Tennessee House Democrats Say Glen Casada Tried To Bribe Lawmaker For School Voucher Vote | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee House Democrats Say Glen Casada Tried To Bribe Lawmaker For School Voucher Vote

Jul 22, 2019

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration says it's not aware of promises allegedly made by House Speaker Glen Casada to get lawmakers to vote for the school voucher law.

But Livingston Democrat John Mark Windle claims that Casada suggested a promotion in exchange for his vote.

According to Tennessee House Democrats, Speaker Glen Casada told Windle — who is a colonel in the Tennessee Army National Guard — he could be a general if he flipped his vote to a yes. Windle did not. 

The story was first reported by NewsChannel5

Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, said Monday that Casada should step down from his position as state representative.

“There’s no place in the Tennessee General Assembly for bribery, extortion, anything in those means,” Mitchell told reporters.

In a statement, Windle said he “sought guidance of Tennessee ethics authorities” and followed their recommendations.

"I voted no on the bill as a matter of principle, and that vote decision did not change," Windle said. "The people of Fentress, Jackson, Morgan, and Overton counties are fiercely independent, and their vote is not for sale."

It’s unclear which ethics body were contacted by Windle or what recommendations were made.

But Casada denied making these promises — and he says the governor is the only one who can make promotions in the Tennessee National Guard.

Meanwhile, Lee's communications director, Chris Walker, told WPLN the governor was not aware of the alleged exchange offer.

"No one on our team is aware of a conversation to that effect,” Walker said in an email. 

The allegations come days before GOP lawmakers vote on their pick for a new speaker. Casada is stepping down from the top post next month amid a texting scandal.