STEPHEN FINCHER (TN-08) Top Headlines

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Herron cites lack of ethics; Fincher cites 'false attacks' [Examiner, 10/19/11] Democratic Lawyer: Republican Fincher's Disclosures Don't Add Up [Knox News, 10/4/11] Commercial Appeal - 'Corrupt' or a 'novice'? Two different views of Rep. Stephen Fincher [Commercial Appeal, 9/20/11] Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress [CREW, 9/19/11] Jackson Sun - Forrester: Washington gave Fincher "Get out of Jail Free Card" [Jackson Sun, 8/17/11] Jackson Sun - Herron: FEC decision on Fincher is 'partisan cover-up' [Jackson Sun, 7/10/11] WBIR- Farm subsidies may face cuts [WBIR, 7/7/11] National Journal – Farmer From Frog Jump Bails on Ag [National Journal, 6/10/11] Commercial Appeal – Fincher Lists Debts He Didn’t Disclose While Campaigning [Commercial Appeal, 6/15/11] WPLN – Fincher Gives Up Farming Committee For Finance [WPLN, 5/16/11]

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Editorial: Fincher's solution in search of a problem [Commercial Appeal, opinion, 12/29/11] Fincher FEC complaint 'dismissal' doesn't exonerate 8th District congressman, editorial, 7/27/11] Jackson Sun Editorial: Fincher FEC complaint 'dismissal' doesn't exonerate 8th District congressman [Jackson Sun, 7/27/11] The Jackson Sun - Fincher's finances not just about politics, they are about truth, integrity [Jackson Sun, 7/31/11]

Agriculture Issues
Voted for Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act In December 2011, Fincher voted for the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, a bill that would prohibit the EPA from issuing new rules for dust and nuisance dust. Fincher said, “I’ve never heard anything so crazy as the EPA trying to regulate dust. But that’s how out of touch the EPA is with rural America. Imagine not being able to drive down a dirt road or not being able to plow the soil. It seems that the EPA needs some time on a farm before proposing more costly regulations that will devastate rural America.” [Fincher Press Release, 12/8/11]

Reassured Farmers at Local Town hall After Severe Storms In May 2011, Fincher, a member of the Agricultural Committee, and a number of agricultural experts attempted to reassure local farmers after devastating floods caused many to wonder if they can even salvage their land. Fincher said that "If you have been affected by this, we are going to make sure you receive help on the federal level. This has touched a lot of lives in this district. I am very committed and realize how important agriculture is to this community and to this district.” According to the Dyersburg State Gazette, “Farmers attending were encouraged to register with FEMA and to sign up for Preventative Planting before the upcoming deadlines. FEMA's deadline is July 8, 60 days after the initial disaster. The Preventive Planting deadline is currently July 15.” Fincher also drew questions about whether or not crop insurance will cover damage from the broken levees and said that “he will be looking into that issue and will be encouraging the Corps of Engineers to find the funds to repair and reinforce the levees as soon as possible.” [Dyersburg State Gazette, 06/01/2011]

Budget Issues
Fincher Signed Letter to keep Revenue Increases “On the Table” despite ATR Pledge In November 2011, Fincher signed a letter to the deficit supercommittee telling the panel members that “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.” 60 Democrats and 40 Republicans signed the letter to the panel, but all but three of the 40 Republicans also signed Norquist’s ATR pledge never to raise new taxes. Every Republican member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation signed Norquist’s pledge. [The Tennessean, 11/7/11] Fincher: Balancing a Budget “Isn’t Rocket Science.” In February 2011, Fincher said when he got to Washington, he expected “to see the smartest people in the world.” But what had since concluded otherwise. Fincher acknowledged that getting up to speed on issues takes time, but stated that balancing a budget “isn’t rocket science.” As for his Republican colleagues, he said “I will have to throw you under the bus sooner or later,” when it came to how easily he would align with leadership. [NPR, 2/27/11] Headline: Tennessee Will Feel Pain of Federal Budget Cuts In February 2011, the Tennessean ran a story detailing how the state would be affected by Republican budget cuts such as cuts in the Community Development Block Grant program, the Community Services Block Grant program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Department of Energy grants for weatherization, and a program that subsidizes commercial air service in smaller communities. The story included a headline of “Tennessee will feel pain of federal budget cuts.” [Tennessean, 2/13/11]


Admitted Earmark Ban was a “Small Thing” In February 2011, Fincher admitted the earmark ban was a “small thing” with the federal deficit expected to reach $1.5 trillion. He said, “If you don’t start with the small ones, you sure can’t address the big ones.” [The Tennessean, 2/05/11] Expected to Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling In February 2011, Fincher said, “The debt ceiling is going to be critical. It will probably be the toughest vote we face in the next two years. If I had to vote right now, I would vote not to raise it. But nobody wants to see the government shut down. I don’t. Nobody else does. We’ve got to make some hard decisions, though.” [The Tennessean, 2/05/11] Fincher A “No” Vote on Debt Ceiling In May 2011, Stephen Fincher voted against raising the debt ceiling saying that “Today, I joined my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives by voting to reject a bill to increase the debt ceiling without corresponding spending cuts. […] We cannot pass a vote to increase the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts as well. The federal government simply cannot afford to keep spending money that it does not have.” [Stephen Fincher Press Release, 05/31/2011] Fincher Hypocritical on Spending Cuts In July 2011, Huffington Post reported that Fincher, an elected deficit hawk, attempted to save $13 millions in funding for a local port. According to Gannett News, “the funding for Cates Landing was being targeted by lawmakers looking to slash the federal budget. The same day that report came out, Fincher spoke directly with Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about the funds. The next day, he wrote a follow-up letter seeking assistance in "obligating" the $13 million grant for the port.” The congressman explained that “We just wanted to make sure that we could do everything possible to create jobs, and this was a part we could play and I did everything I could and we were successful," the congressman declared a few days later to reporters, onlookers and fellow lawmakers, at an event praising the incoming funds.” Additionally, “Two days after writing LaHood, Fincher voted for the Republican House budget that cut billions of dollars, including from many other transportation priorities. His office put out a press release scolding ‘out of control’ and ‘reckless’ federal spending.” [Gannett News, 3/9/11; Huffinton Post, 7/5/11] Farm Subsidies May Be At Risk In July 2011, The Tennessean published an article stating that federal subsidies received by nearly 80,00 Tennessee farms, including Stephen Fincher’s, could be affected by budget cuts.


