Skip to comments.OP TN WALTZ: DeBerry gives up her seat on ethics
Posted on 07/29/2005 3:36:53 AM PDT by GailA
Maintains innocence, but doesn't want to be distraction
NASHVILLE -- House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry of Memphis resigned Thursday from the legislative committee examining ethics reform, two days after admitting she accepted $200 from an undercover FBI agent at a Tunica casino last year.
DeBerry, a 33-year House member, said she has "done nothing that I believe to be wrong, illegal or immoral" but stepped down from the panel because her presence could be a distraction from the committee's "important work of restoring faith in our system."
DeBerry co-chaired the 12-member House-Senate committee since its creation last month. It has met once, to organize its study of the state's governmental ethics laws and what improvements are needed, but has several more meetings scheduled.
Later Thursday, Rep. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, asked the separate House Ethics Committee to review the matter and make a recommendation to the full House. He said her actions "seem to violate" state law banning gifts to lawmakers from lobbyists or companies that employ lobbyists.
Speaker Jimmy Naifeh appointed Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, to replace DeBerry on the special joint committee. During the April debate on the major ethics bill approved this year -- prohibiting state and local officials from paid consulting with businesses doing or seeking to do business with the government they represent -- Shaw condemned the bill as "bad legislation" and assailed the media for focusing on ethics issues.
DeBerry confirmed Tuesday in an interview with The Commercial Appeal that she rode to a Tunica casino with a man she knew as "L.C.," and state Sen. Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis, to celebrate the lawmakers' birthdays in early May. It turned out that "L.C." was an undercover FBI agent posing as an executive of the fake E-Cycle Management.
At the casino, he handed her about $200 while she stood at a slot machine and said "here's a birthday gift to play with," DeBerry recalled.
DeBerry has not been charged with any crime, and is still the second-ranking member of the House.
In an interview Thursday, DeBerry reiterated that she never discussed any legislation with "L.C." and said she was not aware his company was interested in legislation.
The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville reported Thursday that her admission was a reversal of remarks she made in an unpublished July 13 interview in which she said she took no money from E-Cycle representatives. "No, no. I mean, cash would have been a red flag anyway. And you learn from other people that have gone through this kind of stuff and you know that anytime somebody offers you cash, that a red flag that should have gone up," the newspaper quoted her as saying.
The executive director of the state Registry of Election Finance said the agency's board likely will consider a complaint against DeBerry at its Aug. 10 meeting. Drew Rawlins said that while citizen Barry Schmittou's complaint against DeBerry about the Tunica trip raises troublesome questions, he doesn't think she violated the letter of the law because E-Cycle had no registered lobbyists.
In her words
Here's what state Rep. Lois DeBerrry said Thursday about her trip to a Tunica casino in May 2004:
"I went down at the invitation of Rep. Bowers (then a state representative). He ("L.C.") was not even in the invitation. He never called me and asked me to go. I went only at the request of Rep. Bowers. I guess she considered him as a friend.
"I never knew that they ("L.C" or E-Cycle Management) had any interest in legislation up here. I thought they were just bringing a new company, or were trying to introduce a new company into Tennessee. I've never been contacted by him or anybody else with E-Cycle as (far as) I know today.
"The only conversation that I remember talking to him about (at a reception, prior to the Tunica visit) was when he was trying to introduce his company. I asked him what he did before he got interested in this. He said, 'I was a musician.' ... That's the kind of conversation we had. We didn't have a conversation about what they were trying to do."
Chattanooga lawmaker to be tried here
By Chris Conley
July 29, 2005
An East Tennessee lawmaker charged in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz investigation will be tried in Memphis, a federal judge says.
State Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, and accused bag man Charles Love, a Chattanooga lobbyist, are charged with soliciting $12,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as representatives of E-Cycle, a front company set up to smoke out corruption in the legislature.
Crutchfield's attorneys had asked U.S. Dist. Judge J. Daniel Breen to move their client's case to his home turf -- or to dismiss the indictment -- arguing it was brought in the wrong district.
In a written ruling filed Wednesday, Breen said no.
"Specifically, the indictment alleges that money to pay Crutchfield for supporting the bill on behalf of E-Cycle was wired from this district" and that Crutchfield knew where the money was coming from, Breen wrote.
"Criminal defendants have no constitutional right to have a trial in their home districts," he wrote.
Transferring the case wouldn't serve the interests of justice, Breen concluded.
