The Look in Brief

Update: DNC Member Owen: “I didn’t give money to McConnell”

By: - May 11, 2020 12:30 pm

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Lookout reported Bill Owen, a former state senator from Knoxville and one of four Tennessee members on the Democratic National Committee, survived a challenge from party officials that would have removed him from the DNC.

Among the charges levied against him were his numerous contributions to Republican elected officials. Owen has consistently maintained he did so in his capacity as a lobbyist, through his firm, Asset & Equity Corp.

Bill Owen (from Asset & Equity Corp. website)
Bill Owen (from Asset & Equity Corp. website)

One of those donations was a donation of $8,500 to the 2019 Senators Classic, an annual golf tournament in Williamsburg benefiting GOP senators including Mitch McConnell (KY,) Lindsey Graham (SC) , John Cornyn (TX,) and Martha McSally (Ariz.)

Owen reached out to the Lookout to clarify his donations.

“I was appalled to get a thank you note from Cindy Hyde-Smith (senator from Mississippi) and Martha McSally in 2018,” said Owen.

According to Owen, when he first gave to the golf tournament in 2018, he didn’t realize he could specify whom his donations benefited. By 2019, he’d wised up and specified his donations go only to Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan and South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds.

A review of his 2018 donations on the Federal Election Commission website shows an $8,500 expenditure on June 14, 2019, divided to benefit both Rounds and Sullivan as shown in the link to Federal Election Commission details.

The Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee voted for Owen to remain in his DNC position by a vote of 40 for, 15 against, and three abstentions.

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J. Holly McCall
J. Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.