Horrible (Beth) Harwell has now rolled out yet another stunt to strengthen the power of the Establishment Republicans against conservatives.
Since she has used her powers, tools, minions and shenanigans over the last 7 years in apparent success to kill gun and other core conservative legislation (in addition to forcing through laws such as Haslam’s gas tax increase), this new pay to play mandate from her and her leadership minions may have more negative consequences for gun owners and conservatives in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Star reports that Harwell and her shadow operatives in her oligarchy of dominion have distributed a mandatory “dues” requirement both for participation in the caucus but also, significantly, as an eligibility requirement for almost every appointed and elected House chairmanship or office.
One former House member has commented that the payments have existed in the past but that perhaps there was no mandate issued with the threat of exclusion from the caucus. A former senator has stated that its “do different” in the Tennessee Senate.
According to the Star, every “Republican” who wants to participate in the House caucus is required to pay a minimum of $1000 in “dues.” “Dues” – what a quaint mafia style euphemism.
In addition, to be eligible for appointment or elected office in the House (at least if you are a Republican) it appears that an individual has to be a dues paying member of the caucus and then perhaps the highest bidder for a chairmanship, vice chairmanship, subcommittee chair, etc. It raised the interesting question of whether Horrible Harwell would even consider appointing any qualified independent or Democrat to a committee or subcommittee office unless they paid the required Republican caucus dues.
According to the Star, this shakedown scheme, uh “dues” schedule, is $1000 per caucus member plus additional payoffs, uh dues, for leadership positions is as follows:
Speaker of the House – $9,000
Deputy Speaker – $6,500
Speaker Pro Tempore – $9,000
Republican Leader – $9,000
Caucus Chairman – $9,000
Assistant Republican Leader – $5,500
Republican Whip – $5,500
Republican Floor Leader – $2,000
Assistant Floor Leader – $2,000
Caucus Vice-Chairman – $2,000
Caucus Secretary – $2,000
Caucus Treasurer – $2,000
These “Leadership dues” result in an additional $63,500 and a cumulative subtotal of Member plus Leadership dues of $137,500.
Committee Chair and Vice Chair dues, paid in addition to the $1,000 Member dues and Leadership dues for just one Member, vary by the specific Committee, broken into four tiers by some apparent level of importance or influence, as seen below:
Full Committee Chairman – $9,000 (x 1 = $9,000)
Sub-Committee Chairman – $7,000 (x 1 – $7,000)
Vice-Chairman – $4,000 (x 1 = $4,000)
(Health; Insurance & Banking)
Full Committee Chairman – $7,000 (x 2 = $14,000)
Sub-Committee Chairman – $3,000 (x 2 = $6,000)
Vice-Chairman – $2,000 (x 2 = $4,000)
(State; Transportation, Business and Utilities; Consumer and Human Resources; Civil Justice; Education Instruction and Programs; Education Administration and Planning)
Full Committee Chairman – $4,000 (x 7 = $28,000)
Sub-Committee Chairman – $3,000 (x 7 = $21,000)
Vice-Chairman – $1,000 (x 7 = $7,000)
(Agriculture and Natural Resources; Calendar and Rules; Criminal Justice; Local Government; Government Operations)
Full Committee Chairman – $3,000 (x 5 = $15,000)
Sub-Committee Chairman – $2,000 (x 5 = $10,000)
Vice-Chairman – $1,000 (x 5 = $5,000)
The “TOTAL-Contributions” are summed on the document as $267,500, which is in error, as the total is actually $271,500.
So, it appears that Horrible Harwell fully supports the idea that government power and authority is a marketable commodity and that positions of authority and control, at least in the House, are not assigned or earned based on seniority, skill, expertise or or capacity. It appears that those positions are being sold to the highest bidder with the proceeds apparently going into a slush fund or some other “tool” that she and other Establishment wiseguys, uh “leaders”, will control.
Horrible Harwell’s shakedown schedule, uh “dues”, also raises the concerning question of what might happen in the remote chance that Horrible Harwell is Tennessee’s next governor.
With Horrible Harwell as a possible future governor would she be inclined to establish a “dues” schedule for judicial appointments to the appellate courts in Tennessee – something that could adversely impact gun owners in litigation? Would she establish a “dues” schedule and premiums for her cabinet, for her appointed commissioners, for department heads and assistants – such as who has control over the Department of Safety or the Highway Patrol? What about the appointments to the Tennessee Wildlife Regulatory Commission or the Historic Commission – are those going to have perhaps $100,000 shakedown, uh “dues”, requirements if she is governor? If her conduct in the House is a prophecy, then perhaps the answer that should scare voters and conservative into a vicious revolt is “YES”!
Some may wonder if this stunt, which reportedly has existed for many years in the Senate, is the reason why so many of the wrong people (like Barry Doss, Brian Kelsey, Charles Sargent, Jon Lundberg, etc.) have been in complete control of certain key committees (look at the price list and its clear which those area). Perhaps the reason why Tennessee does not have constitutional carry is because this kind of unethical shenanigans has become the acceptable norm when you have people in leadership that lack not only a constitutional but an ethical compass.
As noted above, one former senator has already expressed the opinion that this has been happening in the Senate. It raises the question of how much, if any, did Brian Kelsey get billed or pay when Ron Ramsey put him in charge of the Senate judiciary committee which has killed gun bill after gun bill since he became chairman.
The fact is that if Tennesseans want a constitutionally principled government, constitutional carry, the elimination of gun free zones, lower taxes, to demagnetize Tennessee relative to illegal immigrants, to stop local governments creating sanctuary cities, and ethical leaders in government, then Tennesseans need to know what is going on and work to remove such horrible, misguided people from positions of leadership and make sure that none of them ever become governor.