You are on page 1of 19
STATE OF TENNESSEE » BUREAU OF ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE REGISTRY OF ELECTION FINANCE 404 JAMES ROBERTSON PARKWAY, SUITE 104 NASHVILLE, TN 37243-1360 (615) 741-7959 BOARD MEMBERS Fax: (615) 532-8905 executive pikecroR Kent Comm Nereis Pavia Heim, Nashville “Ton Morton, stl May 27, 2015, Williamson Strong Susan Curlee Re: Complaint of Susan Curlee, No. 15-01 Ladies: Enclosed is a copy of the order assessing Class 2 civil penalties totaling five thousand dollars ($5,000) against WilliamsonStrong. ‘The order sets forth the appeal rights available to an aggrieved party. These reflect the requirements of the Tennessee Administrative Procedures Act, T.C.A. §§ 4-5-101 et seq, Please let us know should you have any questions. Campaign Finance cc: Ben Gastel Branstetter, Stranch, & Jennings 227 Fourth Avenue North, Fourth Floor Nashville, Tennessee 37201-1631 BEFORE THE TENNESSEE REGISTRY OF ELECTION FINANCE Inte: Complaint of Susan Curlee No. C-15-01 ORDER ASSESSING CIVIL PENALTIES This matter came before the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (‘the Registry’) on May 13, 2015 in connection with a sworn complaint filed by Susan Curlee against Williamson Strong, an unincorporated association doing business in Williamson County, Tennessee. FINDINGS OF FACT 1. Ms. Curlee filed this complaint with the Registry on December 14, 2014. Ms. Curlee alleges that Williamson Strong made expenditures to support or oppose candidates running for the Williamson County School Board in the August 7, 2014 general election. She further alleges that Williamson Strong is a multi-candidate political campaign committee that has failed to file an appointment of political treasurer with the Williamson County Election Commission or the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance and has failed to make the required reports of expenditures. 2. Williamson Strong is an unincorporated association that was formally launched in June, 2014. Its principals at the time of its organization were Jennifer Smith, Jim Cheney, Susan Drury, and Sarah Bernard. Susan Drury ceased to be a principal on or about July 14, 2014, and she was replaced by Kim Henke. The Registry finds that Williamson Strong is the alter ego of its principals. 3. The Registry finds that Williamson Strong acting by itself or through its principals Jennifer Smith, Jim Cheney, Susan Drury, Sarah Berard, and Kim Henke supported or opposed candidates for public office and is thus a multi-candidate political campaign committee. a. Jennifer Smith sent an e-mail to Williamson County Superintendent of Schools Mike Looney and Williamson County School Board member Rick Wimberly on May 30, 2014. The e-mail included a list of all persons running in the August 7, 2014 general election for Williamson County School Board together with her recommendations as to whether certain candidates should be elected or re- elected. She asked Looney and Wimberly for their comments and feedback which they gave. The Registry finds that this statement made by one of Williamson Strong's principals was on its behalf and demonstrates intent by the organization to support or oppose candidates for public office. On June 16, 2014 Jennifer Smith sent an e-mail to School Board candidates Eric Welch, Melody Morris, Pat Anderson, and Vicki Vogt. These were the candidates whom Smith, Looney, and Wimberly had approved in the May 30, 2014 e-mail exchange. Susan Drury, Jim Cheney, and Sarah Bernard were copied. In this e-mail Smith stated: “Susan Drury (a fellow Hillsboro and Independence HS parent) and | are part of Williamson Strong, a pro education group that is hoping to have its grand launch this week to help stifle some of the political playground and antics that this upcoming election is becoming. It is our belief that you as current school board members and one new candidate should remain in/be elected into office to preserve and support our school system.” “| have attached a link to our webpage to, it's not available to the general public and is still a work in progress, but | wanted to let you know that we are a legit group in organizing mode with Dr. Looney's blessing.” "| know that this is late notice, but the election is drawing near and time to unite is crucial.” “Susan has some time to meet Wednesday [June 18] after 4. It would be wonderful to have us meet as one group and get a good understanding of everyone's biggest issues and message.” Vicki Vogt responded a few hours later: “| am interested in your help. | will call you tomorrow. Thank you for creating a vehicle for response to the small, but vocal, opposition. It is needed.” The Registry finds that this statement was made by one of Williamson Strong's principals on its behalf and was in support of candidates for public office, to wit Eric Welch, Melody Morris, Pat Anderson, and Vicki Vogt. . It is unclear when Williamson Strong's website went live. In spite of the statement made in the June 16 e-mail, there were posts to the website at the time of the May, 2014 primary election. The website originally stated that the organization's purpose was “,. . to support those political and civic leaders who believe in Williamson County Schools. Williamson Strong is committed to building awareness among Williamson County voters