NASHVILLE - Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey poured $425,000 into his effort to defeat three sitting Tennessee Supreme Court justices in next week's election, state filings show.
Campaign disclosure reports filed late Thursday reveal the powerful Senate speaker, who spearheaded the effort to get voters to reject Democratically appointed Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade, made the contributions in July from RAAMPAC, his leadership political action committee.
The Ramsey money came despite his public assertions in May that he would not spend money on the clear-the-bench effort he was initiating against the five-member court. Two other justices, Republicans, are not seeking another term.
Ramsey said in an email to supporters that he initially believed "my role would be limited to raising awareness about the importance of Supreme Court elections."
But he charged the justices' campaigns are being run by "Obama liberals" and their fundraising efforts "are being executed by trial lawyers who have a vested personal interested in the outcomes of Supreme Court decisions."
The money, made in $225,000 and $425,000 installments, went to the Tennessee Forum, one of several conservative groups seeking to defeat the justices, who are up on a retain/reject vote on new eight-year terms.