Rep. Diane Black (R) announced last week she would step down as budget chairman to focus on her campaign for governor once a replacement is decided. (release)
DISCLOSURE. Former state economic commissioner Randy Boyd (R) “and his wife had $30.1 million in taxable income in the last two years, according to federal income tax returns. … Just last year, Boyd and his wife Jenny had $25.3 million in total income and $17.2 million in taxable income. In 2015, their total income was $17.1 million, with $12.9 million as taxable income. … They also made nearly $10.3 million in charitable contributions, donating to more than 100 organizations during the same time period.”
“While Boyd did not provide his tax returns or a summary statement for 2013 and 2014, he released copies of his 1040s from 2015 and 2016. He vowed to continue to release his taxes should he be elected the state’s next governor. … Boyd also vowed to forgo a state salary and pay for his own expenses if he becomes governor.”
“Boyd owns a multitude of businesses, including Radio Systems Corp., a company that owns several brands including Invisible Fence; two minor league baseball teams; and a Knoxville-based Scottish-themed bar. Radio Systems Corp. alone employs more than 700 employees and has annual revenues in excess of $400 million.” (Nashville Tennessean)
THE OTHER GUYS. “One is a Nashville comedian, another is a former adult bookstore owner, and one is a real estate agent and longtime campaign volunteer. Among the lesser-known candidates running to be Tennessee’s next governor, all are aware of their long shot for victory, but each hope to contribute their voice to a race they say is likely to forget the average Tennessean.” (Nashville Tennessean)
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"Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and on private companies, and the U.S. is warning allies, hardening its defenses and weighing a counterattack, say multiple senior U.S. officials. Despite Iran having positioned cyber weapons to carry out attacks, there is no suggestion an offensive operation is imminent, according to the officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak."
"Negotiators from the Senate and House of Representatives late Thursday agreed to abandon efforts to reinstate harsher sanctions" against Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. "Draft language advanced in the House earlier this year focused on a procurement ban for ZTE products, whereas the Senate approved language that would reinstate the sales ban for U.S. companies to sell to ZTE." The change is a major win for President Trump, who has had exempted the company from earlier sanctions as part of broader trade negotiations with China.
"President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments" to former Playboy model Karen McDougal "who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump." The FBI seized the recording during an April raid of Cohens office. "The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election," which may violate federal campaign finance laws. Days before the election, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks denied any knowledge of the payment, and said that the allegations were "totally untrue."
Conservative Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, a former CIA agent, says in a New York Times op-ed this morning that Russian intelligence is "manipulating" President Trump. "The leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad," he writes.