Monday, June 1, 2015

BOE member's friend jumps the gun; solicits campaign funds too early

Karen Carson
Seems that in the past couple of days, a lot of folks spent some time talking about an email sent out by a former school board member, hoping to raise campaign coin for a current school board member who wants to run for a state seat.

Me? I spent my time watching Mick and Keith tear up Ohio Stadium. And it was awesome. Heh.

Anyhoo, there’s the deal:

Knox County school board member Karen Carson plans to run for the 14th District state House seat that was recently vacated by Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville. More than likely the primary will be held on Aug. 12 with the general election on Sept. 29.

(Don’t hold me to it, but for what it’s worth, I believe Carson once told me she is Republican.)

Now, here’s the problem:

Diane Jablonski, a former school board member who also sat on the county’s charter review committee, sent an email out on Friday evening to a number of folks, soliciting campaign dollars for Carson’s eventual campaign. (And, yes, for those asking, Superintendent Jim McIntyre was copied on the email although that shouldn’t mean anything one way or the other.)

This is the email:
My friend, Karen Carson has decided to run for the vacant state representative seat, previously held by Ryan Haynes, This will be a very short campaign and Karen needs our help now. Karen has served our district with excellence as the 5th district School Board representative. She has been Board chair and as such represented the entire county. She is also an emergency room nurse at Children's hospital and I cannot think of anyone would rather have attending to my child. Her knowledge of a broad scope of state issues is beyond most other candidates. I implore you to support her efforts by sending a campaign donation to Karen Carson for State Representative. Please be generous, your donation of $100, $200, $500, or $1,000 can make a huge difference to our area. Karen is still in the process of establishing her campaign; but you can send your donation to me and I will make sure that her campaign gets it!
Jablonski in the past has served as Carson’s campaign treasurer when she ran for her school board seat. However, Carson as of Monday night had not officially appointed a treasurer for a state seat nor had she filed the paperwork.

That means no one at this point should be soliciting money on behalf of Carson.

I talked with Drew Rawlins, the executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.

Here’s what he said, though, about it:
“You’re supposed to file an ‘appointment of treasurer’ with our office before you raise money. A person shouldn’t be raising money for someone else to run unless that person has appointed a treasurer. Someone should be appointed as a treasurer before someone raises money.”
He also said a candidate can be assessed a fine up to $10,000 for failing to appoint a treasurer.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves here – no one is getting fined $10,000. Or even $1,000. Or even $1.

Here’s what Carson, who said she was not aware of the email, told me:
“I will say at this point, I have told anybody I’m talking to that I’m seriously considering a run for that seat, but I am absolutely aware that I can’t take a penny until I have a treasurer and it’s filed with the state election commission.”
She also noted that she can’t run for a race until there’s an open seat. (Technically, there’s no election until the governor issues a “writ of election,” ordering one.)

She also said that she hasn’t directed anyone to solicit money “or taken a penny,” and that she’s “very aware of the finance laws.”

So, that leaves us with Jablonski. I reached out to her Monday night (and by the way folks, I’m not even supposed be working).

I asked her about the matter.

Here’s what she had to say:
“Mike I just was so excited about the prospect of Karen running that I totally jumped the gun by sending the e-mail. Karen had no knowledge of the email that I sent. I have resent to my contacts telling them that I had no permission to send the email and that any consideration of support for her run for the seat should wait until she has formally announced and named her treasurer. This is totally an error on my part as Karen had no knowledge of my attempts on her behalf. I have not raised any money thus far, and if I do receive any funds they will be returned with a letter of apology.”
So, there ya go.

Now, all that said, this is going to be one interesting one. There’s not a lot of time to campaign between now and the primary and this race will be the only one on the ballot. And I seriously doubt a lot of people will be hitting the ballot boxes come (special) Election Day.

Of course, I’ll let you know when we have the candidates on Inside Tennessee.

I’m out.

1 comment:

jeffcrippen said...

I certainly hope someone, anyone else runs for this seat. Ms. Carson has shown over and over that she would raise taxes at every opportunity. She is certainly not the type of republican I want in office. A patron of Dr. McIntyre hopefully cannot get elected to anything again.