about factual information as it relates to the future of education in our community.” At some time prior to April 3, 2015 Williamson Strong edited this statement to remove any reference to “political or civic leaders.” The Registry finds that this statement on the Williamson Strong website demonstrates intent by the organization to support or oppose candidates for public office. On June 19, 2014 — three days after Smith's e-mail sent to the selected candidates — Smith obtained a highly targeted voter registration list from the Williamson County Election Commission. The request focused on presidential primaries and local elections. These voters are the most likely voters in a low turnout election such as the August, 2014 school board election. The Registry finds that this action by one of Williamson Strong's principals demonstrates intent by the organization to support or oppose candidates for public office. On June 24, 2014 Williamson Strong issued the following press release: “An Open Letter to Wil mson County” “Members of the News Media, Elected Officials, and General Public.” “Williamson County Schools play a vital role in the well-being of this community. Here is a short list of accomplishments and stand-outs:” © “They educate our children to the highest level in the State.” “They are a magnet for economic development and business growth.” * “They foster a sense of community and belonging.” * “They excel at athletics, music, drama, art, and community service.” * “They attract highly qualified educators and administrators.” © “They offer programs that introduce children to career paths and networking opportunities.” + “They engage with parents to address challenges and celebrate victories.” * “They fight for practical, evidence based solutions on issues impacting our schools.” © “They lead in the pursuit of excellence.” “Despite that positive influence that our schools have on our community, there is a small but vocal contingent of Williamson residents who want to dramatically overhaul the Williamson County Schools. They are forcing a debate that cannot be resolved at the county level and they are placing blame on school officials and board members who have no control over the issues they are protesting.” “We are concerned.” “We believe Williamson County Schools are an extremely strong asset in this community. We think our schools are on the right path, and we want to support and strengthen public education in our county. Not surprisingly, we want to make sure that the priorities of local elected officials reflect these values as well.” “To this end, we have formed a parent organization called Williamson Strong. Our mission is to educate, inform, and encourage our community to vote in favors of our schools.” “Through this letter, we are asking people to head to the polls on August 7. Not in response to hot button issues and political rhetoric, but in support of a school system that works in support of our community year-round.” “Now is not the time to be passive. Now is the time to be Strong.” The Registry finds that this statement made by Williamson Strong demonstrates intent by the organization to support or oppose candidates for public office. On July 2, 2014 Smith posted a comment on the Williamson Strong Facebook page entitled “A message from Williamson Political Action Committee for Education (W-PACE)." The message explicitly recommended that Melody Morris, Pat Anderson, Eric Welch, and Vicki Vogt be elected in the August, 2014 school board election. The Registry finds that this statement made by one of Williamson Strong's principals was on its behalf and is a statement in support of candidates for public office. This comment was deleted from Williamson Strong’s Facebook timeline at some time subsequent to February 27, 2015. On July 14, 2014 Kim Henke sent the following e-mail to twenty-five individuals: “If you are a supporter of strong Public Schools in Williamson County, | urge you to get out and vote on August 7 or during early voting 7/18 - 8/2. Don't assume that the school board candidates are pro-public schools. The school board is non-partisan, but several candidates have an extreme political agenda. School board members are elected by voting districts but strive to serve every child in the school system. Don’t be complacent. Make sure we elect people who will serve our public school children, teachers, and staff, and have their best interests at heart.” “| encourage voters to read about the achievements and accolades Williamson County Schools have received. Do you think we're on the right track? As a friend and parent activist in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools said, ‘Williamson County has some of the best schools in the country. It is why [people move there. Why would people elect politicians to take that down?’ If you believe that successful public schools are vital to our community and our economy, vote to continue the progress WCS has made, not destroy it.” “There are three candidates running for the District 2 position vacated by Janet Mills. | highly recommend Melody Morris. | am so impressed with how much she's gotten out into the community meeting with families, principals, teachers, our current school board, and WCS staff. In addition to demonstrating her dedication to our public schools through loyal PTO leadership and volunteerism at Independence High School, she’s made a concerted effort to understand what a position on the school board truly entails. It's so much more than fighting about Common Core standards. | encourage you to like her Facebook page, Melody Morris — Candidate for District 2 School Board. If you have questions, please reach out to Melody at (615) 400-2935. If you would be willing to put a sign in your yard, I'm sure that she'd be more than happy to oblige.” “You have friends all over Williamson County. The even numbers are up for election, but Districts 4 and 6 are unopposed. Please read the candidate profiles in the Williamson Herald and The Tennessean, Read about the 7/10 School Board Candidate Forum. Read Victoria Jackson's endorsement of Dr. Beth Burgos, Eric Welch’s opponent. Feel free to share my e-mail with your friends and encourage them to visit Williamson Strong and like their Facebook page. It is a grassroots organization whose purpose is to support community leaders who believe in Williamson County Schools. It is non-partisan.” “| fully support 637 member W-PACE's recommendations below. [This was attached to the e-mail and was the same document that Smith posted on Facebook on July 2). Our incumbents — Eric Welch, Pat Anderson, and Vicki Vogt ~ have done a superb job, and Melody is running for school board for all the right reasons. Outgoing incumbent Janice Mills endorsed Melody stating, ‘Melody's focus appears to be on making best interest, data driven decisions without personal or political bias.” The Registry finds that this statement made by one of Williamson Strong's principals was on its behalf and was made in support of a candidate for public office, to wit, Melody Morris. On July 17, 2014 Williamson Strong made a post on its Facebook page stating, among other things, that: “We have come together because of concerns about some of the candidates and their backers. We are proud of our schools and the direction they are headed. All of the candidates running for School Board are Republicans. This isn't partisan politics. This about picking candidates who will best continue our County on a path of prosperity, vitality and desirability.” The Registry finds that this is a statement by Williamson Strong in opposition to candidates for public office, to wit Beth Burgos, Dan Cash, Candace Emerson, and Susan Curlee. On July 22, 2104 Williamson Strong posted an "Open Letter to Williamson County Teachers” on its website: “Dear Williamson County Teachers,” “On behalf of Williamson Strong, a grassroots, parent-driven organization mobilized in support of our county's public school system, we are writing for two reasons.” “The first is to thank you for the job that you do year-round to provide an excellent education for our children. As you know, we are fortunate to have a school district that believes in proactively teaching our kids on a broad spectrum of topics. That is hard work and you collectively and consistently deliver. We want you to know that this does not go unnoticed and we applaud your efforts.” “The second reason for reaching out is to make you aware of the upcoming elections on August 7. In this election, there are several candidates who are running on a platform that openly suggests that Williamson County Schools are not being operated in the best interest of our children’s education. We adamantly disagree with this position, but more importantly believe that the issues in contention — such as Common Core Standards — do not reflect decision making at a local level, and thereby constitute a political agenda.” “In essence, this contingent of candidates is laying blame at the doorstep of WCS and its leadership.” “As front line advocates in public education, you recognize that there is no silver bullet for defining a curriculum that will satisfy every parent's perspective. What you also recognize is that your role in defining that curriculum holds more validity than any other audience.” “In closing, we ask that you become educated on the candidates who are running for the governing body of our school system. Learn what they stand for and what they represent. As an organization, we have specific endorsements in place, and while we are not seeking your vote for those we feel best represent public education, we are seeking your voice and involvement.” “The outcome of this election will either push WCS in a direction that is based on positive and constructive communication or it will push it into a forum of distraction and negativity. We are seeking your involvement at the polls to ensure the former.” “Please vote.” “Thank you again for your service and dedication.” “Williamson Strong” The Registry finds that this is a statement by Williamson Strong in support of or in opposition to candidates for public office, and that the “specific endorsements” referenced reflect the endorsements made by Jennifer Smith on July 2, 2014 and Kim Henke on July 14, 2014. On July 28, 2014 Williamson Strong made a Facebook post regarding the absence of Beth Burgos, Dan Cash, Candace Emerson, and Susan Curlee at a candidate forum: “Why are candidates backing out of the School Board Forum tonight sponsored by the local press? Why wouldn't they want to communicate their views directly to the voters?” The Registry finds that this