Mayor to answer state registry on campaign finance questions

Mayor Tim Burchett to answer state registry on campaign finance questions

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Mayor Tim Burchett Mayor Tim Burchett

6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE  (WATE) - The state Registry of Election Finance voted Wednesday morning to issue a show cause letter to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett over irregularities in his campaign disclosure forms.

Mayor Burchett must appear before the registry on October 23 to explain more about the finances in his 2010 election campaign. The registry vote was 4-1.

Freelance columnist Pam Strickland filed a sworn complaint in August seeking an investigation on the disclosure forms reported by the mayor.

She 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, wrote that her complaint followed several newspaper stories that raise questions "about the ethics and legalities" of Burchett's campaign finance reporting.

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 story 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 mayor said Wednesday he'll be ready to lay out where the campaign money went, and he's confident the registry's questions will be resolved.

"Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this more than I do and I think most people are aware of what's going on and what led up to this," Burchett said. "So I'm anxious to get it resolved, and I look forward to working with the committee in Nashville to get it resolved because that's exactly what a show cause is."

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