Photo: In this May 2, 2019, file photo, House Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, left, talks with Cade Cothren, right, his chief of staff, during a House session in Nashville, Tenn. Cothren has resigned amid allegations of racist and sexually explicit texts.
Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey / AP
Published January 26, 2021
Earlier this month we reported on FBI Raids taking place at the homes of local representatives including Glen Casada and his aide Cade Cothren.
Rumors started circulating after photos of detectives leaving homes and offices with boxes of evidence were released to the public.
The most widely accepted theory was that the search and seizure was related to a money laundering scheme that was used by Casada’s campaign to ensure his own victory and that of his chosen officials.
Casada’s campaigns have been riddled with controversy and scandal for many years now. He resigned as House speaker in 2019 after being tied to racist and sexist remarks on social media made by or with his aide.
Local lawmakers also objected to Casada’s aggressive administrative style, including what was reported to be a “kill list” emanating from his office designed to “kill” certain legislation in the state.
However, it is the ongoing connection that Cothren maintains with the campaign which has garnered a great deal of attention.
Cothren helped run Casada’s initial campaign funding group, CAS-PAC, but was then also assigned work on behalf of the Faith Freedom Family Fund (FFFF).
CAS-PAC produced a series of attack ads in 2018 through an organization called Red Ivory Strategies against Casada’s republican rival at the time, using the House Republican and GOP Caucus money against members of its own party.
Casada then hired the head of the organization for a figurehead position when the campaign was successful.
The most recent scheme brings into question the campaign run against Rick Tillis that was brought to court as recently as June.
An audit of Casada’s campaign finances found close to 300 charges with no receipts or other documentation, totaling nearly $100.000.
At the time, Casada maintained his innocence stating, “What do they say in the courtroom? Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I was under the impression that if it was under $100, I didn’t need a receipt. And it has led to a whole, whole, whole list of problems.”
The Registry Board was troubled by this and responded by reiterating principles:
“The failure to report is an evasion, even if it’s intentional or not, it’s an evasion of the reporting requirement, of the disclosure requirement, of the rules that are put in place so that public knows what is being spent on political campaigns.”
We have since gained further insight and learned that lawmakers connected to the attack ads against incumbent Rick Tillis have spent upwards of $200,000 to unidentified, small agencies.
Tillis butted heads with Casada before he was ousted and it appeared that an anonymous group was running the ads to remove him from office.
“I would certainly like to get to the bottom of this because anyone that’s funding an attack ad or an attack campaign on an opponent, without showing who they are, it reeks of political corruption,” Tillis expressed in response.
The identity of that anonymous and successful attack ad campaign group seems now almost inextricably linked to Casada.
It was revealed that the ads were run by the FFFF, where Casada’s aide was assigned after his resignation.
The template for the mailers appear to be identical to those run by CAS-PAC, simply updated with a new opponent.
While it is certainly plausible for a group to copy such work, the connection with Cothren raised many questions and one more detail has recently been revealed that digs a little deeper.
Postal information was the same for both attack schemes. The postal permit number led to a tiny and essentially unknown company called Phoenix Solutions out of New Mexico. Phoenix Solutions has reportedly completed campaign work for a number of Republican candidates.
Investigations are ongoing but allegations of money laundering, fraudulent reporting, and financial corruption in administrative offices has certainly shed light on the inner-workings of our elected officials.