According to the Tennessean, “Stephen and Lynn Fincher Farms, which the congressman owns with his wife, got $87,738 in commodity subsidies in 2010, according to EWG data. Over the last 12 years, the farm has received $3.3 million. That ranks it 27th in Tennessee for subsidy receipts. Fincher Farms, which is owned by the congressman’s parents, received $103,036 in subsidies in 2010 and more than $4 million over the last 16 years, according to the data. Fincher is a managing partner of the enterprise, which spans several counties. Fincher has said he received less than the figures reported by the EWG, which pulls its data from Agriculture Department publications. During his campaign, he faced criticism for accepting subsidies while advocating government spending cuts.” Fincher’s spokeswoman said that the congressman has no conflict of interest and “will support cuts on any spending programs that are deemed wasteful or bad for the economy.” Sendek said that “Congressman Fincher believes the farm program that is currently in place needs reform, but until that happens, we must work with what we have. We simply cannot risk losing more jobs in rural areas.” [The Tennessean, 7/10/2011] Voted In Favor of Bill to Cut Funding to Local Airport In August 2011, Fincher voted in favor of a bill that cut funding to a local airport. According to the Tennessean, “Republican Reps. Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump and Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood both voted in favor of the July bill that would cut subsidies to Jackson. Fincher’s spokeswoman, Sara Sendek, said it’s necessary to ‘reform spending programs that have not proved to be an effective use of taxpayer dollars.’” The Tennessean also reported that “[Jackson’s McKellar-Sipes] airport director said the commercial airline that provides flights to and from Nashville won’t continue service after Sept. 30. Second, a deal reached by Senate Democrats and House Republicans could cut off subsidies to the airport and up to 12 others in rural areas.” [Tennessean, 8/5/2011] Reason Fincher Came to Congress In August 2011, Fincher explained why he came to Congress, saying, “I came to Congress on the promise that I would change the way we do business in Washington and use common sense ideas to put America back on the right path. Tonight is proof that ‘business as usual’ in Washington is no longer acceptable. President Obama can no longer depend on a blank check from Congress to continue his spending spree. [Stephen Fincher Press Release, 8/2/11] Thoughts on Debt Ceiling and Boehner Plan In July 2011, Fincher said he was sorting through the details of the Boehner proposal.


According to Fincher, "We’re sorting through the details (of Speaker John Boehner’s proposal) trying to make sure that we know everything that’s inside of it and all the working parts. It’s very complicated at this point — many, many different pieces and legs to it. I’ve really supported the cut, cap and balance and I mean the balanced budget is a very, very important part for me and, I feel like, for our district. I’d hate to see that not part of some kind of a deal. So we’re just going to see how everything falls out. But right now, I’ve not decided if I’m going to vote for it, or not... (Constituents) are telling me, ‘you, know, we understand you have to raise the debt ceiling’…There are some people out there that say ‘let’s let it go down.’ I’m not one of those people. I understand there will be unintended consequences." [Commercial Appeal, 7/26/2011] Fincher Said We Need to Stop the Spending On his campaign website and in a press release, Fincher said we need to stop spending. In July 2011, Fincher said “It is well past time for Washington to start living within its means.” [Representative Stephen Fincher Press Release, 7/20/11] According to his campaign website, Fincher believed that “First, when you're in a hole, stop digging. We're in a hole, and we need to stop spending.” [Fincher for Congress, accessed 8/29/11]

Business and Consumer Issues
Fincher Joins Financial Services Committee In May 2011, it was announced that Rep. Fincher had been selected to serve on the Financial Services Committee. According to his press release, Fincher said “I am confident that my real world business experience will bring a strong frame-of-reference to the Committee and assist in developing strong public policy to turn our economy around.” He added that he looked “forward to serving this Committee, Tennessee and all of our country with integrity and honesty.” [Fincher Press Release, 5/10/11] Fincher Will Bring “His Real World Business Experience” to New Committee Assignment In May 2011, “Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher has gotten a seat on the prominent House Financial Services Committee. The panel oversees the economy, banking system and stock exchanges.” According to WPLN, “Fincher of Crockett County says he’s honored and that his “real world business experience” will help as a frame-of-reference.” In order “to take the new position, Fincher has had to give up his seat on the House Agriculture Committee.” [WPLN, 5/16/11] Fincher Originally Assigned to Agriculture Committee According Dyersburg State Gazette, “Fincher has been named to both the Ag and Transportation committees. […] Fincher said he will stand for farmers, who only receive one half of 1 percent of the Ag Department's budget, while continuing to cut government waste. [Dyersburg Gazette, 2/2/11]


According to the Commercial Appeal, Fincher is “a row-crop farmer” who “ drew an assignment on the Agriculture Committee.” “House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., called Fincher "a strong voice for agriculture."” [The Commercial Appeal, 2/13/11] Fincher Interested in Joining Agriculture Committee In a November 2010 profile, CQ Today reported that Fincher was “interested in seats on the Small Business, Armed Services and Agriculture committees.” [CQ Today, 11/2/10] Fincher Will Not Work For Special Interest When Stephen Fincher announced his candidacy in September 2009, Fincher said “I may not be a polished politician, but as a lifelong farmer I know that most problems can be solved with a little common-sense. When I'm elected, I'll put that common-sense to work for everyday Tennesseans, not the special interests.” [Commercial Appeal, 9/22/09] Fincher: “Bringing Jobs to West Tennessee is My Top Priority” A study by The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) shows that the government has given $289.2 million dollars in loans to small businesses helping create jobs in DRA districts. According to Commercial Appeal, “when Asked about the DRA study's findings, U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., whose district contains all or part of 14 DRA counties, released a statement: ‘Restoring the economy and bringing jobs to West Tennessee is my top priority. We must create an economic environment that attracts small business owners to invest and create jobs across the region. The renewed focus on infrastructure will play an important role in making it easier for small businesses to operate and succeed in Tennessee.’” [Commercial Appeal, 8/21/2011] Voted against Legislation to Prevent Oil Speculators from Driving up Gas Prices On May 4th, 2011 in the House Committee on Agriculture, Fincher voted against an amendment to H.R. 1573 that would have prevented a Republican effort to slow the implementation of rules that could have helped rein in gas prices. H.R. 1573 would have delayed the regulation of derivatives markets overhaul set in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The amendment would have slowed the process at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) by limiting the influence of oil speculators who have driven up gas prices. The amendment would have exempted Section 737 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which directs the CFTC to set position limits on commodity speculation, from the enactment date delays established by H.R. 1573. According to Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), the amendment would have allowed the CFTC “to continue forward on their current schedule to rein in excessive speculating in commodity markets which has driven up the price of gas, food, and manufactured goods.”


The amendment, offered by Rep. Courtney, was narrowly defeated 22-23. It received support from two Republicans on the committee. [Courtney Amendment to HR 1573 in the House Agriculture Committee, 5/04/11;Rep. Joe Courtney Press Release, 5/04/11] Committee Passed a Bill to Delay Financial Regulatory Reform Measures On May 4th 2011 in the House Committee on Agriculture, the Committee passed by voice vote a bill to delay by 18 months the regulation of derivatives markets overhaul that had been put in place through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill, HR 1573, delayed the effective date of most derivatives market provisions from July 2011 to December 31, 2012. It also directed the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Securities Exchange Commission to first finish drafting definitions, such as those for swap dealers and securitybased swap agreements, thus excepting them from the deadline extension. Democrats on the committee accused Republicans of attempting to stall the regulatory measures outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act with the hopes of having a Republican administration in 2012 that could then either defund or repeal the law. The bill was passed by voice vote and reported favorably to the full House. [HR 1573 in the House Agriculture Committee, 5/04/11]

