Tennessee Ethics Commission and Lobbyist Audits

What does a lobbyist audit look like?  Tennessee is a one of a few states that makes its audits available online.  Meanwhile, a controversy is stirring about the Tennessee Ethics Commission and its enforcement stance regarding alleged violations arising from the audits.

The Tennessee Ethics Commission voted against trying to penalize lobbyists who were found to have committed various minor violations of state law during last year’s random audits. But the motion included the possibility of seeking penalties in the future.

After that vote, the commission then decided to make public a confidential “memorandum of legal advice” that recommends against “an aggressive approach to regulation” because, in essence, that might make influential people mad at a time when some in the Legislature want to abolish the commission.

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