Update: Todd postpones fundraiser, claims it was all a big misunderstanding.
Rep. Curry Todd is throwing a fundraiser for himself a week after his first court appearance on drunken driving and gun charges—and the state lobbyist association is helping circulate the invitations. Isn't that nice? Mark Greene, lobbyist for the lobbyists, says the association would do it for any legislator, as if that makes it OK. It's business as usual in the smug club of insiders at the state Capitol. Any entrepreneurial young public servant who was thinking about challenging Todd in next year's elections needs to think again. They're circling the wagons in Nashville.
In other news from Bizarro World this morning, Andrea Zelinski reports Todd violated a state law that requires motorists to submit to a blood-alcohol test if asked by law officers. A retired policeman himself, Todd was obviously angling to beat this rap and not too stupid drunk to give evidence against himself.
In a surprising admission, House Speaker Beth Harwell says she didn't even consider the particulars of the accusations against Todd when she was thinking about whether to strip him of his leadership position. “I had not given that thought," she tells Zelinski. What did she consider? Not what's best for Tennessee, but "what is best for the General Assembly as a whole."
In Harwell's mind, we guess what's best for the General Assembly is another term for Harwell as speaker, which would explain why she wrung her hands for nearly a week until Todd—a key member of her coalition—finally agreed to "step aside" as a committee chairman.