Campaign Finance Issues
Fincher Filed Explanation of Controversial Loan Fincher filed new information with the FEC that attempted to clarify a questionable loan he received in July 2010 from Gates Banking and Trust Co. The new FEC document said the loan was secured with $600,000 in collateral, and Fincher paid 6.5 percent interest. He ended up paying $6,003.40 in interest, according to his attorney. In earlier FEC campaign filings, Fincher reported the money as a personal loan with no collateral and no interest. The attorney, Elliot Berke, said the bank made the loan to Fincher and he then loaned the money to his campaign. Since the loan was from Fincher to his campaign, no interest was charged and no collateral listed, Berke said. Critics had questioned how Fincher could have qualified for a loan when his personal financial disclosure statement showed no assets and only modest farm income. They wondered whether the loan was improper, noting that Fincher’s father served on Gates’ board and that the bank’s chairman, Warren Nunn, had contributed to Fincher’s campaign. [WBIR, 1/11/11] Fincher Received Controversial Campaign Loan Fincher Did Not Disclose Terms of $250,000 Bank Loan. In July 2010, Stephen Fincher took out a $250,000 personal bank loan for his campaign. “Fincher list[ed] a $250,000 loan to his campaign


committee "made or guaranteed by the candidate," although it has been acknowledged as a bank loan whose terms have not been disclosed to the FEC.” [The Commercial Appeal, 10/14/11] Fincher Received This Questionable Loan From A Campaign Contributor. “The loan was from the Gates Banking and Trust Company of Gates, Tenn., where Fincher’s father is on the Board of Directors and whose Chairman was a Fincher contributor. Fincher took out the loan on July 7 [2010] and made its proceeds available to his campaign committee.” [The Commercial Appeal, 1/12/11] Fincher Faces FEC Investigation. As of January 2011, “The Federal Election Commission has yet to issue a finding on its investigation of the loan, which, as papers filed after the election have revealed. [...]” [The Commercial Appeal, 1/14/11] Fincher Had No Assets to Secure Loan. According to details received about the loan by the FEC in December, the loan in question was secured with “$600,000 in farm crops, real estate and cash.” However, “Fincher had no assets besides farming income and no liabilities in questioning whether the loan was fully collateralized as required by federal election law.” [The Commercial Appeal, 1/12/11] Fincher Did Not Make Details Available Until After the Election. “The Federal Election Commission received details of the loan [in December] and filed it among miscellaneous documents discovered earlier this week [of January] by The Tennessean. Those details were not available before Fincher, a Crockett County Republican, won the November election.” [The Commercial Appeal, 1/12/11] FEC Ended Investigation into Campaign Loan In July 2011, the FEC closed its investigation into Fincher’s campaign loan. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “The Federal Election Commission met over complaints that U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., violated election laws regarding filing requirements and a loan to his campaign but there was "an insufficient number of votes" to support them, according to a commission lawyer. In an undated letter to Fincher's lawyer, Elliot S. Berke, Acting Deputy Associate General Counsel for Enforcement Susan L. Lebeaux wrote that three violations were reviewed. The six-member commission, which is equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, needs a majority vote to take action. As a result, Lebeaux wrote, "the commission has closed its file in this matter." [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 07/7/2011] Democratic Opponent Called FEC Decision A “Partisan Cover-Up” In July 2011, Roy Herron, Fincher’s Democratic opponent, said that he was extremely unhappy with the FEC’s recent decision to end the investigation of Fincher. According to the Jackson Sun, “Herron said ‘there's no question’ that Fincher violated federal election laws by reporting that a $250,000 loan to his campaign came from personal funds. In January, Fincher filed documents showing the source of the loan as Gates Banking and Trust Co.”


Herron explained that “"There's a big difference between an exoneration and a partisan cover-up." He continued, “"If the Republican commissioners voted not to pursue this, it clearly wasn't based on the facts. The fact that Mr. Fincher has felt compelled to file amended FEC documents in itself confirms that he broke the law." [Jackson Sun, 7/10/2011] All Six FEC Commissioners Believe Fincher Violated Federal Law In July 2011, all Six FEC Commissioners found that Fincher violated Federal Law and a motion to impost a civil penalty failed on a partisan vote. “All six Commissioners voted to find reason to believe that the Fincher Committee violated 2 U.S.C. 434(b)(3)(E) and 11 CFR 104.3(d)(4). In this matter, the sole dispute with our colleagues is whether the Fincher Committee's misreporting of campaign information to the Commission warrants a civil penalty. We and our colleagues agree that the Fincher Committee misreported the source of its campaign funds, resulting in inaccurate public disclosure reports.” [MUR 6386, 7/21/11] According to the MUR Statement of Reason, “A motion to find reason to believe that the Fincher Committee violated 2 U.S.C. 434(b)(3)(E) and 11 CFR 104.3(d)(4) and seek a civil penalty failed by a vote of 3-3.” The Commission noted that “First, Chair Bauerly and Commissioner Walther voted affirmatively to find reason to believe that the Fincher Committee violated 2 U.S.C. 434(b)(3)(E) and 11 CFR 104.3(d)(4) and to seek the civil penalty recommended by OGC. Vice Chair Hunter and Commissioners McGahn, Petersen and Weintraub dissented. Certification in MUR 6386, dated June 16,2011. Second, Chair Bauerly and Commissioners Walther and Weintraub voted affirmatively to find reason to believe and to seek a lower civil penalty for this misconduct. Vice Chair Hunter and Commissioners McGahn and Petersen dissented. Id. Third and finally, Vice Chair Hunter and Commissioners McGahn and Petersen voted affirmatively to find reason to believe that the Fincher Committee violated 2 U.S.C. 434(b)(3)(E) and 11 CFR 104.3(d)(4) and to send a letter of caution to the Fincher Committee without any civil penalty. Chair Bauerly and Commissioners Walther and Weintraub.” In June 2011, Politico noted that the three GOP Commissioners on the FEC are “Don McGahn, Caroline Hunter and Matthew Petersen.” [MUR 6386 Statements of Reason, 7/21/11; Politico, 6/29/11] Fincher Filed 2011 July Quarterly FEC Report In July 2011, Steve Fincher for Congress filed its July 2011 Quarterly FEC Report. Fincher raised $271728.06 in the 2nd quarter of 2011 and has $ 448600.60 cash on hand. Fincher received $111,655 from PACs. Contributions of Note: This Quarter, Fincher Received At Least $26,500 from Financial Services PACs. Since joining the Financial Services Committee in May, Fincher has received at least $26,5000 in contributions from PACs including: Bank of America PAC, American Institute of CPAs PAC, Council of Insurance Agents & Broker PA, Goldman Sachs PAC, Securities Industry & Financial Markets PAC, Regions Financial Corp PAC, and New York Life Insurance PAC. [Steve Fincher from Congress 2011 July Quarterly FEC Report, 7/15/11]