is a statement by Williamson Strong in opposition to candidates for public office, to wit Beth Burgos, Dan Cash, .Candace Emerson, and Susan Curlee. . On July 31, 2014 Sarah Evans Bernhard made a post in Williamson Strong’s name on the organization's Facebook page: "Your home value may be as much as 40% higher than in other Tennessee counties because of Williamson County Schools.” ‘Williamson Strong plotted the latest district performance as measured by the 2014 TCAP against median home values for each county in Tennessee and found that Williamson County is not only high performing but exceptional.” [Information regarding statistical analysis omitted]. “The median home value in Williamson County is $343,500. If Williamson County performed at the level of the second highest performing district in the area, the median home value would be $245,357, almost $100,000 less.” “The stakes really are this high. Homeowners should carefully consider whether their chosen candidates are the right people to keep WCS performance the best in the state.” This post was removed at an unknown date from Williamson Strong's Facebook timeline. The Registry finds that this is a statement by Williamson Strong in opposition to candidates for public office, to wit Beth Burgos, Dan Cash, .Candace Emerson, and Susan Curlee On August 4, 2014 Williamson Strong posted a lengthy article on its website about Glenn Beck's 912 Project and its relation to the upcoming School Board elections: ‘The 912 Project and the School Board’ “If we take the Board this time, we'll know that our work has been worth it."—-912 TN Project Founder and President.” “We are deeply concerned that a very polarizing political movement (the 912 Project) has taken such a strong interest in Williamson County Schools. Their agenda is very aggressive and in many ways is a complete disconnect from the mission of a county school board. What follows is Williamson Strong’s understanding of the 912 project and what we believe constitutes a strategy to introduce hot button political topics into a dialogue that should be centered on education and the continued success of Williamson County Schools.” “What is the 912 Project?” “The 912 Project was started by Glenn Beck in 2009 and remains tied to Beck. The 912 Project is also closely related to several other Tea Party Groups, most notably a group called FreedomWorks (more on them below). 912ers and Beck use the term “we surround them” to indicate their power or potential power. The TN chapter of the 912 Project says they are “committed to the late 18th century American values of equal application of the law for all men with privilege for none.” (We note that late 18th century America did not actually include equal application of the law for many Americans, but let's leave that aside for now.)" “Okay, but what does this have to do with our local school board?” “A lot. During the recent school board election, Project 912 TN Founder and President J. Lee Douglas sent out a list of endorsements to the 912 list. Douglas states that 912 has a chance to ‘take’ the school board this year and adds this: ‘If we take the Board this time, we'll know that our work has been worth it.” “This was not unfounded bragging; 912-affiliated candidates gained control of the school board following the August 7 election. Mark Gregory, Paul Bartholomew, Jay Galbreath, Candy Emerson, Susan Curlee, and Beth Burgos are 912'ers (according 912 itself). Dan Cash is not a member; however, he is supported by 912 and is working in concert with those who are members.” [This paragraph was apparently edited after the August 7 election results came in] ‘Why did [tense of verb was apparently changed after the August 7 election] 912 Project want to “take” the school board?” ‘Anti-Common Core: Glenn Beck and Project 912 are strongly opposed to the Common Core Standards. They believe Common Core is a federal takeover and have argued that it promotes homosexuality, Islam, and communism.” “Note: The Common Core standards were proposed and developed by the National Govemors Association (not the federal government) and were voluntarily adopted by 45 states. They were included as a part of the Race to the Top Funds for which Tennessee successfully (and quite voluntarily) applied. In 2010, the legislature approved this application 83-8 in the House and 29-3 in the Senate. While it is clear that the 912 candidates have sincere opposition to the standards, the local school board has zero authority over state standards. Williamson Strong notes that the issue of high stakes testing — Which was also created by the state legislature and is a different matter — is one Which we would like to see discussed and addressed. This is not the same issue as the Common Core Standards.” “At a televised event this summer, Beck reportedly told his anti-Common Core followers and activists not to mention him as it would scare off potential followers. You can find the FreedomWorks/Glenn Beck Action Plan on Common Core here. It lists the talking points and suggested tactics against Common Core.’ “Next step, Vouchers? In January of 2014, Politico.com reported that opposition to the Common Core standards are now connected to high level donors and national advocacy groups: ‘The groups are stoking populist anger over the standards — then working to channel that anger into a bold campaign to undercut public schools...’ A leaked document from the close* 912 ally FreedomWorks lays out the plan. The first step is listed as “End Common Core.” The second step is to offer vouchers so funds currently used to pay for public schools could be used for private and religious schools. See the plan here. FreedomWorks told Politico that the campaign was going to be “huge” and that they would partner with Glenn Beck (which they did). Candidates Cash, Burgos, Emerson, and Curlee all raised their hands in support of vouchers at the Clapham candidate forum on July 10.” “Here's what close means: Katherine Hudgins is the current VP of the 912 Project Tennessee and is also listed as the contact for FreedomWorks Tennessee, FreedomWorks is listed under “Projects” on the 912 Project TN website. As the 912 Project TN founder promoted FreedomWorks in 2012, he said ‘Katherine and others are teaching us the value of long term planning.” “Textbooks: 912'ers have been passionately concerned with the content of the textbooks in use. The 912 founder Douglas says they discovered ‘anti-Christian, pro-Muslim, anti-capitalism, pro-socialism/communism, anti-fossil fuel, pro homosexual, and anti-early American values’ in textbooks in use by the county, Douglas also said, ‘I urge my friends who, like me, have their kids in private school or who are home schooled, to get involved.” “What Else Does the 912 Project Work On?” “Project 912 addresses various issues outside the field of education including Agenda 21 (sustainability language which they connect with a UN takeover), immigration issues, accountability actions connected to legislators, conversation and meet-ups, and general support among the group. They are also strongly ctitical of Islam and Muslim-Americans. The 912 Project of TN paid for an ad in the Tennessean which was an open letter to Governor Haslam admonishing him for appointing a Muslim-American to a finance position in his administration. The Williamson County chapter of the 912 Project signed on to the letter. The letter says: ‘Dismiss us at your peril. Will you pretend that we are all extremists or will you seize the opportunity to be a Churchill instead of a Chamberlain? You can say no to the slow and certain demise of our state and country by refusing to move one inch toward this third world way of life.” “it should be noted that the appointee had worked for the state Department of Economic and Community Development and had been student body president at Vanderbilt. Gov. Hasiam's office also noted that her brother had led the software team for NASA's Mars rovers.” “What does this mean to be a Williamson County resident?” “Well, you'll have to decide that for yourself. At Williamson Strong we think it is important to understand as much as possible about each school board member. Board members have more than one influence, but this one seems like an important one that has been little discussed. You can read more about the 912 Project at the links embedded in this post and we encourage you to do your ‘own research as well. Read about the 912 Project and decide if this is the governing ideology you want to see on your school board.” “District 2: Daniel Cash (not a member of 912; but supported by Tennessee 912 project founder/president J. Lee Douglas).” rict 4: Paul Bartholomew (912).” “District 6: Jay Galbreath (912).” “District 8: Candy Emerson (912).” “District 10: Beth Burgos (912).” “District 11: Mark Gregory (912).” [Not running in 2014.] “District 12: Susan Curlee (912).” The Registry finds that this is a statement by Williamson Strong in opposition to candidates for public office, to wit Daniel Cash, Paul Bartholomew, Jay Galbreath, Candace Emerson, Beth Burgos, and Susan Curlee. On August 5, 2014 Sarah Evans Bernhard made a post in Williamson Strong's name on the organization’s Facebook page: “Well, apparently Susan Curlee (12th District candidate for School Board — who admonishes outside reach into local politics — has flung open the doors wide for one of the most politically charged, billionaire funded national extremist organizations in the country to tell Williamson County residents how they need to vote in the local school board election.” “Common sense gave us pause on how even to respond to this. There is persuasive argument and then there is outright paranoia. According to flyers posted here, the White House is in full-blown action mode to destroy our little county and to rip its morality out by the roots, And it will not stop until we are all powerless below the saber of Common Core standards. (Reminder that the standards were actually voluntarily voted on by the state leg).” “Before anyone gets their back up about the President, we are not advocating one way or the other on how you lean when comes to the Executive Branch. We are not advocating one way or another about Common Core.” “What we are insulted by, as should any local resident, is the assertion that Williamson County Schools are not in charge of their own destiny. That Williamson County Schools are the victim of some mass conspiracy by the Federal Government. That Williamson County Schools are, in fact, too blind to see the writing on the wall.” “This is rubbish. This is desperate. And this is a hoax being perpetrated by a Political