative sessions, it will no doubt fan the flames. Leaders of both parties know what is at stake and are to be commended for calling for a thorough, independent, and public investigation. The other bright spot is some tenacious reporting by the Tennessean. Their staff cuts and other issues are bound to be a distraction these days, but don't count them out yet.