Expenditures of Note: Spent $9336.33 on Reimbursements and Salary to Kristalea Fincher. In his July Quarterly FEC report, Fincher spent $9336 on salary and reimbursements to Kristalea Fincher. [Steve Fincher from Congress 2011 July Quarterly FEC Report, 7/15/11] Spent $10,004 on Legal Fees. In May and June 2011, Fincher spent $10,004 on legal fees at McGuire Woods, LLP. [Steve Fincher from Congress 2011 July Quarterly FEC Report, 7/15/11] Other Items of Note: Fincher Received $111,655 in PAC Contributions. In his 2011 July Quarterly Report, Fincher received $111,655 in PAC contributions from April-June 2011. In his April 2011 Quarterly Report, Fincher raised a net total of $207,011. $80,240 of his contributions came from PACs. [Steve Fincher from Congress 2011 April Quarterly FEC Report, 4/15/11; Steve Fincher from Congress 2011 July Quarterly FEC Report, 7/15/11] Dems Said Fincher Was Slow With FEC Report In July 2011, Democratic officials accused Stephen Fincher of delaying the correction of his FEC report. According to the Jackson Sun, “Fincher’s campaign ultimately corrected its report on Dec. 2 — ‘65 days from the date the complaint was filed, 46 days from the date the supplemental complaint was filed, and 31 days after the election,’ the Democratic commissioners wrote. “Berke, Fincher’s campaign lawyer, said the campaign didn’t have all the information it needed to correct the report by the Oct. 15 deadline…[and] he denied that the campaign waited until after the election to correct the error.” [Jackson Sun, 7/27/2011] Violation Did Occur, Said FEC In July 2011, the National Journal wrote that “the FEC unanimously agreed a reporting violation had occurred.” [National Journal, 7/29/2011] Member of the NRCC Recruitment Team In July 2011, Roll Call reported that “House Republicans have signed 16 Members to their recruitment team this cycle, including 11 freshmen.” Fincher is among the 16 recruited. [Roll Call, 7/28/2011] Fincher: Introduced Bill that Helps Past Contributors In August 2011, Rep. Fincher introduced a bill that would approve of genetically modified crops for commercial sale. According to USA Today, “Fincher has received more campaign money from agribusiness than any other industry. Two months after he filed the bill, the political action committee of the Minnesota-based agricultural giant Land O'Lakes' staged a $500-a-head fundraiser to benefit the Republican's re-election

campaign. The company spent more than $740,000 on lobbying last year on a range of issues, including federal regulation of its genetically modified alfalfa seeds… Fincher's proposed legislation would require automatic approval for genetically engineered crops if the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to act on an application within 240 days.” [USA Today, 8/31/11] Fincher Received $87,700 from Agribusiness In August 2011, Rep . Fincher has received $87,700 from agribusiness interests between Jan. 1 and June 30, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. According to USA Today, “In July, Land O'Lakes hosted a Capitol Hill dinner to aid Fincher's campaign. Its subsidiary, Forage Genetics, had been at the center of a protracted legal battle over commercial cultivation of a genetically altered alfalfa seed it helped develop. The decision to host the Fincher event ‘was based on a wide range of issues affecting agriculture,’ Land O'Lakes spokeswoman Jeanne Forbis said in an e-mail. ‘Since being elected to Congress, Rep. Fincher has been supportive on a wide range of issues, including trade policy, support for farmer cooperatives and environmental regulations.’”[USA
Today, 8/31/11]

Accused of Downplaying Personal Debt While Campaigning for Congress In June 2011, the Washington Post reported that a number of freshman Republican lawmakers, swept into the office of fixing our nation’s debt problem, have some fiscal issues of their own. “Among those with significant debt was Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tenn.), who had been accused of playing down his debt during the campaign. The disclosure documents show that he is carrying $1.6 million to $6.4 million in loans relating to his family’s 2,500-acre farm in Frog Jump, Tenn.” The Tennessean reported that “His previous statement, in 2009, reported no assets and about $60,000 in income, raising questions as to how the farmer and Gospel singer was able to lend his campaign $250,000 last year. That led to a Federal Election Commission investigation, which is pending. Fincher's new report also listed between $1.1 million and $2.5 million in liabilities, mostly for loans on farm equipment. His 2009 report listed no liabilities.” A spokesperson for Fincher said that “the loans were incurred to finance farming operations, and that some of them were taken out by Fincher’s father and also signed by the lawmaker.” [Washington Post,

Fincher Highlighted For Receiving at Least $370,000 from 162 PACs. “A joint analysis by iWatch News and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that the 15 freshmen members of the Tea Party Caucus have embraced many of the same special interests that have supported Republicans for years. The fifteen combined have received over $3,450,000 during the first three quarters of this year from almost 700 different PACs […] Overall, this group of freshmen representatives has become just as reliant on PAC money as their counterparts who have been in the House longer. The median Tea Party Caucus freshman brought in roughly 44 percent of their money from PACs, 43 percent from large individual donors, and 4 percent from small donors who gave less than $200 each. Comparatively, the median House Republican got 46 percent from PACs, 45 percent from large


individuals and 4 percent from small individual donors.” Fincher has received at least $370,000 from 162 PACs.” [iWatch News, 11/18/11] Fincher: Still FEC Controversy Regarding Loan In August 2011, Rep. Fincher’s misreported campaign loan is still gardening controversy. The Jackson Sun reported, “The Federal Election Commission may have dismissed its investigation into Rep. Stephen Fincher's misreported campaign loan, but the case isn't closed for Fincher's erstwhile opponent, state Sen. Roy Herron. Herron is suing the FEC, arguing that the commission's June decision to dismiss the case against Fincher was ‘arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and contrary to the law,’ […] The complaint contends that the FEC failed to state its reasons for dismissing the case. Fincher's campaign lawyer, Eliot Berke, said Tuesday that the FEC dismissed the case and he ‘expects the court to do the same.’” [The Jackson Sun 8/16/11] Fincher Registered A Joint Fundraising Committee Called Freshman JFC In December 2011, twelve House Republicans formed a joint fundraising committee called Freshman Class JFC. [The Hill, 12/5/11] Fincher Created PAC with Unwieldy Name In October 2011, Fincher filed paperwork to create the “Funding Republicans supporting Opportunity and Growth — Jump Political Action Committee.” “The committee is based in Potomac Falls, Va., and its treasurer is Steve Ralls.” [Politico, 10/25/11]

Congressional Issues
Fincher Said Days in DC Not Always Easy In December 2011, Fincher said days in DC are not always easy. “‘Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down and lose sight of what’s important,’ Congressman Stephen Fincher says of his service in Washington. The Eighth Congressional District representative from Frog Jump confessed that there are some days it’s not easy to work in the nation’s capitol.” [Northwest Tennessee
Today, 12/30/11]

Said He Doesn’t Work for Boehner or Obama In December 2011, Fincher said that he doesn’t work for Boehner or Obama. “I believe we’re all in this together. I remind myself every day that I don’t work for Rep. John Boehner or President Obama or Vice President Biden. I work for the people of the Eighth District in Tennessee. All the people. I represent each and every one and I’m trying to look out for their interests. I want to make sure I do what’s best for them.” [Northwest Tennessee Today, 12/30/11]


Scheduled to Attend “2012 Freshman Family & Fishing Weekend” In December 2011, Fincher was scheduled to attend the “2012 Freshman Family & Fishing Weekend” in Key Largo, Florida at the Ocean Reef Club. [Washington Post, 12/13/11] Fincher and his Wife took $8,700 to Israel Courtesy of AIEF From August 13 to August 21 2011, Fincher traveled with Lynn Fincher to Israel on a trip totaling $8,761.83 sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation. AIEF spent $6,400.06 on transportation, $1,380 on lodging, and $981.77 on meals. [Clerk of the House Travel Disclosure, 9/2/11] Fincher Reimbursed By Taxpayers for Nearly $7,000. Since January 2011, Fincher has been reimbursed by taxpayers for $6,876.56 for parking, taxis and auto mileage. [2011 2nd Quarter Statements of Disbursement, 7/5/11; 112th Congress, 1st Session Statement of Disbursements 1Q 2011, 5/23/11] Fincher Paid $2,979 to Remember When Photography. In June 2011 Fincher paid $2,979.17 to Remember When Photography for printing and reproduction. [2011 2nd Quarter Statements of Disbursement, 7/5/11] Fincher Spent $3,178 on Security Service. From April-June 2011, Fincher spent $3178.76 on security service from the Department of Homeland Security. [2011 2nd Quarter Statements of Disbursement, 7/5/11 Fincher Included in List of “Frequent Fliers” in Congress In August 2011, Fincher joined 80 House colleagues in accepting a trip to Israel paid for by “the American Israel Education Foundation, a charity affiliated with the influential pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Political Affairs Committee.” The average cost was $18,120. In 2011, Fincher took two trips totaling $23,233, one paid for by the AIEF ($20,227) and the other to Simi Valley, California, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation ($3,006). [The Tennesseean, 11/2/11] Fincher Said Congressional Leaders Push too much Politics In November 2011, Fincher said both Democratic and Republican leaders “focus too much on pushing politics and personal jabs to the forefront of media attention” at the expense of real “action” to address “declining employment and a negative economic state” and the deficit. Fincher also said, “oftentimes we're [Washington politicians] not [the answer to the nation’s problems]. We're the problem." [Jackson Sun, 11/1/11]


