Timothy Hill's firm cashing in on his own, other GOP campaigns

Hank Hayes • Oct 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM

While Timothy Hill runs for a Tennessee House seat, his business is making thousands of dollars off political campaigns, according to quarterly campaign finance disclosures filed with the state.

Hill’s Blountville-based Right Way marketing firm has been paid to do polling for his GOP 3rd House District campaign as well as the campaigns of his brother, Republican state Rep. Matthew Hill, and House District 6 GOP nominee Micah Van Huss.

Timothy Hill gave his company $7,869 out of his campaign account for political research, according to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (TREF).

When asked how his campaign contributors would feel about the move, Timothy Hill said in an e-mail: “My contributors have placed tremendous trust in me and my campaign by giving their hard-earned dollars to someone who will make a difference in Nashville, and I do not take that for granted. ... The campaign believes it is best to use a tried and tested provider that could deliver results. I’m very blessed to employ local folks that provide the best results in their field, and my goal is to spend contributions wisely and locally when possible.”

TREF Executive Director Drew Rawlins indicated Timothy Hill’s action is completely legal.

“There is no law that restricts someone from buying services from their own company. Yes, he can do that,” Rawlins said.

Matthew Hill, a five-term Jonesborough Republican who represents House District 7, gave $1,500 to his brother’s marketing firm for polling.

Van Huss, who defeated incumbent state Rep. Dale Ford of Jonesborough in the August GOP primary, reported spending $3,000 with Timothy Hill’s marketing firm for polling during the general election campaign, in addition to $5,100 for work done during the primary.

In addition to those expenditures, the disclosures revealed most Northeast Tennessee House Republican candidates hold a huge campaign fund-raising advantage over their opponents with less than four weeks to go before the November general election.

Matthew Hill began the fund-raising period with $71,669 cash on hand. He raised $6,200 during the period, spent $23,034 and reported a quarter-ending balance of $54,834.

In contrast, his general election opponent, Johnson City Democrat Nancy Fischman, reported only individual contributions totaling $9,142, plus $7,184 in expenditures and $5,305 cash on hand.

Timothy Hill began the quarter with $31,856, raised $26,630 and spent $26,9698. He ended the quarter with $25,139 cash on hand.

Timothy Hill reported $7,350 in political action committee contributions, including a $1,400 gift from GOP House Speaker Beth Harwell’s leadership PAC. He received $11,000 all total for the primary and general election from the Sullivan County Republican Party. He also collected $2,750 in contributions from four lawmakers — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville; state Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol; state Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City; and House Speaker Pro Tem Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma.

Timothy Hill also listed $15,500 in personal loans made to his campaign.

His main general election opponent, Bristol Democrat Leah Kirk, reported no campaign contributions or expenditures.

In House District 2, incumbent Republican state Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport reported $5,350 in PAC contributions, and a $10,000 gift from the Sullivan County Republican Party for both the primary and general election. He raised $24,865, spent $14,840 and ended the quarter with $28,280 cash on hand.

But Shipley, who is seeking his third term in office, received no campaign contributions from other GOP lawmakers or their PACs during the quarter. Both Ramsey and Lundberg endorsed Shipley during the August primary, when Shipley defeated former Kingsport Alderman Ben Mallicote by 10 votes.

Shipley’s Democratic general election opponent, Kingsport’s Bruce Dotson, reported only individual contributions of $7,454, $1,977 in expenses and $7,259 cash on hand.

In House District 4, incumbent independent state Rep. Kent Williams of Elizabethton is out-raising Republican challenger Thomas Gray of Elizabethton.

Williams, who was kicked out of the Tennessee Republican Party after he voted with 49 Democrats in the House to make himself House speaker in 2009, started the quarter with a $41,309 balance. He raised $31,025 during the quarter with the help of nearly $20,000 in PAC contributions, and reported having $47,242 cash on hand.

Gray only raised $3,100 during the quarter, spent $3,927 and reported having $3,304 cash on hand. Matthew Hill reported giving $1,400 to Gray’s campaign. Gray also listed two $5,000 loans to his election effort.

House Republicans hold a 64-34 majority that could grow by as many as 10 seats, Harwell said during a recent stop in Kingsport.

Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election begins Wednesday.

For more about campaign finance, go to www.tn.gov/tref.

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