Tennessee Republican candidates who have received campaign contributions from a prominent Middle Tennessee family owning furniture-store chain D.T. McCall and Sons should return the money immediately, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said.
The Carthage-based business has been under investigation for sales-tax irregularities, according to a media report from the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Owners of the store have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Tennessee Republican candidates over the last few years, records from the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance indicate.
“I would urge any candidate who has received money from McCall PAC, or from any of the owners of the store in question, to give it back,” Forrester said. “This investigation now appears to involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Any candidate who keeps those campaign contributions cannot in good faith tell voters that he or she will not be obligated to special interests.”
Albert “A.J.” McCall II is a co-owner of the Carthage-based furniture and appliance store and has contributed ,000 to McCall PAC, a political action committee created earlier this year listing him as an officer, according to state records. His father and co-owner of the store, Albert McCall, contributed ,000 to McCall PAC last month.
“If these allegations prove to be true, then the McCalls and their business partners have breached the public’s trust by failing to report revenues they collected on behalf of the state,” Forrester said. “All of us have to pay our fair share for necessary projects like roads, schools for our children and other services vital to our communities.
“But not all of us can afford to pump tens of thousands of dollars into political campaigns.”
Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the PAC include state Sens. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster, who works for the furniture store.
Beavers has received at least ,000 from the PAC, and Ramsey, who was a Republican gubernatorial candidate during the summer’s Primary elections, received ,500. Weaver received ,000 from the PAC last month. Additionally, a political action committee formed by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of College Grove dubbed CAS-PAC, received ,500 from McCall PAC.
Numerous other Republican state House and state Senate candidates have received political contributions from the PAC and family members of the owners of D.T. McCall and Sons.
They include state House candidate Tim Wirgau of Buchanan, state House candidate Mark Pody of Lebanon, state Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, state Sen. Diane Black of Gallatin, state Senate candidate Don McLeary of Humboldt and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam.
Last year, A.J. McCall announced his intention to run for the state Senate seat held by Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet who considered a run for Wilson County mayor. Beavers, however, abandoned her mayoral campaign in March of this year after McCall abandoned his run for the state Senate.
“Mr. McCall cannot win political office for himself, so he and his family try to buy the seat for others,” Forrester said. “It now appears the McCalls should have kept some of their campaign contributions to pay for legal fees and penalties they likely will face.”