The upcoming of the Chattanooga conservative group Hamilton Flourishing is in doubt with its president, Doug Daugherty, alleging its funding was slice off at the instigation of former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
Daugherty designed the demand in a modern, urgent fundraising plea, charging that Corker, a Republican, known as “our greatest donor” to get the funding slice. He did not establish the donor in concern but the Maclellan Foundation has been the group’s highest profile funder.
“The RINOs (Republicans in name only) are attacking us, especially more than the Weston Wamp illegal election,” Daughtery wrote in his missive, alluding to Republican Weston Wamp’s victory in Hamilton County’s Might 3 mayoral key election, which was challenged unsuccessfully at the state GOP govt committee.
The allegation that Corker sought to slash off funding is baseless, explained David Denmark, executive director of the Maclellan Foundation.
“Bob Corker has not spoken with Chris Maclellan nor anyone else at the foundation about withholding funding for Hamilton Flourishing,” Denmark stated in an electronic mail. “It would be a moot place, considering that we have not funded Hamilton Flourishing in almost four a long time.”
Denmark claimed in an earlier assertion that “the Maclellans and the basis have no expertise or belief about the allegations produced by Hamilton Flourishing regarding the new most important election for our county’s mayor. We will be joyful to operate together with whomever is in the long run elected to serve our community in that critical ability.”
Wamp will confront Democrat Matt Adams in an Aug. 4 typical election.
Todd Womack, Corker’s previous chief of personnel, reported by mobile phone the previous senator did not seek out to slash off basis funding.
Two previous board users associated in the creation of Hamilton Flourishing advised the Chattanooga Instances Free Press by phone that the intent was constantly that the team, established as a conservative think tank and introduced publicly in 2019, would become self-sufficient just after three several years with no extra funding from the Maclellans.
Former board users Tom Decosimo and Tina Benkiser also reported it was their recollection that Hugh O. Maclellan, the foundation’s previous president, had furnished funding for at the very least some of that time.
Efforts to achieve Hugh O. Maclellan on Saturday by telephone to question whether or not Corker or other people contacted him in any effort to minimize off funding were being unsuccessful. The Periods Cost-free Push identified as 3 cell phone quantities listing Maclellan’s identify, and all responded with a recording stating they are not having calls.
Corker, meanwhile, did not react on Saturday to a Times Free Push textual content about whether he had lifted the problem with Hugh O. Maclellan.
Daugherty has labored for a long time in assistance of social and spiritual conservative issues. The Hamilton Flourishing team centered on training plan, abortion and other problems.
For two weeks functioning, the Situations Totally free Press sought to figure out irrespective of whether the team received adequate funding to stay energetic past the July 15 shutdown day stated in the fundraising plea.
The week just before final, Daugherty responded briefly to numerous textual content messages, to start with composing, “Tremendous, tremendous occupied. Discuss to you upcoming week if I can. Shopping for a dwelling in Charleston.”
Daughterty did not reply when asked whether that was in Charleston, Tennessee, or Charleston, South Carolina.
This previous week, Daugherty wrote in response to a adhere to-up textual content to explore the situation that “I just can’t til the time is suitable.”
In a later textual content, unedited, he wrote, “Hamilton. Flourishing until their is a total succession program,” before later on adding “I’m on a sabbatical. I am going to be 70 in October.”
Hamilton Flourishing very first been given its IRS nonprofit approval in 2018. In a 2019 filing, it noted $96,100 in funding for what appeared to be a partial year’s action. It listed $34,896 in salaries, other compensation and worker rewards as nicely as $8,827 in experienced costs and other payments built to independent contractors and other expenditures, leaving a $41,992 balance.
In its 2020 disclosure, reflecting 2019 action, the group described getting $305,185 that year. Of that volume, Daugherty received $125,000 as base payment. It also described $87,500 in support system expenses and $37,500 in management and standard costs. A part for fundraising expenditures was blank.
Education and learning ROOTS
The group’s development was publicly declared in April 2019 all through a assembly with the Instances Totally free Push. There, board associates Ken Meyer, a former Republican legislator Decosimo, managing principal of Decosimo Corporate Finance and Benkiser, a neighborhood lawyer and former head of the Republican Party of Texas, outlined what they observed as the need to have for a conservative assume tank in the community.
Meyer at the time pointed to the community organizing function of UnifiEd — a nearby, progressive nonprofit team made in 2013 with the target of reforming Hamilton County Colleges. UnifiEd has been supported fiscally by the neighborhood Benwood Foundation.
UnifiEd shares its title with a political motion committee that had been energetic in faculty board and County Commission races. Decosimo, Meyer and Benkiser were being searching for to provide a equilibrium to UnifiEd on the tips front.
In accordance to Decosimo, at minimum some of the group’s funding arrived from Hugh O. Maclellan, whose family established Chattanooga-based Provident Lifestyle and Accident Coverage Co., which later on merged with Unum. The family members has quite a few other foundations as very well.
“I believe at first the Maclellan Basis was likely to fund” Hamilton Flourishing, Decosimo said in a cellphone job interview last 7 days. “But I believe for regardless of what good reasons they resolved that Hugh O. would do it separately.”
