June 17--NASHVILLE -- An independent candidate for U.S. Senate says he filed a complaint today against Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander's reelection campaign with the Federal Election Commission.
Danny Page, a 38-year-old electrician running as a conservative, says he is requesting the FEC investigate the Alexander campaign's "colluding with the Tennessee State Museum" to "promote" the senator's candidacy.
"For Lamar Alexander to use taxpayer money to promote his own campaign is a classic example of the self serving attitude that he has portrayed throughout his two terms in the US Senate," Page said in a news release. "Behavior such as this is exactly the reason why Sen. Alexander should not serve another term and why Tennesseans should elect one of their own that will work to build a legacy for the state instead of for himself."
That's a reference to the museum's plans in 2013 to put together a 2013/2014 traveling exhibition on Alexander's tenure as governor.
News organizations raised questions about the timing with Alexander up for reelection in 2014. State Museum Executive Director Lois Riggins-Ezzell said longtime Alexander aide Tom Ingram had agreed to help raise private donations to cover the more than $40,000 cost of the show.
Conservative critics pounced with the Senate Conservatives Fund saying Alexander four years earlier in 2009 secured a $400,000 federal earmark for the museum. Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins at the time acknowledged there was a four-year gap between the earmark and the exhibit.
But he argued that's "how the earmark game is played -- 'you scratch my back and I will scratch your back.'"
The traveling exhibition was planned to open in September 2013 and run through much of 2014. Riggins-Ezell later postponed the exhibition until 2015, after the election.
Asked in a telephone interview today what legal grounds there are for a complaint, Page said, "there's always grounds for a complaint. That's up to the FEC to investigate to see if there's any foul play."
An Alexander campaign spokesman had no immediate comment on Page's complaint. The Associated Press reported last year that an Alexander spokesman labeled efforts to link the exhibit to the 2009 earmark for the museum "a silly political stretch."
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