machine that has absolutely zero interest in our schools or our community" “And the fact that this material came to us through several other candidates in the race proves to an even further degree that Mrs. Curlee and Americans for Prosperity care very little about accountability and the realities of Williamson County, Tennessee.” “One note about Americans for Prosperity. Let's be clear. They are funded by the Koch brothers - the second richest family in the country, according to Forbes. They are extremists and have campaigned for ending Social Security, Medicare and yes — public schools. They live in New York and Kansas. Why are they dropping money into Williamson County, Tennessee?” “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended. (David Koch's platform when he ran for Vice-President — with his brother's support).” This post was removed at an unknown date from Williamson Strong's Facebook timeline. The Registry finds that this is a statement by Williamson Strong in opposition to a candidate for public office, to wit Susan Curlee. 4, The Registry finds that Williamson Strong acting by itself or through its principals Jennifer Smith, Jim Cheney, Susan Drury, Kim Henke, and Sarah Bernard, made expenditures in support of or in opposition to candidates for public office. a. In an article on the Brentwood Homepage dated July 28, 2014, Jim Cheney, when confronted by charges that Williamson Strong had received a large number of false Facebook “likes” from Istanbul, Turkey, was quoted as saying that these “likes” resulted from the purchase of advertising on Facebook. Sarah Ruth Bernard paid $25.39 for this advertising on June 23, 2014. b. Jennifer Smith purchased a voter list from the Williamson County Election Commission on June 19, 2014. c. Sarah Ruth Bernard made the following expenditures on behalf of Williamson Strong i, On May 24, 2014 she spent $13.47 on a one year domain registration for Williamson Strong and SSL certification. ii, She made payments totaling $60 to Digital Ocean for web hosting for the months of April, 2014, May, 2014, June, 2014, July, 2014, and August, 2014 on April 28, 2014, July 3, 2014, and September 4, 2014 ili, She purchased Williamson Strong stickers at an estimated cost of $40 to promote the Williamson Strong website and Facebook page. The date of this purchase is unknown, d. A person or persons unknown purchased the Divi theme from Elegant Themes for $69. This is used in connection with Williamson Strong's website. . While Williamson Strong contends that its website was put together by volunteers, those volunteers equipped the website with up-to-date software. While some of these applications were freeware, others required licensing fees. The Registry finds that these licensing fees were expenditures in support of or in opposition to candidates for public office. 5. The Registry finds that Williamson Strong failed to appoint a treasurer prior to making expenditures in support of or in opposition to candidates for public office. 6. The Registry finds that Williamson Strong failed to file a second quarter campaign financial disclosure report with the Williamson County Election Commission on or before July 10, 2014. 7. The Registry finds that Williamson Strong failed to file a pre-general campaign financial disclosure report with the Williamson County Election Commission on or before July 28, 2014 8. The Registry finds that Williamson Strong failed to file a third quarter campaign financial disclosure report with the Williamson County Election Commission on or before October 10, 2014. 9. The Registry finds that at some time subsequent to the filing of this complaint Williamson Strong's principals scrubbed potentially problematic posts from its website and Facebook timeline. As noted above, some of this scrubbing has been detected by the Registry. On this basis, the Registry concludes that there has been intentional spoliation of evidence in this matter by Williamson Strong acting through its principals. 10.The intentional spoliation or destruction of evidence raises an inference that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the cause of the spoliator, and the Registry finds that there are other materials unfavorable to Williamson Strong that have been destroyed or hidden. STATEMENT OF POLICY AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW 1. It is the intent of the general assembly to provide adequate financial disclosure by public officials, candidates for public office, and lobbyists. Furthermore, it is the intent of the general assembly to establish a registry of election finance to ensure enforcement of these statutes. T.C.A. § 2-10-202. 