Decosimo, who ran unsuccessfully for college board in 2020, said his recollection was Maclellan’s financial aid was to be for 3 several years, the notion getting that would let Daugherty time to build a sustainable fundraising system to continue on Hamilton Flourishing’s functions.
“I considered Doug did a seriously very good career,” Decosimo mentioned. “You know, just kind of staying a neutral conservative voice, endorsing literacy in our educational institutions and offering insight into the voters as to who the candidates were being.”
Decosimo claimed Daugherty has been in the process of attempting to broaden out his guidance.
“And that is where he was when I obtained off the board. He was informed of Hugh’s dedication and he was trying to broaden his guidance so he just would not be overly reliant.
“I have no plan what took place below,” Decosimo mentioned. “Like I stated, I bought off the board, I’m just as well darned hectic.”
Meyer, govt director of federal affairs with K12 Inc., a for-income business that offers online college curriculum, mentioned he had minimal involvement in the early stages of Hamilton Flourishing and still left immediately after about a year supplied his enterprise and other duties.
Those people include things like serving on the board of the Beacon Centre, a Nashville-based totally free-industry believe tank. Meyer explained he had prompt Daugherty may possibly check out to function out an arrangement with the Beacon Centre.
“I just failed to have plenty of time to pay consideration to what was going on regionally that I would be of any authentic reward,” said Meyer, whose function usually usually takes him to Washington, D.C. “Simply because I was concerned in Beacon Centre, I noticed some benefit in the notion, but that concept just never ever really progressed.”
Benkiser said she was on the board for about a yr. She stated she experienced been intrigued in “educating persons to be concerned in civic matters, educating men and women on the problems so that they could make up their possess minds and just definitely get again to knowledgable civic engagement.”
She mentioned her comprehending was the Maclellan Foundation was to give preliminary funding for the initial three decades.
“And the thought for any nonprofit group is to develop its very own donor base on any form of foundation or seed cash,” she stated. “I know it was the Maclellan Basis, and then I consider that Hugh Maclellan stepped in, obviously, and took up the place the basis remaining off. But I believe that three decades is likely coming about now, coming to its natural conclude. So I think it fulfills the commitments it created.”
She explained she has no idea if Hamilton Flourishing has built a donor base, getting read Daugherty’s mentioning possessing a 60,000-reader base for his electronic mail publication.
“But I will not know how that translates into donations or donors,” she mentioned.
Wamp on Might 3 gained the Republican nomination for Hamilton County mayor in a a few-person field. He gained 318 far more votes than his closest competitor, Sabrena Smedley, Hamilton County Commission chairwoman. Businessman Matt Hullander came in 3rd.
A team of Republicans charged that Democrats experienced “illegally” crossed above, whilst the state has no system for political party voter registration and enables voters to pick just one party’s ballot or a different on the working day of a most important election.
There was additional “crossover” voting than standard this 12 months, as Democrats on May perhaps 3 did not have a aggressive main for mayor.
Smedley challenged the election success right before the Tennessee Republican State Govt Committee, but members observed there was no way to know which candidates obtained the votes from crossover Democrats, offered that ballots are retained magic formula. Wamp and his allies noted he received lots of of the most conservative precincts in the county.
Each Meyer and Benkiser serve on the Tennessee GOP’s State Executive Committee, which determined Smedley’s obstacle. Meyer voted versus the obstacle, saying latest condition legislation permits crossover voting. Benkiser voted to overturn Wamp’s victory.
Amid its activities this calendar year, Hamilton Flourishing sponsored a Republican mayoral major discussion.
Decosimo, who supported Hullander in the GOP mayoral key, expressed puzzlement more than a Hamilton Flourishing poll by Knoxville-based Spry Methods on the race, commissioned by Hamilton Flourishing. Launched in April, it confirmed Wamp top in the mayoral main.
“I was not satisfied about the poll he ran showing Weston profitable,” Decosimo explained. “I am not guaranteed in which that came from.”
“A Metropolis FOR GOD”
Daugherty has lengthy been associated in conservative difficulties and often on the political entrance, serving as campaign manager in 1986 for fellow social and religious conservative Jim Golden in Golden’s unsuccessful obstacle to then-U.S. Rep. Marilyn Lloyd, a Chattanooga Democrat.
He afterwards turned a political and fundraising consultant, doing the job with Internal-Town Ministries. He states in his Hamilton Flourishing biography that he grew to become govt director of the Chattanooga Coalition Against Pornography and “ran all the pornography shops out of city.”
Some time later on, he turned govt director of the Chattanooga Resource Heart, one more conservative social and religiously oriented group for practically two many years. Its mission was generating Chattanooga “a City for God.”
As head of Hamilton Flourishing, he writes an email publication identified as Civilis. He lately hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, saying that “with no question the blood of innocents, and tens of millions of people’s prayers and thousands and thousands of people’s challenging perform is the most important miracle factor in any era alive!”
In his appeal for financial assist, Daugherty said, “It is all-out war from the RINOs, the Trump haters, primarily voter integrity …. It is a war. We will win if you enable.”
He signed the e-mail, “Doug Daugherty, desperately working really hard to survive fiscally.”