Apr 1 2014
07:21 am

Haslam Administration Linked $300M Offer To VW-UAW Process:

Were hundreds of millions of your tax dollars offered to Volkswagen -- and then pulled back -- to try to keep the United Auto Workers out of Chattanooga?

For months, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has denied any connection.

But documents leaked to NewsChannel 5 Investigates offer conclusive proof that the Haslam administration wanted a say in the automaker's deal with organized labor -- in exchange for $300 million in economic incentives to help VW expand its Chattanooga operations.

Read more at the link...

Average Guy's picture

Wonder what Ingram's overtime

Wonder what Ingram's overtime rate is?

fischbobber's picture


I'm shocked! Shocked I say! Just kidding. APRIL FOOLS.

On a serious note. Haslam is a tool. He does what he's told. This was what his handlers wanted and directly against the interests of Tennessee, but that's how he rolls. Screw the citizens money rules.

KC's picture

And the hijinks at Pilot was

And the hijinks at Pilot was all just middle manangement doing.

Haslam...Bill knows damn well what he's doing, and he's doing it for his own personal ambitions.

Average Guy's picture

Evidence for whom?

I'd hope the Governor's office would be smart enough not to be in violation of any TCA, but does this provable meddling violate any federal commerce law or statutes?

R. Neal's picture

Wonkette: (link...)

Wonkette: (link...)

Average Guy's picture


and I've seen some other things to that effect.

Reading it as a layman, my take away is that Corker and Haslam are not guilty of a bribe because they haven't been able to pull the bribe off.

Which may speak to an even larger question; even if VW wanted to expand, would they if their expansion makes criminals out their host Governor and Senator? Or better yet, what fallout would there be for those two should VW announce any kind of Tennessee expansion?

Andy Axel's picture

Wouldn't call it bribery

but I would call it extortion.

Average Guy's picture

Maybe on the Haslam side of the equation,

but I suspect some residents in Hamilton County were taking Corker at his "expansion is coming" word when he made his anti-union promise.

That separation aside, it's clear they were working in tandem.

Andy Axel's picture


And it now appears to be a quid pro quo without the quo. Hell of a deal.

Mello's picture

more documents Story

more documents

Story continues with UAW filing on the news investigation.

Average Guy's picture

National Labor Relations Board

It looks like the UAW is going to run this through the NLRB. I gave a cursory glance to the National Labor Relations Act and it looks like it’s geared toward management and labor disputes.

If Mike Turner is serious about this, he needs to focus on getting a special counsel to investigate, much in the same way the bridge scandal is being investigated in New Jersey.

I know the NLRB has some investigative powers, but this seems bigger than what they typically handle.

Greg H's picture

Perhaps a former US Attorney could be hired

to help the NRLB parse out the facts here.

KC's picture

Using taxpayer funds to help

Using taxpayer funds to help restrict your political party's competition is wrong in many ways.

KC's picture

Nah, not really. Cutting

Nah, not really. Cutting taxes or expanding welfare to those who you hope will vote for you next time is a tried and true practice (see LBJ and the Civil Rights Act or some Republican with tax cuts).

But this goes a little deeper. The governor was trying to cut the grass roots out from under any future political competition. But you're ignoring of the Haslam political machine in Knox politics pretty much speaks for itself.

Rachel's picture

Cutting taxes or expanding

Cutting taxes or expanding welfare to those who you hope will vote for you next time is a tried and true practice (see LBJ and the Civil Rights Act

You think the Civil Rights Act was about "expanding welfare?" You need to read some mid-20th century history.

KC's picture

Let's make a deal. No one

Let's make a deal. No one should comment on military or police matters unless they've served in one of those institutions.

Sound fair? Nope.

I have repect for those academics who have taken stands, like former UT professor Joe Dodd, but if you're going to accuse groups of Good Old Boyism, to leave a group out because they wear nicer suits or ride bikes and seemingly support some of your positions, discredits the soundness of an argument.

fischbobber's picture

Point of order here

There is no Haslam machine solely focused on Knoxville city politics.

I would submit that this statement is factually wrong. Take a look at who is contributing to whom in our city and county races. Whether or not the machine has higher aspirations than just this immediate area and whether or not its current existence stretches beyond state lines is certainly fodder for debate, but there is definitely a Haslam machine focused solely on city and county and immediately local politics that affect the empire.

