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Local drama: Tennessee Speaker of the House
Posted by: deckeda
Date: May 10, 2019 01:23PM
Most of my notes below are from (a USA Today paper) and (Scripps TV), both of which have been hammering Speaker of the House Glen Casada over his involvement with, and support of, his recently fired Chief of Staff.

The local ABC affiliate (Nexstar/Tribune) has one small story on their page. The only links on the story page are for a poll asking readers what they think and another that quotes someone who's sure Casada will do the right thing. Again, this is owned by Nexstar.

The local NBC affiliate has a little more maybe on their site. (Meredith; they dabble in about 15 stations nationwide but might sell them off).

I couldn't find any mention of Casada on the front page of the local Fox affiliate.

May 2: The story of the altered email picture

An activist had been seeking a meeting with TN House Speaker Glen Casada about a Confederate statue. His contact was with the Speaker’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren. Cothren stalled him and claimed emails were not reaching him due to spelling errors that did not exist.

Late February, the activist confronted the Speaker and eventually tossed a cup into his elevator, earning him an arrest for assault.

The activist was released on bond under a no-contact order, Feb 28. The following day, Cothren forwarded a photo of a paper copy of an email received from the activist (and copied to the Speaker), to the DA as evidence of the activist breaking the no-contact order only one day after being initiated. Violating the bond would cause the activist to be jailed.

The activist learned his bond would be revoked and obviously complained to the DA, proving the email was not sent by him on Mar. 1 It had been sent before his arrest.

When the DA began asking questions about that, Cothren backed down, blaming unexplainable computer glitches. The bond was not revoked. The Speaker’s response, after several days, was to double down in support of Cothren.

May 3: The racist texts
A “former acquaintance” of Chief of Staff Cothren provided some texts with racist language the day before to Ch. 5 News. Speaker Casada was included on those texts. The day after, Democrats wanted answers. Speaker Casada’s answer was that the texts were fake and that he stood behind Cothren’s character. Cothren says the texts are not his. Casada says he didn’t receive any such texts but will have IT look into it etc.

May 6: More texts revealed
The weekend has passed, and News Ch. 5 has informed Cothren they are also in possession of more texts sent by him about taking drugs while on vacation and while on the jobto his boss, the Speaker. And oh by the way would you like to see the selfie you took while high on cocaine?

Cothren and Casada hold a joint press conference next morning. Yes he (Cothren) sent the texts. It was a bad time. Stress, ego played roles. His boss said everyone deserves a shot at redemption and so on. (A few years earlier, Casada was however a supporter of the ever-popular legislation to keep welfare recipients from benefits if convicted of drugs). Cothren thanks God and the presser is over.

Cothren resigns that evening, but sadly doesn't take the opportunity to say it's so he can "spend more time with family".

May 7: Casada interview
Some additional texts between Cothren and Casada described lewd behavior toward women. Casada goes on the radio to say it was, wait for it ... “locker room talk” <<-- a direct quote (but he’s sorry.)

In the interview he denies knowing his (now former) aide did drugs and sexually pursued interns and lobbyists. Claims he has overwhelming support still.

May 7: Black Caucus
... demands Tennessee Bureau of Investigation examine why former aide to Casada tried to jail an activist. The first calls for Casada’s resignation occur.

May 7: Gov. Lee
... avoiding this mess at all costs, finally releases a statement about how “we” should all do right yada yada. Non-committal, vague platitudes. No mention of Casada nor Cothren. The Governor and Speaker share the same Party affiliation (by coincidence. probably).

May 8: The recorded phone call

Casada talked on the phone May 6 with the "former associate" who leaked the texts to Newschannel 5 … unaware the call was being recorded. During the conversation he realized the person on the other end of the phone was who leaked the texts. The recording proves Casada knew the texts were real all along, then went on-air the day after the phone call, claiming they were not. The recording was leaked the day after the radio interview. The radio host is understandably outraged and also calls for Casada’s resignation.

May 8: House Democrats
... call for investigation about possible eavesdropping. Committee meeting rooms are setup with audio/video feeds for broadcasting online and for the Speaker and Clerk to monitor when needed. Earlier, former aide Cothren had bragged to a reporter he could listen in at ANY TIME to private conversations. Casada denies all. House Dems openly worry their offices are bugged. (Forget to mention, Casada is Republican, "not that it matters.")

May 8: The first Republican
... calls for Casada to step down. “I am thoroughly disgusted with racism, objectifying women or being so insecure that you have to spy on people.” (It was also reported that Casada has a white noise machine in his office for secrecy, but says that's perfectly normal to drown out loud sounds.)

May 8: Images appear
... and are published, from a few years ago showing Casada and Cothren outside an exclusive club, very chummy. They appear drunk or very relaxed.

May 9: The FBI
... is now investigating the House’s passage of a controversial school voucher bill. Poised to perhaps fail, Casada gained votes at the 11th hour by offering ??? in exchange for votes. The FBI wants to know if any monies etc or other tangibles were promised.

May 9: The Lt. Gov
.. says “if he were a Senator” he’d be calling for Casada to resign. But it's not his call to make, so whatevs I guess. The Lt. Governor and Speaker share the same Party affiliation (by coincidence. probably).

As of yesterday 5 fellow Republicans think Casada should go.

May 10: Casada is skipping meetings, avoiding reporters. The Tennessee Firearms Association no longer endorses him. The Representative from Knoxville who switched his vote to support the school voucher plan for Casada (thereby securing its passage in the House) has now called for his caucus to meet to decide Casada's fate.

The Knox rep who didn't want to vote for the voucher plan is no saint; he agreed to vote "yes" if Knox County was excluded from the plan. Too bad for other parts of TN?

Governor Lee now takes a similar approach as the Lt. Gov, saying that if Casada were in his administration he’d ask him to leave. (The Governor can convene a meeting about that, but won’t. There are limits to going against Party, after all.)

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn says the texts are "disgusting," but as with most others, doesn't mention how Casada's former staffer tried to send an innocent man to jail.

U.S Senator Lamar Alexander is probably napping somewhere.
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Re: Local drama: Tennessee Speaker of the House
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 10, 2019 01:29PM
The hypocrisy of these folks is stunning.
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Re: Local drama: Tennessee Speaker of the House
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: May 10, 2019 01:41PM
These jokers - always getting hoisted on their own petards.

Speaking of which, how are Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring doing these days?

Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Local drama: Tennessee Speaker of the House
Posted by: deckeda
Date: May 10, 2019 07:15PM
These jokers - always getting hoisted on their own petards.

Speaking of which, how are Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring doing these days?

The mystery provider of the texts is interesting here, and obviously the reason for the brouhaha (faked photo of email excepted). It's gotta be someone who was considered a confidant. Former legislator? Someone they both know pretty well that turned on them. No one's saying right now. Be that as it may, that person must have been harboring serious doubt about them to be holding onto these things for some time, perhaps waiting for the right moment.

As for VA I think those guys have two advantages. One is that they're higher up the ladder/more independent which makes them harder to get rid of. The other is that they can be shown to actually be helping people in the right way today (I think), something Glen Casada and Cade Cothren here truly cannot.
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