2. T.C.A. § 2-10-102(12)(A) defines “political campaign committee" in pertinent part as “a combination of two (2) or more individuals, including any political party governing body, whether state or local, making expenditures, to support or oppose any candidate for public office or measure, but does not include a voter registration program.” . T.C.A. § 2-10-102(12)(A) defines “multi-candidate political campaign committee” in pertinent part as “a political campaign committee to support or oppose two (2) or more candidates for public office.” T.C.A. § 2-10-102(6)(A) defines “expenditure” in pertinent part as “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.” T.C.A. § 2-10-105(e)(1) requires each political campaign committee involved with a local election to certify the name and address of the committee's political treasurer to the county election commission before the committee may make an expenditure in a local election. T.C.A. § 2-10-105(c)(1) required a local political campaign committee in 2014 to file: a. A second quarter campaign financial disclosure report with the county election commission an “as of” date of June 30 no later than July 10. b. A pre-general campaign financial disclosure report with the county election commission an ‘as of" date of July 28 no later than July 34 c. A third quarter campaign financial disclosure report with the county election commission an “as of date of September 30 no later than October 10, The failure to certify a campaign treasurer is a Class 2 offense under T.C.A. § 2-10- 110(a)(2), subject to a maximum civil penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or fifteen percent (15%) of the amount in controversy, if greater than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) . The failure to file a report required by T.C.A. § 2-10-105(c)(1) within thirty-five (35) days after service of process or receipt of notice by registered or certified mail of an assessment or any other violation of the requirements of this part. is a Class 2 offense under T.C.A. § 2-10-110(a)(2), subject to a maximum civil penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation or fifteen percent (15%) of the amount in controversy, if greater than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). ‘Campaign finance registration and reporting requirements do not impair rights under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. See, e.g. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)(8-1 as to this issue, Justice Thomas dissenting); Worley v. Florida Secretary of State, 717 F.3d 1238 (11th Cir. 2013); Human Life of Washington v. Brumsickle et al,, 624 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2010); Macintyre v. Ohio Election Commission, 514 U.S. 334 (1995)(citizen posting homemade signs opposing tax increase) 10. Campaign finance registration and reporting requirements do not impair rights under the Tennessee Constitution. Bemis Pentecostal Church v. Tennessee, Tenn., 731 S.W.2d 897 (1988), appeal dismissed for lack of a substantial federal question, 485 U.S. 930 (1988). 11. The general rule is that intentional spoliation or destruction of evidence raises an inference that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the cause of the spoliator. Cincinnati_Insurance Company v. Mid-South Drillers Supply, _Inc., Tenn.App., 2008 WL 220287 (January 25, 2008). RULING 1. A Class 2 Civil penalty of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) is assessed against Williamson Strong for violation of T.C.A. § 2-10-105(e)(1). 2. A Class 2 Civil penalty of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) is assessed against Williamson Strong for multiple violations of T.C.A. § 2-10-105(c)(1) 3. The Executive Director shall issue this Order on behalf of the Registry, and cause a copy of this Order to be provided to the Respondent, by either personal service, certified mail, return receipt requested, or overnight delivery, along with a notice of Respondent's rights described below. 4. A person aggrieved by this Order may obtain a contested case hearing by filing within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this order a written request with the Registry. By timely filing such a request, Respondent will be entitled to all rights afforded to participants in a contested case proceeding as provided by the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, T.C.A. §§ 4-5-101 - 4-5-325. 5. In the alternative, and without waiving the right to timely request a contested case proceeding at a later time, A person aggrieved by this Order may ask the Registry to reconsider this Order by filing a request for reconsideration with the Registry within fifteen (15) days of the date of entry of this Order. If the person aggrieved by this Order timely files a request for reconsideration, that person will have an additional thirty (30) days from receipt of the Registry’s response to the request for reconsideration in which to file a request for a contested case proceeding 6. If the person aggrieved by this Order does not timely file a request for a contested case proceeding, either within thirty (30) days of receipt of this order or receipt of an order responding to a request for reconsideration, the right to a contested case proceeding will be waived, and this Order shalll become final. SO ORDERED this '2""*day of June, 2015 FOR THE TENNESSEE REGISTRY OF ELECTION FINANCE By; >> 1 Co Executive Director Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that the original of the foregoing document has been sent by certified mail, return receipt request on June _Z2 , 2015 to Susan — P| Williamson Strong, c/o Jennifer Smith, Ben Gastel, Attorney at Law, Branstetter, Stranch, & Jennings, 227 Fourth Avenue North, Fourth Floor, Nashville, Tennessee 37201-1631. ad ?L_ Drew Rawlins Executive Director Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance Suite 104, 404 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1360, 615-741-7959