The Bill Haslam phenomena goes way past the time and space restraints that were placed on this paper. It's not an episode of "The Twilight Zone," it's a five year run akin to "Breaking Bad."

Carry on.

fischbobber's picture

Semantics here

Knoxville machine politics is solely controlled by the Haslams. No one else even begins to exercise the absolute power they do over the way Knoxville is run.

Just because their influence extends well beyond our community, doesn't mean they have yielded power here.

Clearly, the family is in the process of expanding their territory, but they haven't given up Knoxville, if anything they've strengthened their grip.

That being said, detailing the Haslam influence and rise to power, as well as giving an accounting of their present business, scope of power and their troubles and concerns, not only goes well beyond the scope of your paper, it is an ongoing affair more defined by primary source journalism than academic research. I seriously doubt you could do the subject justice within the framework of your presentation.

That is my point.

fischbobber's picture

Based on a review

Based on a review of his campaign contributions I would venture an opinion of undoubtedly. And I would further venture that it is money well spent as it relates to accomplishing its purpose.

fischbobber's picture

This is not to say

This is not to say that everything the Haslams control is automatically evil. This is just to observe that they run this show.

fischbobber's picture

Final note on this point.

I'm surprised you made such a poorly researched counterpoint, frankly.

fischbobber's picture

I think you're confused

I believe you have confused the whims of the children with the daily business of the parents.

I read your paper and while I generally agree with your assessment of the big picture from a historical sense, I got the feeling that weren't up to date on how the machine was evolving.

I thought it was good work within the parameters of what you were doing though.

I have to live here Toby. I'm not going to argue point by point and piss half the town off. If you don't want to believe it, don't. But it's still the truth.

Mello's picture

my favorite quote on this and well, everything...

"When a billionaire governor, a millionaire senator, and the local Chamber of Commerce all unite to kill jobs in reaction to the mere possibility of one union local being organized at one factory in one city in the state of Tennessee, the full extent of the corrupting influence of the business community in our state government becomes clearly visible,” says Chris Brooks, (link...)

A slight alteration and it covers every single issue we have talked about from concerts as farm products to vouchers, for profit schools, fracking, mountaintop removal, the plundering of Townsend.... the list is endless.

When a billionaire governor, a millionaire senator, and the local Chamber of Commerce all unite ( insert your favorite cause here ) the full extent of the corrupting influence of the business community in our state government becomes clearly visible.

jbr's picture

From MSNBC ....

michael kaplan's picture

interesting piece. thanks.

interesting piece. thanks.

Mello's picture

Subpoenas flyin'!


Think any of these folks will show up to the hearing?

fischbobber's picture

Information from White's Creek Blog


For those interested in Haslam's involvement in interference in the union election, here is some reading.

Bbeanster's picture


I think that JJ J served as Bill Haslam's driver for awhile.

Also, KCSO personnel use Pilot gas cards.

High-test, Baby!

Mello's picture

US Congress opens inquiry-

From News Channel 5 (link...)

Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and John Tierney (D-Mass.), ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee, sent a letter to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam seeking more information about whether any Tennessee state officials conditioned, or threatened to condition, state aid to Volkswagen on the outcome of workers' efforts to establish a union and/or a works council at the Chattanooga plant, a news release said.

Yeah, yeah, but dang it is good to think it is being looked at.

michael kaplan's picture

from wiki: Contempt of

from wiki:

Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically, the bribery of a senator or representative was considered contempt of Congress. In modern times, contempt of Congress has generally applied to the refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee or subcommittee—usually seeking to compel either testimony or the production of documents.

Smoake Jones's picture

DesJarlea also sits on that committee

No Haslam love for Scotty D and now he's on the committee looking into state aid possibly offered to VW in violation of the NLRB organization rules.

And why exactly did Haslam and Corker need to sully themselves with this trivial organizational event?

Two industries in America which are inexplicably tied to unions and organizations, coal and cars, and why Haslam gave a hoot about VW's management of their labor relations is beyond most conservative thinkers.

EConner's picture


I find it strange that neither of the Haslam boys know what's going on with people who work under them!

Mello's picture

Federal dollars?

(link...) Are there federal dollars available for the state to offer as an incentive to businesses such as VW?

A determination of whether any of the state aid offered, including the list of grants and other items on the “Project Trinity” document referenced above, included any federal dollars; and if so, how much.

and damn, that is an incredible list of documents and instructions!

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