Saturday, August 27, 2005
I think that Boss Ramsey calling for the federal investigation of Senator Ford (a black former state senator from Memphis, in part for his spending part his campaign funds for a personal expenditure --- paying for his daughter's wedding) is a extremely good example of "the kettle calling the pot black" that is demonstrating a strong racial bias of the part of the federal and state investigators...feel free to use that observation if it rings true for you.
Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and accounting practices of various federal agencies (such as the Internal Revenue Service) define non-monetary assets ---such as the two "campaign" cars purchased by Tennessee State Senator Ron Ramsey) --- much differently from the definition of expenses pertaining to the use of campaign funds as cited within T.C.A § 2-10-114(7)(b).
In a basic accounting interpretation of the campaign finance laws in Tennessee, campaign expenses would simply cover the costs consumed (e.g. gasoline expense, automotive repair expense, motor vehicle rental expense, etc.) in the "...process of producing revenue", that is to say, generating campaign dollars for the re-election of Ramsey.
As I read it, Ramsey tripped up with state law (never mind senate ethics) by attempting to rationalize his purchase of his two personal automobiles ("legislative cars") with his campaign funds by acquiring these two motor vehicles under the guise of a T.C.A. § 2-10-102 (6)(A)(B) chapter definition of expenditure.
And perhaps unfortunately for Boss Ramsey, the Tennessee senate majority leader missed one important phrase that seemingly negates his legal use of campaign funds to purchase a set of campaign cars: as used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 2-10-102. Chapter definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(6)(A)"Expenditure" means a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing a measure or the nomination for election or election of any person to public office;
(B) "Expenditure" also includes the use of campaign funds by an officeholder for the furtherance of the office of the officeholder;
In my estimation, it is the following section of state law that actually cites the pertinent legal use of campaign funds (and more specially, campaign expenses) in Tennessee --- T.C.A § 2-10-114(a)(7) and § 2-10-114< both define the letter of Tennessee state law with regard to "...any ordinary and necessary expenses", all without any provision by state law allowing politicians to acquire non-monetary assets with campaign funds:
Tennessee Code Annotated § 2-10-114.
Campaign funds - Allocation of unexpended contributions - Use of funds.
(a) Any candidate for public office in this state with an unexpended balance of contributions after the election shall elect one (1) or a combination of the following for allocation of such funds within sixty (60) days of such election:
(7) The funds may be used to defray any ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the office of the officeholder. Such expenses may include, but are not limited to, the cost of advertisements, membership fees, and donations to community causes.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (a), no candidate for public office shall use any campaign funds either prior to, during or after an election for such candidate's own personal financial benefit or any other nonpolitical purpose as defined by federal internal revenue code. A violation of this subsection (b) is a Class 2 offense as defined in § 2-10-110(a)(2).