Tennessee Registry of Election Finance recently received a sworn complaint that involves State Representative Paul Sherrell and checks he may have written to White County volunteer fire departments.
The complaint, which was filed by White County resident Dale Walker and was received by the registry, on April 5, makes the claim that Sherrell wrote a check in the amount of $100 payable to Cassville Volunteer Fire Department but then asked for $90 in change at the department’s fundraiser breakfast held March 19, 2022.
The complaint further states the Cassville Fire Department’s chief, Teddy Stockton, reportedly told Walker that Sherrell may have done the same thing at both the Eastland Fire Department and the Cherry Creek Fire Department. While the claim states that Stockton has a copy of the check written to the Cassville Fire Department, it offers no solid proof of such checks being written to any other entities.
When the complaint was filed with Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, Sherrell answered the complaint with a simple statement directed to Bill Young, the executive director of the State of Tennessee’s Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance Ethics Commission.
Dear Mr. Young,
This letter is in regards to the complaint filed against me. The cash received from the $100 dollar checks was not retained for personal use. It was used to pay for breakfast/meals at campaign events.
Respectfully, Rep. Paul Sherrell
The registry reviewed the complaint and determined that it falls under their jurisdiction pursuant to T.C.A. 2-1-205. They also said that while Walker did not specifically say why the transactions may have been improper, he implied that the $90 that was returned to Sherrell after deducting the $10 for the breakfast may have been used for personal use despite having been derived originally from his campaign fund.
At the time of the complaint, the transactions would not have yet been filed with the registry as reports from the first quarter (1/15/22 through 3/31/22) were not due until April 12, 2022. With this in mind, the registry put the complaint on the agenda for their May 18, 2022, meeting and requested that the financial reports and any answer from Sherrell be available to the commission at that time.
“The board voted unanimously to take no action,” Lance Frizzell, the assistant director of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, stated immediately following the May 18 meeting.
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