By CLIFF HIGHTOWER
Former State Rep. Jeremy Durham disagrees with reports of a $44,000 discrepancy in his latest campaign finance disclosure form.
Durham told the Home Pages on Friday that any discrepancy in dollar amounts exists because the state won’t tell him what the balance should be on forms covering campaign funds from Jan. 16-June 30.
“They’ve got to give me the beginning number … I just didn’t know what to put,” Durham said of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.
The Home Pages has been unable to reach Registry executive director Drew Rawlins for comment on the matter.
Online financial records show Durham, a Franklin Republican, reported a beginning balance of $109,147.39 on Jan. 16 and an ending balance of $65,204.94 on June 30.
But Durham told the Home Pages he made no expenditures during that period and doesn’t know what his beginning balance should be because the Registry fined him $465,000 after it audited his prior disclosures. The fine was the largest in state history for the Registry to levy.
“I just went through the most lengthy audit in history.”
Durham, 33 and married since 2011, has been controversial since January 2016 when he was accused of sexually harassing three women. The Tennessee General Assembly in September, 2016 expelled him after Attorney General Herbert Slatery reported a pattern of behavior in Durham’s “interactions” with 22 women. That report included a claim that Durham had sexual intercourse with a 20-year-old woman in his office.
Durham’s troubles continued that month when a Blount County, Tenn., Sheriff’s deputy escorted Durham from the Sept. 24, 2016 Tennessee-Florida football game after an altercation with a Florida fan.
Durham told the Home Pages there were discrepancies in his campaign disclosures over the years because he relied on advisors to properly report his finances – that’s why Durham said he is waiting for the state registry to give him the proper balance.
“We both agree it’s not the right number.”
In his latest disclosure, Durham wrote “Ask Moeck” in response to a question about the correct amount. Jay Moeck is the Registry’s auditor who conducted the investigation of Durham’s finances. Some state officials complained to other media about that comment.
“All I said was ‘Ask Moeck,’” Durham said. “I don’t know how you take that as offensive.”
Cliff Hightower can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CliffHightower.