Campaign 2012
Formed Leadership PAC, 12-member Freshman Fundraising Committee In December 2011, reports from the FEC showed that Fincher set up a leadership PAC as well as a 12member Freshman Class joint fundraising committee. Fincher’s leadership PAC, the Funding Republicans Supporting Opportunity and Growth – Jump PAC is was based in Potomac Falls, VA, and used a bank in Pittsburgh. The leadership PAC after its first FEC filing had not collected any money. [Commercial Appeal, 12/7/11] Accused by DCCC of Breaking Campaign Promises In December 2011, the DCCC accused Fincher of prioritizing big banks instead of Tennessee farmers, and pointed to his decision to switch from the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. [Jackson Sun, 12/5/11] Fincher Not Representing District’s Medicare and Tax Break Needs In November 2011, a DCCC spokesman said Fincher was not “in step with [his] district” on issues such as Medicare and tax breaks. [The Tennessean, 11/4/11] Fincher Had an “Ethical Cloud Around Him” In November 2011, a DCCC spokesman said Fincher had an “ethical cloud around him” because of the misreporting of a loan on FEC forms and for accepting campaign donations from political action committees affiliated with the Koch brothers. [The Tennessean, 11/4/11] Fincher Opposed Protecting At-Risk Individuals from Emissions In October 2011, Fincher was criticized by the DCCC for “voting against protecting infants, children and pregnant women from cement-plant emissions.” [The Tennessean, 11/4/11] Fincher Opposed Funding Police Jobs In October 2011, Fincher was criticized by the DCCC for “opposing a program that would ‘keep Tennessee families safe’ by funding police jobs.” [The Tennessean, 11/4/11] Fincher “Played Politics” on Renewing Disaster Aid In October 2011, Fincher was criticized by the DCCC for “’playing politics’ on renewing disaster aid.”
[The Tennessean, 11/4/11]

Crime & Public Safety Issues


Economic and Financial Issues
Dodd Frank is the “Worst Thing in the World” In December 2011, Fincher called Dodd Frank the worst thing in the world. “‘The recent Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was well-intended, but it’s turning out to be the worst thing in the world because it’s forcing higher costs on banks and causing lots of them to close. We need and want to protect our financial system, but nothing is free from fault. Banks are in business to make a profit and when those institutions get hit with high fees, those fees trickle down to their customers. That’s not cheating. That’s how business works. Now, if a bank is doing something wrong or cheating its customers, they need to be brought to justice and punished,’ he says.” [Northwest Tennessee Today, 12/30/11] Received “B” Grade From Americans for Prosperity In January 2011, Americans for Prosperity scored the most important economic votes of the first session of the 112th Congress. Representative Fincher received a grade of B from Americans for Prosperity.
[Americans for Prosperity 112th Congress Mid Term Scorecard,1/2012]

AFP Founded In 2003 By David H. Koch. The New York Times wrote about David H. Koch, noting that “in 2003 he helped establish the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which supports free-market policies and promotes government spending limits. It split off from an earlier Koch-backed enterprise, now called FreedomWorks, which promotes similar goals.” [New York
Times, 7/10/08]

Americans for Prosperity Funded, Run by Koch Industries Executives. Americans for Prosperity was founded by David H. Koch, one of the wealthiest men in America and the executive vice president and board member of Koch Industries, which was founded by his father. Recently, Koch gave $5 million to Americans for Prosperity. In 2009, AFP President Tim Phillips said Koch “launched our organization.” The executive Vice President of Koch Industries said, “What we have done is support the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has been active in various forms for nearly 30 years.” [New York Times, 7/10/08; MSNBC, 3/31/10; Politico, 10/14/08,
Washington Examiner, 7/18/10; Washington Independent, 10/5/09]

Fincher Ran Campaign Platform on Jobs In October 2011, Fincher’s office announced his legislative priority as “jobs, jobs, jobs,” after he presented legislation to help small business. “Fincher's Small Company Job Growth and Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 retargets the audit requirement from affecting companies earning $50 million and above to companies making $350 million.” [Jackson
Sun, 10/22/11]

Fincher Bailed on Agriculture, Joined House Financial Services Committee In June 2011, the National Journal reported that Fincher had won a coveted position on the Financial Services Committee.

According to the National Journal, Fincher said that “"I am honored to join such a distinguished and prominent committee in the House of Representatives. During these times of economic uncertainty, the House Financial Services Committee will play an important role in creating jobs and fostering an environment that allows businesses to grow. I am confident that my real world business experience will bring a strong frame-of-reference to the Committee and assist in developing strong public policy to turn our economy around." But the National Journal reported that “Fincher will no doubt reap the other great benefit of the Financial Services Committee: It's a lot more lucrative to serve on a panel that interests banking lobbyists than on a panel that handles agriculture policy. Fincher was one of the better-funded first-time candidates in 2010.”
[National Journal, 06/10/2011]

Fincher Focused on Financial Legislation In September 2011, Fincher proposed the “Invest In America Act to suspend a tax charged on capital gains for 10 years.” He also “introduced legislation that would amend the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires a dual audit of companies earning $50 million and above.” [Jackson Sun, 10/22/11] Fincher Introduced ABA Backed Bill In October 2011, Fincher introduced an “ABA-backed bill that would exempt companies with less than $350 million in total public float from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s Section 404(b) auditor attestation requirements. Companies with less than $75 million in public float are currently exempted from the requirements.” [ABA Press Release, 10/17/11] Fincher Not Sold on Free Trade In September 2011, Rep. Fincher and other GOP members were not yet sold on free trade. The Hill reported, “House Republican leaders face a tough task of finding enough votes to pass the three long-stalled free trade agreements. Organized labor and some Tea-Party lawmakers are poised to rally against the pacts, which President Obama is expected to send to Congress this fall.[…]Meanwhile, a fair amount of House GOP lawmakers from the Midwest, Northeast and southern regions are not sold yet – some of them from the historic class of 2010. (Rep Fincher is one of them).” [The Hill, 9/10/11] Fincher: Op Ed Discussed Debt In August 2011, Rep. Fincher wrote an Op-Ed to the State Gazette, where he discussed debt ceiling debate and the nation’s credit downgrade. He wrote, “In order to earn back an AAA credit rating, we must continue efforts to cut federal spending and significantly reduce our deficit. Congress must also consider reforming mandatory spending programs. There are no simple, easy answers. […]Our recent credit downgrade has made it crystal clear that business as usual in Washington is no longer acceptable. It is imperative we cut spending and reduce our debt now.[…] I suggest the President get off the golf course and join House Republicans as we fight


to move our country forward and create a better future for our children and grandchildren.” [State Gazette,

