Citizen files complaint on mayor's campaign finance records

Citizen files complaint on Knox County mayor's campaign finance records

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Pam Strickland Pam Strickland

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Freelance columnist Pam Strickland filed a sworn complaint Wednesday seeking an investigation on questionable campaign finance disclosure forms reported by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

Strickland sent the complaint to the Knox County District Attorney General's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.

Strickland, a freelance opinion columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel, filed the complaint as "a citizen of Knox County and properly registered voter."

She writes that her complaint follows several newspaper stories that raise questions "about the ethics and legalities about the campaign finance reporting by Tim Burchett during the 2010 race for Knox County mayor.

The mayor's now-estranged wife, Allison Burchett, allegedly wrote six checks to herself totaling $15,053 from his mayoral election fund that were not reported, according to a newspaper storey on June 24. It also includes a claim that Allison Burchett listed a $4,250 expense for a company that said it didn't work for the Burchett campaign.

The same article claimed a $550.45 unreported check was written to Burchett's campaign manager, Dean Rice, who is now his chief of staff.

Six days later, the newspaper reported that Mayor Burchett said he amended his campaign statement after matters were brought to his attention.

Strickland's complaint also cites an article from June 30 that claims Burchett's "household checking account shows deposits that match undisclosed checks his wife wrote in 2010 against his mayoral campaign fund."

The newspaper reported on August 2 that in a 10-month period in 2010, four PayPal donations to Burchett's campaign totaling $2,000 were not included in his finance disclosure report

The complaint includes copies of all the articles.

Strickland writes that she has "no personal stake in this matter." However, "With each story on this matter, more questions have been raised, enough so that it appears to me the matter should be fully and properly investigated so all citizens and voters of Knox County can be assured the laws have been followed."

Mayor Burchrett released this statement in response, "She has every right to file the report, but I find it very odd that it is a newspaper writer filing a complaint. However, no one wants this resolved more than I do."

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