State Reps. Glen Casada and Jeremy Durham backed former Williamson County School Board member Susan Curlee and the rest of the Tea Party board members elected in 2014. Casada leads the House Republican Caucus, which (among other things) makes appointments to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (TREF).
In December 2014, shortly after Susan Curlee filed the complaint against Williamson Strong, Casada announced that we would be fined. Despite the fact that the Registry departed from their entire history and precedent in deciding our case, Casada knew it was going to happen.
Did he have a crystal ball? A Ouija board?
Rep. Casada recently told the Home Page that he had nothing to do with the Curlee’s case against Williamson Strong or the prosecution of the case with TREF.
But emails released by the court don’t bear that out.
Documents that Susan Curlee fought hard to keep secret show that Curlee kept Casada in the loop of the complaint process, that Curlee told Registry staff that Casada told her to contact them, and that Curlee asked Casada if he knew anyone on the Registry and if he would influence the Registry.
In response to a subpoena related to Curlee’s election finance complaint against Williamson Strong, former board member Susan Curlee was ordered to produce all communications and documents mentioning any of us as individuals and/or mentioning Williamson Strong and/or related in any way to her complaint filed with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. Curlee and her attorneys fought the subpoena; however, she was ultimately ordered to provide these documents and communications for the time period of May 2014 to June 2015.
Despite what we believe is an obviously incomplete document production (no emails between board members after the August 2014 election, no emails about the March-July 2015 Hillsboro investigation), Curlee produced an astounding 988 pages of communications – all about us.
Additional facts from Curlee’s documents and testimony
Curlee was close with Casada and had consulted with him early on in her pursuit of a school board seat. She said she pulled papers to run in early 2014 and consulted with him around that time.
As soon as Williamson Strong started, before we had written a thing about Curlee, Curlee had investigated us. She wrote to Casada, telling him that Jennifer Smith had, on her personal Facebook page, endorsed Casada’s opponent in the Republican primary. Casada replied:
“Thanks, Susan. jennifer is a liberal and a dem! If you find any concrete evidence that looney is involved in supporting or endorsing any candidate, please let me know! It is a class c felony if he uses his office for political purposes! Glen”
[Note: Jennifer Smith is actually a lifelong Republican.]
Shortly before Curlee filed her complaint, she worked with her husband to get information from the Registry regarding legal and illegal activity. As soon as she received info from the Registry, Curlee forwarded it to Casada without comment.
On December 8, 2014, Curlee filed her complaint against Williamson Strong. We received it on December 14. The first media mention appeared on December 16.
The day after Susan Curlee filed the complaint, she sent Drew Rawlins, long-time Executive Director of the TREF, an email with the subject matter “Representative Casada suggested contacting you.”
In late December, two things happened:
Casada met with Rick Wimberly regarding the upcoming legislative session. Casada told Wimberly that Williamson Strong would be fined.
Susan Curlee emailed Casada asking him if he knows anyone on the Registry and if he could influence the Registry. While this is clearly a follow-up, there is no other email provided.
“Glen, I’ve submitted a second set of support documents to the Registry of Campaign Ethics & Finance. If you know any of the members of the Registry, I would really appreciate any support or influence to hear the complaint seriously & objectively.
“And I’m not done yet. If you have some time, I would like to meet with you and Debbie and review what I have. It is not pretty. There will be at least 2 additional packets sent to the Registry before the hearing. Each one becomes ‘public record.’”
“…please give me a call and let’s discuss.”
On January 4, 2015, Curlee copied Casada on an email to the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, the Registry, and the Comptroller of the Treasury reporting numerous conspiracy theories.
At the May hearing, Registry member Justin Pitt had been replaced by Tom Morton, who said nothing, but voted with Tom Lawless to fine Williamson Strong $20,000 in his first meeting. Williamson County Republican Party Executive Director (and Curlee backer) Jean Barwick wrote to Curlee that day:
“It’s good for our side that Justin Pitt had rolled off that board before this hearing. Very liberal.”
Justin Pitt of Franklin was the previous appointee of the House Republican Caucus which replaced him with Morton. Rep. Glen Casada is Chair of the House Republican Caucus.
Curlee testified that when she received her subpoena in March 2016, she reached out to Reps. Casada and Durham. She also said members of their office told her they would decline to get involved. Curlee said she could not remember for sure with whom she spoke, the date of the conversation, or which email address she used.
The bottom line is that Susan Curlee was in contact with Rep. Glen Casada and to a lesser extent former Rep. Jeremy Durham throughout her dealings with the Registry about Williamson Strong.