Blasted Partisanship After Blaming Obama for Unemployment In September 2011, Fincher said Obama has made unemployment worse then blasted partisanship. “For the past few years, President Obama has employed failed policies of over-spending, increased regulations and government overreach. Unfortunately for the millions of Americans who continue to look for work, the President’s efforts have only made the problem worse. In order to seriously address the issue of unemployment in America, all sides must come together and support common sense solutions to put our country back to work. The American people must come before partisan politics.” [Fincher Press Release, 9/9/11]

Education Issues
Fincher: No Child Left Behind Did Not Meet Needs of Educators or Students In February 2011, Fincher said No Child Left Behind was well-intended but did not practically meet the needs of educators or students. [Jackson Sun, 2/24/11] Open to Eliminating the Department of Education At a February 2011 town hall, Fincher was asked about eliminating the Department of Education. He said, "We've got to be careful in one sense not to be too drastic, not to go overboard, but at the same time, what we're doing is not working," he said. [The Jackson Sun, 2/01/11]

Energy Issues
Energy Policy Reform is the “Must Do Items” In December 2011, Fincher said reforming energy policy is high on his “must do” items. “‘We’ve passed multiple energy bills and are trying to open drilling back up in Alaska to lower costs. We can do that in ways that protect the environment. As a farmer from Tennessee, I love hunting and fishing and I want to protect the environment, but the bottom line is, we must have oil. Studies show that if we opened one reserve in Alaska now, in five years, gas prices could be at $2 a gallon. We can do that and still protect the environment.’” [Northwest Tennessee Today, 12/30/11] Focus on Energy Independence In June 2011, the Jackson Sun reported that “Tennessee Valley Authority officially transferred the Lagoon Creek Combined Cycle Gas Power Plant in Brownsville from a development and construction project to a fully operational power plant on Thursday.”


Fincher was on hand and pointed out the importance of the power plant to the economies of both West Tennessee and the country as a whole. Fincher said that "Job creation and energy independence are two things this country needs over the next few years to thrive, and Lagoon Creek helps in that. Everything this country is focused on starts and stops with that." [Jackson Sun, 06/10/2011]

Environmental Issues
Opposed EPA Regulations on Dust In March 2011, Fincher opposed EPA regulation of particulate pollution as part of EPA regulation of air quality standards. He said, “The [EPA] regulations will have an adverse impact on the agriculture community and “will only slow economic growth and job creation in rural areas.” [The Commercial Appeal,

Fincher Introduced Legislation to Curb EPA Enforcement In September 2011, Fincher proposed “The America's Energy Independence Act to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing its Cross-State Pollution Rule for 10 years with the intent to keep the cost of electricity low.” [Jackson Sun, 10/22/11] Voted to Prohibit the Use of Funds for Beach Replenishment Projects by the Army Corps of Engineers In 2011, Fincher voted for an amendment offered by Paul Broun (GA-10) to prohibit the use of funds for beach replenishment projects by the Army Corps of Engineers. The amendment failed, 74-348. [Broun Amendment, House Clerk, 02/18/11] Supported Federal Disaster Declaration In May 2011, Stephen Fincher sent a letter with the rest of the Tennessee delegation which requested a federal disaster declaration and federal funding to assist in the recovery of the areas affected by the severe April storms. [The Chattanoogan, 04/30/2011] Sponsored Legislation to Provide Temporary Tax Relief To Assist in Rebuilding Efforts In June 2011, Fincher sponsored legislation that would provide temporary tax relief to assist in the rebuilding efforts of states damaged by extreme weather. According to a Spencer Bachus press release, “The Southeastern Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2011 would provide temporary tax relief to assist rebuilding efforts in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The bill is modeled on tax relief offered after previous natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and is a companion to legislation introduced by Senator Richard Shelby (AL) in the U.S. Senate.”


Bachus also clarified that “The provisions in the legislation would be fully paid for by rescinding federal funds that are either unspent or uncommitted, and would not increase the national debt.” [Bachus Press
Release, 06/24/2011]

Ethics Issues
Hired Former Lobbyist to Work on Official Staff In March 2011, the Center for Responsive Politics released a database that showed Fincher hired Jessica Carter to be his Chief of Staff. According to the CRP, Carter had previously lobbied for National Industries for the Blind. [Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 3/8/11] Planned to Amend Personal Financial Disclosure In February 2011, Fincher announced his plan to amend his personal financial statement which was filed during the campaign but only disclosed his farm income but showed no bank accounts, investments or outstanding loans. Fincher said, “I did not realize how common, but it’s very common for first time candidate to have to amend because it’s just so much red tape. It’s very vague.” [WPLN, Nashville Public Radio, 2/22/11] Took $3,000 Trip to Los Angeles, CA Courtesy of the Heritage Foundation From January 27 to January 29 2011, Congressman Fincher and his wife traveled from Washington, DC to Memphis to Los Angeles and back to Memphis courtesy of the Heritage Foundation. Heritage spent $1,800 in transportation costs, $450 in lodging costs, and $756 in meal costs on Fincher and his wife.
[Clerk of the House Travel Disclosure]

Foreign Policy Issues – Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea Farming Issues
Received Over $3 Million in Farm Subsidies In March 2011, the Environmental Working Group reported that Fincher received more than $3 million in farm subsidies from 1995-2009. He then went on to suggest that the program for farm subsidies could be “better.” He said, “We need a good, better, we need a better farm program and we need to streamline it. We need to look at many options. And that’s a long way off.” [ABC News, 3/31/2011] Accepted $2.5 Million in Farm Subsidies In 2011, the New York Times reported that Fincher accepted $2.5 million in agriculture subsidies. House Speaker Boehner called the subsides a “slush fund.” [New York Times, 03/01/11] Opposed Cuts to Farm Bill


In February 2011, Fincher said his goal was to streamline the farm bill to formulate affordable insurance programs, tighten spending on nutrition programs, and educate the public on the importance of farming and agriculture. He said, “A few of my colleagues just want to take a machete and start chopping away and don’t know what we’re chopping at.” He supported keeping programs such as rural and economic development and aid such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. [Jackson Sun, 2/24/11]

Gay and Lesbian Issues Gun Issues Health Care Issues
Jackson Sun: Democrats Owe Fincher an Apology In February 2011, the Jackson Sun editorialized that Democrats owed Fincher and apology for falsely accusing him of accepting government-provided health insurance when he had opted to keep the insurance he received through the Farm Bureau. [Jackson Sun, 2/17/11] Rejected Congressional Health Insurance In a January 2011 interview with WNWS, Fincher said he rejected federal health insurance available to members of Congress and chose to keep his insurance through the Farm Bureau. Below is a transcript of his interview: [5:55] SHERLEY: Another of your campaign promises was to do with the Congressional insurance and the people’s money that pays for that. I’d like to ask you to address that and explain that to me. FINCHER: Ya, you know I said many times on the campaign trail I think what we need back in Washington are citizen legislators. We need to get back to the days, as much as we can, of the way our founders viewed our government. That this is not a career, this is not Stephen Fincher going to Washington and forgetting who I am and where I’m from and in touch with reality, the real people of the district. Me and my family keeping our insurance with the Farm Bureau keeps me in touch with the district and when the premiums go up I know it, when my health coverage changes I know it, it keeps me in touch with the free market. So we made that promise and I’m sticking to it. [WNWS, 1/31/11]

