NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A recent analysis of state campaign finance records show at least seven Tennessee lawmakers collectively spent more than $30,000 in campaign money on tickets to professional sporting events since 2003.
The Tennessean found the tickets were to Tennessee Titans and Memphis Grizzlies games, and that Democratic Rep. Larry Miller of Memphis spent the most: $12,836.50. Of that amount, $8,378 was for Titans tickets, and $4,458.50 was used to purchase Grizzlies tickets.
Miller said what he did was “within the rules,” and he’s right.
Although state law bans the use of campaign funds for tickets to sporting events, concerts or other similar activities, there’s an exemption that allows essentially all ticket purchases to go unchecked.
Buying such tickets with campaign funds is largely banned for federal candidates, but the campaign finance laws in Tennessee and a slew of other states either allow or don’t clearly ban such purchases.