Tennessee lawmakers in FBI probe spent nearly $200,000 with new campaign vendors

Multiple FBI agents search legislative offices at the Cordell Hull State Office Building in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. It's unknown what they are searching for. (Stephanie Amador/The Tennessean via AP)

NASHVILLE - Three Tennessee Republican lawmakers whose homes and legislative offices were raided Jan. 8 by the FBI collectively paid $182,794 during the 2020 election cycle for work done by newly minted political firms with little known campaign track records, state filings show.

At this point no one - except the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee - knows for sure why federal agents served search warrants on Rep. Robin Smith of Hixson, a business and political consultant, as well as Rep. Glen Casada, the former House speaker from Franklin, and freshman Rep. Todd Warner of Lewisburg.

Also raided was the home of Casada's former top aide, Cade Cothren, who along with his former boss was embroiled in a 2019 scandal over sexist and racist texts, which helped fuel Casada's downfall as speaker.