Immigration and Border Issues
Supported Border Wall and Increased Troops


In February 2011, Fincher said that borders needed to be secured with either a wall or more troops. “Financially, we cannot take what’s going on now,” Fincher said. “Our system can only hold up so much.” [The Tennessean, 2/05/11] Fincher Called for Eric Holder’s Resignation In November 2011, Fincher joined 27 other House members in calling for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation after the botched Fast and Furious operation by the ATF to counter weapons smuggling.
[Newsmax, 11/1/11]

Israel Labor and Working Family Issues
Fincher Said Cates Landing is a Major Job Building Priority In December 2011e, Fincher said that the Cates Landing project is a major priority. “The port project at Cates Landing in Lake County is a major job building priority of mine. West Tennessee needs jobs, and acquiring funding to open the port will help. I worked with port officials and the United States Department of Transportation authorities to ensure previously awarded grant funding that was authorized and appropriated in 2010, was obligated to the port project without delay.” [Tennessean, 12/27/11] Fincher’s Office was Scene of Postal Rally In September 2011, U.S. Postal Service union members gathered near Fincher’s office in Jackson to urge him vote for HR 1351, which would release $6.9 billion in pension obligations to replenish USPS coffers. Postal unions had targeted Republican representatives who so far had not supported the bill. In a statement, Fincher said, "short-term band aids will not fix the problem that USPS currently faces. It is important for Congress to act on real reforms that can help the post office function successfully for years to come, without putting taxpayers on the hook." Fincher’s spokesperson also added that the use of electronic and paper-free technology in recent years has resulted in "a significant decline" in the use of hand-delivered mail and "The USPS is expected to lose $10 billion this year alone, and to this point has no effective business model to reduce expenses." [Jackson Sun, 9/27/11; Orlando Sentinel, 9/27/11]

Other Social Issues
Jackson Seniors Expressed Concern About Cuts to Social Security and Medicare In December 2011, Jackson seniors expressed concerned that Social Security “With Social Security and Medicare potentially on the chopping block for federal budget reductions, Jackson senior citizens say they worry they will no longer be able to make ends meet […] Almost 94 percent of older Tennesseans count on Social Security to help pay their bills, said Karen Miller, an AARP

communications director. The average benefit is $13,500 a year. Without Social Security benefits, 350,337 Tennesseans would fall into poverty, according to an AARP fact sheet […] With reductions to those programs possible in the federal budget, Tennessee senior citizens say their livelihood is at stake.” Fincher Said He Signed a Pledge Not to Cut Social Security “U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Frog Jump, has said that budget reform that hurts the elderly is not the answer to cutting the more than $1.3 trillion budget deficit and repaying $14.9 trillion in debt. ‘I pledged to not cut Social Security,’ Fincher said in an e-mailed statement. ‘And I will keep my word.’” [Jackson Sun, 12/28/11] Fincher Proposed Nationally Expanding Florida’s Drug Test for Welfare Recipients In December 2011, Fincher was pressing to expand nationally Florida’s current law to require welfare recipients to be drug tested. “Did you hear that Florida's drug tests for welfare recipients revealed that a smaller percentage of them use drugs as compared to the general population? […]That's why U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Frog Jump, is pressing for federal legislation that would take Florida's plan national. Wait. That doesn't make sense […]There's no provision in his bill to pay for the states to administer the program. This would make it an unfunded federal mandate, something I thought the GOP hated.” [Commercial Appeal, opinion, 12/29/11] Fincher Proposed Nationally Expanding Florida’s Drug Test for Welfare Recipients In December 2011, Fincher said he was focusing his efforts on “getting Tennesseans back to work, removing overbearing regulations, lowering taxes, reducing the federal budget and protecting Medicare.” He cited his voted to accelerate Keystone XL pipeline, hold bureaucrats accountable, rein in the EPA, and cut wasteful spending. [Tennessean, 12/27/11] Fincher: Received a 63% from Heritage Action for America Based on 30 key votes from January-August 2011, Fincher received a 63% score from the Heritage Action for America. [Heritage Action for America, accessed 9/6/11]

Personal Finance
Accused of Downplaying Personal Debt While Campaigning for Congress In June 2011, the Washington Post reported that a number of freshman Republican lawmakers, swept into the office of fixing our nation’s debt problem, have some fiscal issues of their own. Acccording to the Washington Post, “Members of the firebrand class of Republican freshmen on Capitol Hill — elected on a pledge to attack the U.S. debt problem — have, in some cases, accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt, according to financial documents released Wednesday. Among the 87 new GOP members of Congress, the documents show, at least 30 had liabilities totaling $50,000 or


more in 2010 […] Among those with significant debt was Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tenn.), who had been accused of playing down his debt during the campaign. The disclosure documents show that he is carrying $1.6 million to $6.4 million in loans relating to his family’s 2,500-acre farm in Frog Jump, Tenn.” A spokesperson for Fincher said that “the loans were incurred to finance farming operations, and that some of them were taken out by Fincher’s father and also signed by the lawmaker.” [Washington Post,

Previously Had No Assets The Tennessean reported that “His previous statement, in 2009, reported no assets and about $60,000 in income, raising questions as to how the farmer and Gospel singer was able to lend his campaign $250,000 last year. That led to a Federal Election Commission investigation, which is pending. Fincher's new report also listed between $1.1 million and $2.5 million in liabilities, mostly for loans on farm equipment. His 2009 report listed no liabilities.” [WBIR, 6/15/11] Filed 2011 Financial Disclosure In 2011, Stephen Fincher reported earnings of at least $103,882 for the preceding year, 2010. Fincher holds assets valued between $1,115,006 and $2,250,000. Fincher’s reported liabilities were valued between $1.6 million - $6.4 million in liabilities. The following table illustrates Stephen Fincher’s earned income for calendar year 2010: Source of Income Stephen and Lynn Fincher Farms TOTAL Asset / Source of Income Stephen and Lynn Fincher farms (JT) Amount of Income Amount of Income Type of Income (2010) (2009) $103,882 $124,016 NA $103,882 Value of Asset $124,016 Amount of Income (2010) $100,000$1,000,000 Amount of Income (2009) $100,000$1,000,000 Type of Income


Farm Income





$100,000$1,000,000 Amount of Liability (2009)*


Type of Liability

Amount of Liability (2010)*

Gates Banking Agricredit Acceptance (JT) Gates Banking Agricredit Acceptance (JT)

Loan on Crops/Equipment Loan on Thrrow/2 Catters/Tractor Loan on Grain Buggy

N/A $250,001-$500,000 N/A $100,001-$250,000 $15,001-$50,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A None

Loan on Plow and Gator $15,001-$50,000 Loan on Planter and **Deere and Co (JT) Row Crow Tractor $100,001-$250,000 Helena Chemical (JT) Crop Inputs $1,000,001-$5,000,000 Deere and Co Loan on Planter $50,001-$100,000 Loan on Row Crop Deere and Co (JT) Tractor $100,001-$250,000 Ford Credit Loan on Ford F-150 10,000-15,000 $1.6 million - $6.4 TOTAL million


*Please Note: In his original 2009 PFD, he did not note any liabilities. He did not list any liabilities in 2010 either. This was added his 2010 amended PFD filed in May 2011. Position Proprietor
[2011 Personal Financial Disclosure, filed 5/16/11]

