published Friday, February 4th, 2011, updated Feb. 4th, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.

Haslam advisers carefully timed income disclosure release

NASHVILLE — Advisers to Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam carefully timed the public release of a new policy allowing the governor and his senior staff to keep secret the amount of their outside income, state records show.

The policy change was released to the media the day after Haslam's Jan. 15 inauguration. The release came late Sunday afternoon after an open house at the governor's mansion and too late for Haslam to be questioned about it by reporters.

The wording of the release and internal e-mails obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request indicate that senior advisers carefully planned the media strategy for informing the public about the decision.

“I do not want it to be out when there is media at the residence,” Tom Griscom, the governor’s chief communications adviser and formerly the Chattanooga Times Free Press editor and publisher, wrote in an e-mail to two other Haslam aides. “If he answers any questions, they should be light, tied to the first weekend, getting ready to go to work etc.”

The release boasted of Haslam’s “commitment to transparency and openness,” but did not specifically spell out that it was lowering the disclosure standards set by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The new governor had been heavily criticized by his Republican and Democratic opponents for refusing to disclose how much money he was paid from the family owned truck stop business, Pilot Flying J.

The governor has denied there was any attempt at gamesmanship, arguing that the disclosure issue was sufficiently hashed out during the governor’s race and the new policy shouldn’t come as a surprise.

See complete coverage in Saturday's Times Free Press.

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EaTn said...

They probably didn't think twice about spending a fortune on buying a glass-house because they thought putting up window shades wouldn't be that big a deal.

February 4, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
chattyjill said...

Boo. Boo. Two thumbs down, Asslam. What a bad way to start a term. And the voters of Tennessee fell for it.

February 4, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.
Facts said...

Let's see. Chuck Fleischmann's got Chip Saltsman as his handler, Bill Haslam has Tom Griscom as his handler. Is the new trend in politics to have enough money to buy the election then hire handlers to keep the public fooled? Accountability and Competence aren't in the future for TN politics.

February 4, 2011 at 5:40 p.m.
ceeweed said...

There is nothing new under the sun. Apathy reigns supreme.

February 4, 2011 at 6:38 p.m.
dude_abides said...

So, how much crap did Griscom disseminate at TFP? He didn't suddenly become a lying, crooked P-O-S. How close was the new editor to him? Was he a protege?

February 4, 2011 at 6:51 p.m.
acerigger said...

No financial disclosures, no putting his (family) business holdings in a blind trust, then, suspends the environmental regulations which affected the bottom line of his (family)business,???? I smell something bad in our state. Stay tuned!

February 4, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
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