Beavers’ campaign contributions questioned

Xavier Smith • Apr 12, 2018 at 3:43 PM

The campaign contributions to Wilson County mayoral candidate Mae Beavers have raised questions and led to an ethics complaint.

The questions surround Beavers’ latest financial disclosures, which show a movement of funds between several accounts associated with Beavers. The funds could indicate an attempt to circumvent rules relative to campaign funding, which, if found true, would be illegal.

Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, withdrew from this year’s gubernatorial race earlier this year after she resigned from the state Senate in August to focus on her campaign for governor. She announced her intentions to run for the Wilson County mayor’s seat in March.

She donated $122,000 from her gubernatorial campaign to the Patriot PAC on March 30. The donation came one day after the creation of the PAC, which is chaired by Beavers’ husband, Jerry, and John Brown.

Beavers’ donation was also the only donation the PAC received.

Two of the three expenditures reported by the Patriot PAC were related to Beavers, including a $7,800 donation to “Mae Beavers for Mayor.”

The shifting of funds could indicate an attempt to direct funds she received as a gubernatorial candidate to support her mayoral race through the PAC as a conduit, which would be illegal.

According to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance rules, there are several factors the office takes into consideration when determining if a conduit was used to circumvent campaign contribution laws, including the number of sources and donors, the length of time the PAC was active, the timing of the relationship between contributions received and the expenditures made and more.

State law allows state candidates to transfer any excess campaign funds to any future state or local campaign that the candidate establishes, which means Beavers could use campaign funds received during her gubernatorial campaign after the August primary and Wilson County General Election. She would not be allowed to use the funds prior.

Beavers served as Wilson County commissioner from 1990-94 before she served in both houses of the Tennessee legislature until last year. 

Beavers served as chair of the Tennessee Republican delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last year. Beavers sponsored several bills during her time in the legislature that drew both support and criticism.

Calls by The Democrat to Beavers for comment were not immediately returned.

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