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NASHVILLE - Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney is questioning whether a probe into state sales-tax evasion investigations has partisan overtones.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that the agency and the FBI are investigating whether former state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr mishandled several sales-tax cases, including one involving the D.T. McCall & Sons furniture store chain in Middle Tennessee.

The McCalls are major Republican donors, giving at least $176,000 to the state GOP, a family political action committee and various candidates, including Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Haslam.

"What is telling is that this controversy seems to have been drummed up by the Democrats just days before an election they know isn't going to end in their favor," Devaney said.

Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson and 15th Judicial District Attorney General Tommy Thompson sought the probe.

"It also needs to be pointed out that a central figure in this controversy is Attorney General Tommy Thompson - a significant Democrat donor."

Thompson said Wednesday that partisan considerations were irrelevant when he asked for the probe.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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