Haslam Defends Ties to Lobbyist

Gov. Bill Haslam defended his ties to political advisor Tom Ingram after published emails showed the lobbyist’s efforts to influence senior officials in his administration, the Tennessean reports. Haslam and his chief of staff, Mark Cate, said Ingram and his firm had no special access to the governor or his advisers. Emails obtained and released by WTVF-TV show Cate, Ingram and his partner discussing the firm’s clients over weekends and holidays, as well as when Cate was traveling in the Bahamas. Haslam did not deny that Ingram had lobbied his staff while also being kept on retainer, but he said those efforts were not inappropriate. “The question is, did anything happen there that shouldn’t have happened?” Haslam said. “I don’t think it has.”