Crutchfield is to appear before Breen Aug. 25.
DeBerry resigns as ethics leader
Rep. Brian Kelsey's ethics complaint against Lois DeBerry
Crutchfield fails to get indictment dismissed
Thanks for this heartwarming piece.
Methinks more heads will roll.
I guess that is why Jimmy was to upset yesterday that he ran a stop sign and if I hadn't had great response time and good brakes, he would have been in my drivers seat .
Was this in Nashville, or are you unfortunate enough to be one of his constituents?
Local!!!! They live just down the road.
You need to move to this side of the state! ;>)
But then again Boss Hogg thinks he and his fellow RATS are above the law.
I noticed not one peep out of the RATS for their crooks to resign, but the GOP almost immediately asked chris newton to resign from the House. And IF it were reversed and the GOP were the main players the RATS would be howling for resginations to the high heavens.
NOT a PEEP out of the MSM like The Commie Appeal, The Bredesean aka The Tennessean, along with the TV stations. There wouldn't be enough ink and paper for them to accomplish their howling for the GOP lawmakers to resign.
We would, but the grandkids have us locked in.
How sweet it would be if the feds are saving the really big fish -- Jimmy -- for last. Might explain his being distracted from his driving.
I must remember to tune into Fleming, this afternoon. He does a good job of stirring as long as one of the perps is not a guest on his program. He folds up like a cheap piece of luggage when he has King Willie, Cleo Kirk, or any of the other slime buckets as a guest.
The TN Waltz case is gonna get better.
However, the best political corruption story was the Arizona case----when conniving pols willingly got sucked into the trap to rig the legislative system for money .....all caught on tape. It was all recorded in a hiliarious book: "What's in It for Me?"
When it broke early in 1991, the scandal resulting from the government sting known as AzScam exposed the sewer of corruption and blind ambition that is Arizona politics. What's in It for Me? is the astonishing, often hilarious inside story of what AzScam revealed and how it worked, chronicled by the remarkable man who made it work.
Working with the Phoenix District Attorney's office, JOSEPH STEDINO set up Operation "Desert Sting." Stedino, a gruffly suave ex-Mafia crony and Las Vegas talk show host, became Tony Vincent, a flashy, freespending Mafia capo looking to ensure the passage of a bill to legalize gambling in Arizona.
As word of Vincent's willingness to buy votes spread among Arizona politicians, they eagerly lined up to have him
grease their palms. Some he bought for as little as $600. Others, like Representative Don Kenney, the conservative Mormon chairman of the Arizona House Judiciary Committee, exacted over $50,000 in bribes. Over seventeen months, Vincent doled out a total of more than $300,000 in bribes, while police and prosecutors recorded it all on tape, ensuring that this sting would be one of the most successful ever.
Ultimately, twenty legislators, lobbyists, and political insiders would be indicted as a result of Desert Sting. What's in It for Me? offers a panoramic view of every conceivable type of political chicanery. In these pages we witness:
legislators jockeying for the seats that will give them the most revealing views of their female colleagues
a lobbyist requesting that Vincent rub out a competing lobbyist
a former sheriff offering his services as a hit man
lobbyists peddling "studies" whose results are tailored to
clients' specifications by members of the Arizona State University faculty
and countless more examples of how politics in Arizona -- and the rest of this country -- really works.
One 35-ish female pol was caught on tape saying---unasked--- that she was sexually attracted to young boys.
Picking up where the national headlines left off, What's in It for Me?; is true crime on a colossal scale, a taut, funny, and endlessly fascinating tale of shameless villainy Western-style.
You have noticed that too. Sometimes I can hardly stand to listen to Mike.
I would bet the farm that Jimmy is in there somewhere, or at least his wife.
I note that no mention of party affiliation is given by Richard Locker in this article...meaning that both he and the crooked pol are Dems, of course.
Hmm....I notice somethingh missing from the lead on the article...maybe I can act as "Editor-at-Large" and make the correction...
NASHVILLE -- House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry (D) of Memphis resigned Thursday from the legislative committee examining ethics reform, two days after admitting she accepted $200 from an undercover FBI agent at a Tunica casino last year.
There, now THAT'S "Fair and Balanced"! See, had it been an (R), that would have been in the headline, and EVERY line of the story!
Maybe Jimmy offered up his wife to do, ahem, favors in exchange for campaign donations?
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