Organization Stephen and Lynn Fincher farms

Fincher Had Up to $6.4 million in Liabilities In June 2011, The Washington Post reported that Fincher had up to $6.4 Million in Liabilities. According to the Post, “Members of the firebrand class of Republican freshmen on Capitol Hill — elected on a pledge to attack the U.S. debt problem — have, in some cases, accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt, according to financial documents released Wednesday. Among the 87 new GOP members of Congress, the documents show, at least 30 had liabilities totaling $50,000 or more in 2010. Those debts included large mortgages on investment properties, as well as student loans and credit card balances. At least seven freshmen had credit card debt exceeding $15,000. Among those with significant debt was Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tenn.), who had been accused of playing down his debt during the campaign. The disclosure documents show that he is carrying $1.6 million to $6.4 million in loans relating to his family’s 2,500-acre farm in Frog Jump, Tenn.” [Washington Post, 6/15/11]

Seniors Issues
Fincher: Retirement Age Will Not be Raised In February 2011, Fincher indicated the retirement age would not be raised in order to keep Social Security solvent. He said, “We are going to keep our promises to our seniors.” [The Tennessean, 2/05/11] Fincher Supported Continuing Social Security


In November 2011, Fincher said “erasing Social Security, proposed next year for the first time in three years, is not the answer.” "The cost of living has gone up. Groceries have gone up. Gasoline has gone up. Energy has gone up. […] So we've got to make sure that the promises we've made to the most vulnerable in our society, that they're taken care of," referring to “senior citizens and veterans.” [Jackson Sun, 11/1/11]

Stem Cells Tax Issues
Said We Must Make Tax Code Flatter and Fairer In December 2011, Fincher said that we must make tax code flatter and fairer. “‘We’ve lost too many jobs overseas and in the coming months, we’ve got to deal with the tax code in Washington. It’s just plain broken with its thousands of pages. We’ve got to simplify it and make it flatter and fairer. We’ve got to make the environment friendlier to job creators. In the coming year, we’re going to see our corporate tax rate become the highest in the world.’” [Northwest Tennessee Today, 12/30/11] Fincher Said Eliminating Capital Gains Taxes Is A Good Step in the Right Direction In December 2011, Fincher said eliminating capital gains taxes is a good step in the right direction. “Earlier in the year, Fincher -- who left assignments with the House Agriculture and Transportation committees to take a spot on Financial Services -- introduced a bill to suspend collection of capital gains taxes for 10 years. ‘Taking capital gains to zero, we think, is a good step in the right direction of keeping more money in peoples' pockets,’ he said.” [Knox News, 12/27/11] Fincher Proposed Simpler, Long-Term Tax System In October 2011, Fincher proposed a “simpler, long-term tax system, to reform regulatory policy that he said makes the U.S. less competitive when attracting business.” [Jackson Sun, 11/1/11]

Tea Party
Announced $13 Million Grant for the Port of Cates Landing Project in Lake County In March 2011, Fincher announced that the Port of Cates Landing Project in Lake County was going to be funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation at the price of $13 million. He said: This port project, we knew it was going to be vital to bringing jobs, hundreds of new jobs to this area. We just wanted to make sure that we could do everything possible to create jobs, and this was a part we could play and I did everything I could and we were


successful. I’ve got a great staff and a great group of folks who helped me and I can’t say enough about them.” [Dyersburg State Gazette, 3/18/11] Fincher: We Weren’t Sent to Comprise In February 2011, Fincher told a town hall, "We're not so hard nosed that we can't compromise, but again, we weren't sent up there to compromise. We were sent up there to lead." [The Jackson Sun, 2/01/11] Fincher’s Taken Heat from Tea Party Members In May 2011, Fincher told the Jackson Sun that “he's taken heat from tea party members in his district because he voted to extend government spending to avert a government shutdown. Many tea party activists thought Republicans in Congress should have let the government close to force Democratic agreement on deeper spending cuts.” [Jackson Sun, 05/08/2011] Fincher May Not Be “Pure” Enough For Tea Party Activists In June 2011, the Washington Post reported that Fincher’s acceptance of $200,000 in farm subsidies per year makes him a difficult candidate to support for some tea party activists. According to the Post, “Stephen Fincher could be a perfect ‘tea party’ candidate: a gospel-singing cotton farmer from this tiny hamlet in western Tennessee, seeking to right the listing ship of Washington with a commitment to lower taxes and smaller government. The detail? Fincher accepts roughly $200,000 in farm subsidies each year. Some tea party activists say Fincher, a Republican candidate in Tennessee's 8th Congressional District, isn't ‘pure’ enough to deserve the backing of a movement built on the idea that government must spend less.” [Washington Post, 04/01/2011] Reason Fincher Came to Congress In August 2011, Fincher explained why he came to Congress, saying, “I came to Congress on the promise that I would change the way we do business in Washington and use common sense ideas to put America back on the right path. Tonight is proof that ‘business as usual’ in Washington is no longer acceptable. President Obama can no longer depend on a blank check from Congress to continue his spending spree. [Stephen Fincher Press Release, 8/2/11] Commended Pat Boone In July 2011, Fincher explained that “Pat Boone is an icon in this country…He’s not a guy who’s going to pull the wool over people’s eyes. He’s going to tell them the truth.” [Politico, 7/31/2011] Introduced Legislation to Suspend Capital Gains Tax for Ten Years In September 2011, Fincher introduced legislation to suspend the capital gains tax for ten years.


“I will also introduce the Invest in America Act would suspend the capital gains tax for 10 years. These bills would provide more certainty to the economy and encourage investment and growth. I encourage both sides of the aisle to support these bills and other common sense solutions to help put Americans back to work.” [Fincher Press Release , 9/12/11]

Transportation Issues
Transportation a High Priority for Fincher In December 2011, Fincher said that transportation is a high priority for him. “Transportation issues and opportunities are high on the list of priorities for Fincher, he says. ‘I-69 is going to change lives in northwest Tennessee in ways we can’t begin to appreciate yet.’” [Northwest
Tennessee Today, 12/30/11]

Fincher Voted to Cut Essential Air Service In July 2011, Fincher voted on to eliminate funding for Essential Air Service. According to The Hill, “Under the House bill, EAS subsidies would only be made available to small airports that are more than 90 miles away from medium or large airports.” [H.R. 2553, Vote #611, 7/20/11; The Hill, 7/20/11] According to WBIR, “Eliminating the Essential Air Service program probably would cause Jackson to lose its only commercial air service. The program provides an annual $2.2 million subsidy to TennesseeSkies, which provides three flights a day from McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport to Nashville. Jackson had no air service for 18 months until TennesseeSkies began operating in August 2009.” [WBIR, 2/13/11] Representative Fincher voted for the four-year reauthorization to reduce the Federal Aviation Administration’s funding to FY 2008 levels. According to USA Today, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 “will terminate the EAS program on Oct. 1st, 2013, in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.” [HR 658, Vote #220 , 4/01/11; USA Today, 3/30/11]

Veteran Issues
Local Leaders Encouraged Fincher to Help in Funding Local Veterans Home In 2011, Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers called on Fincher to help local officials in Montgomery County secure the funds needed to build a veterans home. [Leaf Chronicle, 03/02/11]

Women’s Issues