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VOL. 40 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 12, 2016

Registry finds $190K discrepancy in Durham campaign finances

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Campaign finance documents indicate a more than $190,000 discrepancy between state Rep. Jeremy Durham's bank records and his re-election account.

Bank records show that the Franklin Republican's campaign account had a balance of less than $7,000 even as his financial disclosure with the state said he had almost $200,000 on hand, The Tennessean reported (http://tnne.ws/2blk52z).

Durham lost the Republican primary earlier this month after suspending his campaign in the wake of a state attorney general's report detailing allegations of improper sexual interactions with 22 women. Durham has denied most of those allegations.

A Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance memo says Durham created a $30,000 line of credit for himself from his campaign account, which was also the source of other loans and investments to entities listed in the memo only as "Company A," ''Individual B" and "Company C."

The memo says the investme nts were all made with campaign funds and none of the transactions are listed in Durham's campaign finance disclosures.

"At this time a determination cannot be made as to the accuracy of Rep. Durham's campaign balance due to investments, failure to report contributions and other transactions," according to the memo.

Tom Lawless, the Republican-appointed chairman of the campaign finance registry, said the memo raises questions.

"There are indications there may be some serious violations, and we want to garner the facts so we can take the appropriate remedies," Lawless said.

Durham's attorney, Bill Harbison, did not immediately respond to the newspapers request for comment.

The registry's investigation originated from state Attorney General Herbert Slatery's sexual harassment probe. Benton Smith, a former campaign worker and legislative aide to Durham, had made a signed statement to investigators alleging that Durham used campaign funds for his pri vate business.

Durham at the time dismissed Smith's allegations as coming from a disgruntled former employee.

In response to a subpoena from the campaign fiance registry, Durham provided bank statements, canceled checks and credit card statements. But he did not include receipts or invoices for his expenditures.

Campaign fiance guidelines require candidates to keep copies of all checks, bank statements and receipts for two years following an election.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0