The FBI’s investigation of Tennessee Republicans has reportedly widened, as federal prosecutors have announced that FBI agents have raided the homes and offices of several state lawmakers.
It was confirmed on January 8 that federal investigators had raided the home and office of former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, and had raided the office of Republican Representative Robin Smith. One day later, we now have confirmation that the scope of the investigation has widened.
According to David Boling, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Middle Tennessee, Smith’s home has now been searched, as well as the home of Casada’s former chief of staff, Cade Cothren.
Current House Speaker Cameron Sexton has confirmed that the office of Republican Representative Todd Warner has also been searched.
No information has been provided as of yet regarding the nature of the searches or how many lawmakers are involved in the investigation.
On January 8, Republican Governor Bill Lee informed reporters that he had spoken to Sexton about the “FBI raids,” though he has little information about them.
“It’s certainly very concerning. I know very little about that. There’s been no FBI outreach to us. But I have confidence that Speaker Sexton is on top of the situation and we’ll learn more as this unfolds,” Lee said.
Sexton told the press that he is in “full cooperation” with federal authorities, and that he had been made aware of an ongoing investigation into several lawmakers since he had taken the position as House Speaker in mid-2019.
“I think this day is a sad day for Tennessee and the General Assembly. As we move forward, friends and colleagues, I’m not going to sit here and hypothesize about what is or what isn’t based on past actions. I’m just here merely talking about the actions of today and how we’ve been cooperating and we’re asking the rest of our colleagues and members to do the same,” Sexton said.
The House Speaker has also announced that he has placed “everyone that was subject to the execution of today’s search warrants on administrative leave until further notice,” but that there was no ethics investigation currently launched against them.