Since the infamous ESA tie when Speaker Casada held the tally until someone switched their vote, Republicans have been coming forward to verify allegations of heavy handed leadership in the state legislature. GOP Representative Jason Zachary, who shall forever be known as the Farragut Flipper, recently corroborated Democrat Rep. Gloria Johnson's suspicions of being under surveillance by leadership "spies" in the legislature.
Republicans have also confirmed a “kill list” was circulated by Rep. Matthew Hill who, of all things, chairs the House Ethics Committee. Hill sent the list to committee chairs in an effort to control which bills died in committee. His fellow East Tennessee legislators, David Hawk and Jeremy Faison allege that certain representatives were targeted by the kill list. This means that bill sponsors who fell out of favor with leadership in the legislature were blocked from getting their bills passed.
Recently, Momma Bears was contacted by a longtime reader who spilled some tea. This person told us that the Governor himself engaged in similar threats and relayed a narrative of how specially-elected Sen. Bill Powers of Clarksville came to be sworn into office—just in time to cast his vote in favor of ESA vouchers.
Sen. Powers' vote in favor of ESAs shocked his constituents because just days before he won his election, he was campaigning against school vouchers. When asked why he changed his vote, Powers offered little explanation to visiting constituents except to tell them that he is a long-time supporter of public education and sits on the board of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation. He then asked them for understanding as he compared being in the state senate to drinking water out of a fire hose.
Then a few weeks later, we received a message that filled in the gaps. Based on the events relayed to us, we would say that what Sen. Powers described as drinking out of a fire hose is more like being waterboarded by Gov. Bull-Lee.
On April 23, Republican Bill Powers, with 52% of the vote, beat Democrat candidate, Juanita Charles in a special election called to fill the vacancy created when Mark Green was elected to the U.S. Congress in November. Powers was scheduled to be sworn into office on Monday, April 29. But our source tells us that Powers received an unexpected phone call from the Governor informing him that the Tennessee Highway Patrol was being dispatched to pick him up and deliver him to the State Capitol.
Hmmmm, talk about an abuse of power (pun intended)….
When newly elected Bill Powers arrived for the unexpected meeting with the Governor on April 25, four days before his scheduled swearing-in ceremony, he discovered that the Governor had made arrangements for him to be sworn in right then and there. Powers, who had hoped to avoid the ESA vote, was suddenly being sworn into office immediately before the senate session. Not so coincidentally, the ESA Voucher bill was on the agenda. And Powers was “strong armed,” according to our source, into voting yes.
After he was sworn-in, the Governor told Powers that he better vote in favor of the ESA voucher bill if he ever expected to receive any funding for the counties in his district. Bull-Lee told Powers if he voted against the ESA voucher bill that his district would not receive a dime as long as Powers was in office.
Now, we can’t confirm this narrative as true. But in light of all the allegations being made and the investigations taking place, we believe it’s safe to say—the truth will come out.