Campaign 2010

Oct 04, 2010

Under Fire For Failing to Come Clean—A Rough Week for Stephen Fincher

Stephen Fincher is one of the most highly-touted NRCC recruits in the country. Throughout his primary, though, he faced withering scrutiny of his personal finances for having received millions in federal farm subsidies while running against government spending. Now, he’s subject to complaints with the US Attorney and the FEC for potentially breaking the law in public disclosure of his personal finances including a questionable $250,000 loan.

Last week began with Retiring Representative John Tanner calling on Fincher to come clean.

September 24, 2010 - Retiring U.S. Rep. John Tanner says Stephen Fincher needs to 'come clean' on mysterious loan [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

Retiring 8th District Congressman John Tanner said Friday that the Republican candidate for his seat, Stephen Fincher, owes voters an explanation about his financial situation. The Tennessee Democrat, who will retire after 11 terms in January, was referring to financial disclosure statements Fincher filed with the House clerk that list no assets and no liabilities but a $250,000 bank loan he received late in the Republican primary. "This is serious. The law provides that if you make a loan to a political campaign, it has to be collateralized, for obvious reasons," Tanner said. "Otherwise it's an illegal campaign contribution." [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/24/10]

Then Roy Herron released his tax returns to ensure the utmost in transparency.

September 28, 2010 - Herron to Fincher: 'Come clean'  [Jackson Sun]

“Democratic congressional candidate Roy Herron on Monday released details of his federal tax returns for the past four years and blasted Republican candidate Stephen Fincher for not disclosing information about his debts and finances.” [Jackson Sun, 9/28/10]

September 28, 2010 - 8th Congressional District Democratic candidate Roy Herron releases tax returns [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

Democratic 8th Congressional District candidate Roy Herron has given $232,032 to charitable and religious causes in the past four years, or 17 percent of his taxable income, his campaign said Tuesday. The disclosure was yet another effort to point out the lack of transparency in his opponent Stephen Fincher's financial disclosures, where the terms of a $250,000 bank loan to his campaign are a secret and the adequacy of his financial disclosures to the clerk of the House of Representatives remains in question. [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/28/10]

Given that Fincher continues to hide his personal finances and questionable loans, Herron’s campaign filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Committee citing that Fincher failed to properly disclose his personal finances and his campaign loan.

September 29, 2010 - Herron lawyer files formal complaint against Fincher campaign [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

“A lawyer for Democratic 8th Congressional District candidate Roy Herron has filed a formal complaint against the Stephen Fincher for Congress committee over a $250,000 bank loan made to the Republican's campaign. The complaint to the Federal Election Commission says the Fincher campaign misled the election finance watchdog agency by filing a form indicating the source of the loan was Fincher's "personal funds," not a bank loan from Gates Banking and Trust, where Fincher's father is on the board of directors.” [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/29/10]

September 30, 2010 - Herron lawyer files FEC complaint [Jackson Sun]

“A Washington election-law attorney has filed a complaint against Stephen Fincher's congressional campaign alleging the campaign has violated Federal Election Commission rules by failing to report a bank loan.” [Jackson Sun, 9/30/10]

The Jackson Sun newspaper chimed in with a hard-hitting editorial demanding answers from Fincher and chiding him for hiding from questions.

September 30, 2010 - Fincher owes 8th District some answers [Jackson Sun Editorial]

U.S. House 8th District Republican candidate Stephen Fincher owes voters in the district straight answers to questions about his personal finances and how he is conducting his campaign. An elected representative pledges to be held accountable to his constituents, all of them, Republicans, Democrats and independents. How can Fincher be trusted after he is elected if he will not be open with constituents before he is elected? Fincher has circumvented the traditional campaign process of the country by refusing to debate Democrat Roy Herron and his other opponents in an open forum. He has avoided making himself available to the media, including newspapers throughout the district and broadcast media. […] Questions raised about his finances are serious matters that deserve serious answers. Until now, Fincher and his spokesmen have obfuscated the reality that he failed to adequately complete the financial disclosure form required of candidates and all members of the House of Representatives. A casual observer certainly would have reason to believe Fincher was negligent in completing the forms or that he was hiding something. Is it reasonable for a person with significant farming interests to list no assets and no bank accounts? He listed no assets on the disclosure forms. Fincher's disclosures of about $60,000 in annual income, despite receiving millions in federal farm subsidies, seems at odds with his home, lifestyle and private school education for his children. The lack of information on his disclosure forms clearly does not reflect the full scope of his financial circumstances as required by the financial disclosure rules [Jackson Sun Editorial, 9/30/10]

Running out of answers and running away from telling the truth, Fincher was caught unable to even identify portions of the district he was running for.

September 30, 2010 - Congressional candidate Fincher confused about whether parts of Memphis are in 8th district [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

“Republican congressional candidate Stephen Fincher appeared unaware or confused Thursday over whether parts of Memphis are in the 8th Congressional District until his campaign manager told him Frayser is in the city and the district.”[Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/30/10]

And The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle joined in saying that Fincher hasn’t been forthcoming about his loans and his assets.

October 1, 2010 - Fincher should release finances [Clarksville Leaf Editorial]

“Questions have arisen regarding U.S. House 8th District Republican candidate Stephen Fincher's finances, and thus far, he is not as forthcoming as he should be. […] Fincher, a farmer who has received millions of dollars in farm subsidies, reported an income of about $60,000 and listed no assets or liabilities nor savings or checking accounts. The Jackson Sun has reported that this all is at odds with the comfortable lifestyle — including private education for the Fincher children — that the candidate and his family enjoys. There's also the matter of a $250,000 loan that Fincher took out for his campaign. How does someone who lists no assets on his financial disclosure form secure such a loan from a bank? […] Additional questions have been raised because Fincher's father serves on the board of directors for the bank, Gates Banking and Trust, that made the loan. [Tennessean Editorial, 10/1/10]

As the week ends, Fincher is still hiding and reeling from a pretty bad week.

October 1, 2010 - Stephen Fincher Still Refuses to release tax returns. [Jackson Sun, 10/1/10]

And as the new week begins, the Memphis Commercial Appeal chides Fincher for not answering questions, not disclosing information and not even knowing where his district is.

October 2, 2010 - Stealth tactics in the 8th [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

“With early voting set to start Oct. 13, time is running out for 8th Congressional District candidate Stephen Fincher to disclose his tax returns and become acquainted with the region he wants to represent. Fincher, the Republican nominee in a race against fully disclosed Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron, refuses to provide the transparency voters have come to expect of most candidates in statewide and congressional races. Combined with his mandatory federal disclosure, which lists a $250,000 bank loan but no assets, liabilities, bank accounts, money market accounts, stocks, bonds or retirement accounts, the omission raises questions about Fincher's credibility. The Crockett County farmer, who hopes to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. John Tanner, also revealed in an appearance this week in Martin, Tenn., that he was unaware that the 8th District includes neighborhoods in Memphis, specifically Frayser and Raleigh.” [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 10/2/10]