TN State Senator Brian Kelsey indicted for alleged campaign finance scheme

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee State Senator has been indicted for a finance scheme following a lengthy investigation by the FBI.

A Nashville club owner was also included in the release from the U.S. Department of Justice. They were indicted for violating campaign finance laws as part of an alleged scheme to benefit Kelsey’s 2016 campaign for U.S. Congress.

According to court documents, Kelsey, 43, of Germantown, and Joshua Smith, 44, of Nashville, conspired to and did secretly and unlawfully funnel what is commonly referred to as “soft money” from Kelsey’s Tennessee State Senate campaign committee to his authorized federal campaign committee.

Kelsey and others also caused a national political organization to make illegal, excessive contributions to Kelsey’s federal campaign committee by secretly coordinating with the organization on advertisements supporting Kelsey’s federal candidacy and to cause false reports of contributions and expenditures to be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). , The indictment alleges that Kelsey, Smith, and others orchestrated the concealed movement of $91,000 to a national political organization for the purpose of funding advertisements that urged voters to support Kelsey in the August 2016 primary election and that the conspirators caused the political organization to make $80,000 worth of contributions to Kelsey’s federal campaign committee in the form of coordinated expenditures,” the release said.

Kelsey and Smith are charged with conspiracy to defraud the FEC, illegally transferring “soft money” as a federal candidate and his agent, and illegally transferring “soft money” as a state officeholder and his agent. Kelsey is also charged with making excessive contributions to a federal campaign and accepting excessive contributions. The defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on Nov. 5 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffery S. Frensley of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Late Monday evening, the TN Democratic party and the Shelby Co. Democratic party released a statement on the indictment of State Sen. Brian Kelsey. See the statement below:

The indictment of Republican State Senator Brian Kelsey is a reminder of the corruption that exists within our current politics, driven by campaign finance greed that often leads to unlawful activity. The Kelsey indictment is concerning and speaks to the need for campaign finance reform to eliminate future crimes in our state and across the nation.

If these allegations are true, it can’t be missed that Sen. Kelsey has been one of the most vocal advocates of a law and order agenda but has not held himself to those same standards. Like any other citizen, he will face a jury of his peers and we hope that the legal process is thorough and fair. We are a country of laws and no one is above the law, especially not a State Senator.

Our leadership will continue following new developments closely and will act as things precipitate.