Tennessee Republican forced to resign after wire fraud charges

State Rep. Robin Smith was charged with service wire fraud on Monday and shortly after announced resignation

By Travis Gettys

Published March 8, 2022 3:55AM (EST)

Tennessee State Capitol Building (David Underwood/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Tennessee State Capitol Building (David Underwood/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story

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A Tennessee Republican resigned from the state legislature after she was charged with wire fraud in a scheme involving former House Speaker and current Rep. Glen Casada.

State Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) was charged with one count of honest services wire fraud in court documents unsealed Monday, and a short time later issued a statement announcing her resignation, reported the Tennessean.

"I want you to know that serving the great people of this district, and indeed, all of Tennessee, has truly been an honor," Smith said. "I have resigned with the deepest of humility and out of respect for the role of public service."

Prosecutors alleged that Smith, Casada and Casada's former top aide Cade Cothren set up a consulting firm called Phoenix Solutions to engineer kickbacks to the pair of legislators.

Cothren established Phoenix Solutions in late 2019, but prosecutors say the firm didn't actually exist and instead sent kickbacks to Smith and Casada, who then allegedly used their positions to pressure the House Speaker's Office to approve the firm as an official vendor.

"It is clear in the charging documents that certain individuals used their official capacity to target General Assembly members and the Republican Caucus by using a fake company to siphon off money illegally and deceptively," said House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).

"I will continue to cooperate fully with federal authorities as the investigation continues which has been the case since I became speaker in 2019," Sexton added. "Due to this being an ongoing investigation, I will reserve any further comments as the FBI continues their pursuit to stop public corruption."

Casada and Cothren are named as individuals 1 and 2 in the indictment.

Cothren lost his job with Casada in 2019 over racist and sexist text messages and his admitted drug use in the legislative office building.

Casada resigned from his leadership post following that scandal but remains in the legislature, but he will not seek re-election this year and is instead running for Williamson County clerk.


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