The long run of the Chattanooga conservative team Hamilton Flourishing is in question with its president, Doug Daugherty, alleging its funding was cut off at the instigation of former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
Daugherty manufactured the charge in a recent, urgent fundraising plea, charging that Corker, a Republican, identified as “our greatest donor” to get the funding cut. He did not discover the donor in issue but the Maclellan Foundation has been the group’s highest profile funder.
“The RINOs (Republicans in name only) are attacking us, in particular in excess of the Weston Wamp unlawful election,” Daughtery wrote in his missive, alluding to Republican Weston Wamp’s victory in Hamilton County’s May 3 mayoral main election, which was challenged unsuccessfully at the point out GOP executive committee.
The allegation that Corker sought to cut off funding is baseless, reported David Denmark, executive director of the Maclellan Foundation.
“Bob Corker has not spoken with Chris Maclellan nor any person else at the basis about withholding funding for Hamilton Flourishing,” Denmark stated in an e-mail. “It would be a moot place, because we have not funded Hamilton Flourishing in almost four years.”
Denmark stated in an before statement that “the Maclellans and the basis have no knowledge or opinion about the allegations created by Hamilton Flourishing concerning the the latest primary election for our county’s mayor. We will be satisfied to perform along with whomever is eventually elected to provide our group in that important ability.”
Wamp will facial area Democrat Matt Adams in an Aug. 4 typical election.
Todd Womack, Corker’s previous chief of employees, explained by telephone the previous senator did not search for to reduce off basis funding.
Two previous board customers included in the development of Hamilton Flourishing informed the Chattanooga Occasions Absolutely free Press by cellphone that the intent was normally that the team, set up as a conservative believe tank and declared publicly in 2019, would become self-ample following a few many years with no extra funding from the Maclellans.
Former board customers Tom Decosimo and Tina Benkiser also reported it was their recollection that Hugh O. Maclellan, the foundation’s previous president, experienced delivered funding for at minimum some of that time.
Attempts to achieve Hugh O. Maclellan on Saturday by cellphone to ask irrespective of whether Corker or other people contacted him in any effort and hard work to cut off funding were being unsuccessful. The Situations Free of charge Push called three telephone quantities listing Maclellan’s title, and all responded with a recording expressing they are not using calls.
Corker, in the meantime, did not answer on Saturday to a Instances Free Push text about no matter if he had elevated the concern with Hugh O. Maclellan.
Daugherty has labored for decades in aid of social and religious conservative concerns. The Hamilton Flourishing group targeted on schooling coverage, abortion and other issues.
For two weeks running, the Instances No cost Press sought to figure out regardless of whether the group received more than enough funding to continue to be active further than the July 15 shutdown date mentioned in the fundraising plea.
The week before past, Daugherty responded briefly to several textual content messages, to start with creating, “Super, super active. Communicate to you future 7 days if I can. Buying a dwelling in Charleston.”
Daughterty did not answer when requested irrespective of whether that was in Charleston, Tennessee, or Charleston, South Carolina.
This earlier week, Daugherty wrote in reaction to a observe-up textual content to go over the situation that “I just can not til the time is suitable.”
In a later text, unedited, he wrote, “Hamilton. Flourishing right up until their is a whole succession approach,” just before later on introducing “I’m on a sabbatical. I will be 70 in Oct.”
Hamilton Flourishing initial been given its IRS nonprofit acceptance in 2018. In a 2019 submitting, it noted $96,100 in funding for what appeared to be a partial year’s action. It mentioned $34,896 in salaries, other compensation and personnel positive aspects as properly as $8,827 in qualified expenses and other payments created to unbiased contractors and other costs, leaving a $41,992 equilibrium.
In its 2020 disclosure, reflecting 2019 action, the group claimed getting $305,185 that 12 months. Of that sum, Daugherty received $125,000 as foundation payment. It also described $87,500 in company method expenses and $37,500 in management and normal charges. A segment for fundraising expenditures was blank.
The group’s creation was publicly announced in April 2019 throughout a assembly with the Moments Cost-free Push. There, board customers Ken Meyer, a former Republican legislator Decosimo, running principal of Decosimo Corporate Finance and Benkiser, a neighborhood attorney and previous head of the Republican Get together of Texas, outlined what they saw as the need to have for a conservative think tank in the local community.
Meyer at the time pointed to the community arranging get the job done of UnifiEd — a local, progressive nonprofit group created in 2013 with the goal of reforming Hamilton County Educational facilities. UnifiEd has been supported economically by the regional Benwood Foundation.
UnifiEd shares its identify with a political motion committee that experienced been lively in college board and County Commission races. Decosimo, Meyer and Benkiser were being searching for to present a equilibrium to UnifiEd on the strategies entrance.
According to Decosimo, at the very least some of the group’s funding came from Hugh O. Maclellan, whose family members launched Chattanooga-primarily based Provident Daily life and Accident Insurance plan Co., which afterwards merged with Unum. The household has a number of other foundations as very well.
“I think at first the Maclellan Basis was likely to fund” Hamilton Flourishing, Decosimo mentioned in a cellular phone interview final week. “But I feel for whatsoever reasons they decided that Hugh O. would do it individually.”
