NASHVILLE -- Tennessee's top economic recruitment official, Matt Kisber, does not need to amend his state ethics filings to reflect his involvement in a start-up venture that includes Gov. Phil Bredesen and former state Revenue Commission Reagan Farr, a Kisber spokesman said.
Mark Drury, an assistant commissioner at the Department of Economic and Community Development, said investments by Kisber, who is the department's commissioner, in the Silicon Ranch Corp. venture had not triggered state financial reporting requirements.
Bredesen filed an amendment to his Disclosure of Interests on Nov. 10 after news accounts revealed the governor, a self-made millionaire who leaves office in January, was the main financial backer of the fledgling company. Bredesen acknowledged investing in the low six figures in the firm, which will seek to finance construction of solar power arrays,
Drury noted the state ethics law's reporting standard involves investments in excess of $10,000 or 5 percent of the total capital in a company. He said Kisber's level of involvement doesn't meet that threshold.
Nor, Drury said, does it trigger another ethics law provision that requires top officials to list major sources of private income in excess of $200. He said Silicon Ranch, remains a business plan under development by Farr, who left the state on Sept. 1.
Corporate filings for Silicon Ranch list Bredesen as chairman, Kisber as president and Farr as vice chairman. It was incorporated Aug. 5 in Delaware and on Sept. 7, the company filed a certificate of authority to conduct business in Tennessee.
State Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance Executive Director Drew Rawlins said this week that it was appropriate for Bredesen to file since he had publicly stated he had invested $100,000 or more. The agency had planned to contact him regarding the need to file an amended disclosure.
"I don't really know anything about Matt's [involvement]," Rawlins said. "At this point, we're not going to pursue it. We don't have any knowledge he needs to amend his based on any knowledge I'm aware of it."