Phil Williams has the story that Gov. Bill Haslam's trusted advisor has escaped penalty from the state.
The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance threw out the complaint filed by former state Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester. He had alleged that Haslam broke state law when he did not disclose payments to lobbyist Tom Ingram.
Forrester's complaint was filed after NewsChannel 5 Investigates uncovered emails revealing that Ingram continued to do campaign work, planning for the governor's next election, while he was on the governor's private payroll.
Campaign expenditures, by law, must be publicly disclosed.
Forrester filed copies of NewsChannel 5's stories, but did not attach the emails.
Haslam's campaign counsel, Joseph Woodruff, told the Registry of Election Finance that he had never seen the emails, adding that he wasn't even sure they existed.
Those emails have been posted on NewsChannel5.com since July 11th.
Regardless of the merits of the case, did Woodruff really say that he didn't know if they existed?
I know the Haslam folks wish Scoopageddon would go away as he just keeps breaking news that embarrasses the administration, but seriously? They couldn't find something that they have access to?
Whether you think it's bad lawyering or a bad attempt to smear a journalist who's a pain in your side, the optics of the situation are pretty awful when the questions raised about the people defending Haslam are "is it a lie" or "is it willful ignorance"?