Decosimo, who ran unsuccessfully for school board in 2020, stated his recollection was Maclellan’s monetary assist was to be for 3 decades, the strategy being that would make it possible for Daugherty time to produce a sustainable fundraising program to continue on Hamilton Flourishing’s functions.
“I thought Doug did a definitely excellent occupation,” Decosimo explained. “You know, just sort of being a neutral conservative voice, promoting literacy in our schools and furnishing perception into the voters as to who the candidates ended up.”
Decosimo claimed Daugherty has been in the process of seeking to broaden out his aid.
“And that is exactly where he was when I acquired off the board. He was informed of Hugh’s determination and he was seeking to broaden his assistance so he just wouldn’t be overly reliant.
“I have no plan what took place in this article,” Decosimo mentioned. “Like I claimed, I got off the board, I am just also darned occupied.”
Meyer, govt director of federal affairs with K12 Inc., a for-profit business that provides online university curriculum, stated he experienced constrained involvement in the early phases of Hamilton Flourishing and still left after about a 12 months provided his enterprise and other responsibilities.
All those consist of serving on the board of the Beacon Center, a Nashville-based cost-free-market place believe tank. Meyer stated he experienced advised Daugherty could possibly consider to do the job out an arrangement with the Beacon Middle.
“I just did not have more than enough time to pay consideration to what was going on regionally that I would be of any authentic profit,” reported Meyer, whose work generally takes him to Washington, D.C. “Due to the fact I was included in Beacon Heart, I noticed some benefit in the concept, but that idea just in no way genuinely progressed.”
Benkiser mentioned she was on the board for about a 12 months. She stated she experienced been fascinated in “educating people today to be concerned in civic issues, educating people on the concerns so that they could make up their possess minds and just definitely get back to knowledgable civic engagement.”
She mentioned her comprehension was the Maclellan Basis was to present preliminary funding for the initially three many years.
“And the thought for any nonprofit team is to create its individual donor foundation on any form of foundation or seed revenue,” she mentioned. “I know it was the Maclellan Basis, and then I consider that Hugh Maclellan stepped in, obviously, and took up in which the basis still left off. But I consider that three several years is possibly coming about now, coming to its normal stop. So I think it fulfills the commitments it designed.”
She mentioned she has no thought if Hamilton Flourishing has created a donor base, getting go through Daugherty’s mentioning obtaining a 60,000-reader foundation for his e mail newsletter.
“But I don’t know how that interprets into donations or donors,” she claimed.
Wamp on Might 3 received the Republican nomination for Hamilton County mayor in a a few-human being subject. He been given 318 additional votes than his nearest competitor, Sabrena Smedley, Hamilton County Fee chairwoman. Businessman Matt Hullander arrived in third.
A team of Republicans charged that Democrats experienced “illegally” crossed about, while the point out has no system for political social gathering voter registration and will allow voters to select one particular party’s ballot or a different on the working day of a major election.
There was much more “crossover” voting than regular this yr, as Democrats on May well 3 did not have a aggressive main for mayor.
Smedley challenged the election effects prior to the Tennessee Republican State Govt Committee, but members famous there was no way to know which candidates gained the votes from crossover Democrats, provided that ballots are saved mystery. Wamp and his allies noted he gained numerous of the most conservative precincts in the county.
Both Meyer and Benkiser serve on the Tennessee GOP’s Point out Executive Committee, which determined Smedley’s problem. Meyer voted in opposition to the problem, saying present-day point out legislation lets crossover voting. Benkiser voted to overturn Wamp’s victory.
Among the its activities this yr, Hamilton Flourishing sponsored a Republican mayoral key discussion.
Decosimo, who supported Hullander in the GOP mayoral main, expressed puzzlement more than a Hamilton Flourishing poll by Knoxville-centered Spry Methods on the race, commissioned by Hamilton Flourishing. Released in April, it showed Wamp major in the mayoral principal.
“I was not joyful about the poll he ran displaying Weston successful,” Decosimo said. “I am not sure where by that arrived from.”
“A Metropolis FOR GOD”
Daugherty has very long been included in conservative difficulties and at times on the political entrance, serving as marketing campaign supervisor in 1986 for fellow social and spiritual conservative Jim Golden in Golden’s unsuccessful challenge to then-U.S. Rep. Marilyn Lloyd, a Chattanooga Democrat.
He later grew to become a political and fundraising expert, functioning with Interior-Town Ministries. He states in his Hamilton Flourishing biography that he became executive director of the Chattanooga Coalition Towards Pornography and “ran all the pornography retailers out of town.”
Some time later on, he became govt director of the Chattanooga Resource Middle, one more conservative social and religiously oriented team for almost two decades. Its mission was earning Chattanooga “a Metropolis for God.”
As head of Hamilton Flourishing, he writes an e-mail e-newsletter referred to as Civilis. He recently hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s conclusion overturning Roe v. Wade, expressing that “without having question the blood of innocents, and hundreds of thousands of people’s prayers and tens of millions of people’s tricky work is the major miracle issue in any era alive!”
In his enchantment for money assist, Daugherty said, “It can be all-out war from the RINOs, the Trump haters, especially voter integrity …. It is a war. We will earn if you enable.”
He signed the electronic mail, “Doug Daugherty, desperately doing work really hard to survive economically.”