Here’s Who Republicans Just Picked To Run Their Governors Association

The Republican Party really wants you to know that they’ve changed. They’ve broadened their appeal. No more war on women. No more out-of-touch super-rich white guys as their standard bearers. So guess who they just picked to run the Republican Governors Association?

Ding ding ding! A super-rich white guy who opposes raising the minimum wage and defunded Planned Parenthood in his state.

Meet Bill Haslam, governor of Tennessee, partial owner of Pilot Flying J — a company under investigation for defrauding customers — and new chair of the RGA. Some things never change.

Background:

Haslam’s Family Is Worth Over $1 Billion; Doesn’t Support Raising Minimum Wage

Estimates: The Haslam Family Fortune Exceeds $1 Billion. According to The Tennessean, “The governor, whose family fortune is estimated to exceed $1 billion, said income inequality can be addressed best by improving the education system.” [The Tennessean, 6/3/13]

Haslam Disagreed With Illinois Governor Over Increasing The Minimum Wage, Said ‘If You Do That (Nationally), You’re Going To Lose 500,000 Jobs.’ According to Knoxville News Sentinel, “Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam disagreed — in a generally polite manner — over increasing the minimum wage, Medicaid expansion and unions in a joint appearance on a nationally televised PBS Newshour segment.Haslam stopped short of declaring outright opposition to an increase in the minimum wage at either the state or federal level, but cited a Congressional Budget Office report that ‘if you do that (nationally), you’re going to lose 500,000 jobs’ while observing, ‘I don’t think there’s a big movement to change the minimum wage in Tennessee.’” [Knoxville News Sentinel, 2/23/14]

Tennessee Is One Of The Few States Without A Minimum Wage Law. According to WSMV, “Tennessee is one of the few states that doesn’t have a minimum wage law. Workers are paid the federally set standard of $7.25 an hour. During the last legislative session, an attempt was made to raise the minimum wage another dollar per hour for workers who can’t get health insurance through their company. That measure never made it out of the committee.” [WSMV, 11/14/14]

Haslam Defunded Planned Parenthood In Tennessee

Haslam: “I Believe State Funding For Planned Parenthood Should Be Eliminated.” According to PolitiFact, “‘I believe state funding for Planned Parenthood should be eliminated.’ Gov. Bill Haslam made that statement in response to a questionnaire from the Tennessee Newspaper Network in a project called: ‘Tennessee’s Governor’s Race: Compare the Candidates,’ a comparison of the gubernatorial candidates’ positions on issues published before the 2010 elections.” [PolitiFact, 1/30/13]

PolitiFact: Haslam Promise To Defund Planned Parenthood “Kept.”According to PolitiFact, “Anti-abortion activists, angered over the unexpected turn of events, began an email and telephone campaign asking Haslam to come up with some other way to divert funding from Planned Parenthood. He did, directing the state Health Department to step up its efforts to encourage Davidson and Shelby counties to end their local contracts with Planned Parenthood. Davidson County did last summer, but it became a battle in Shelby County until it also went along last fall. Tennessee Right to Life issued a statement on Oct. 18 declaring victory and giving a large share of the credit to Haslam and others. Our ruling: Promise Kept” [PolitiFact, 1/30/13]

Company Raided By Federal Agents In Fraud Investigation

Bill Haslam Holds An Undisclosed Ownership Share In Pilot Flying J; Claims He Is Not Involved In Day To Day Operations. According to The Associated Press, “Two trucking companies are accusing Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam of directly orchestrating a scheme to cheat customers out of promised rebates and discounts, according to recent court filing. Haslam is the CEO of Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest diesel retailer, with annual revenues of around $30 billion. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam also holds an undisclosed ownership share in the company but has said he is not involved in Pilot’s day-to-day operations.” [The Associated Press, 11/18/14]

April 2013: Federal Agents Raided Pilot-Flying J’ Headquarters According to The Associated Press, “Since federal agents raided Pilot’s Knoxville headquarters in April 2013, 10 former employees have pleaded guilty to the scheme to defraud customers. Jimmy Haslam has not been charged with any crime.” [The Associated Press, 11/18/14]

Trucking Companies Alleged That Jimmy Haslam Ordered Pilot Flying J Employees To Reduce Rebates Due To The Companies. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Two trucking companies accuse Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam of directing a fuel rebate fraud for his family’s truck stop chain, Pilot Flying J, according to documents filed in a federal court on Friday. The companies, Keystone Freight Corp. and National Retail Transportation, said the chain taught employees to defraud the trucking companies in a conspiracy directed by Haslam. The documents, in what is called a bill of particulars, said Haslam never intended for Pilot to honor its fuel rebate agreement with the trucking companies, and ‘each month, Pilot’s employees under Haslam’s direction and control manually adjusted and reduced the rebates that were due.’” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/17/14]

10 Employees Pled Guilty. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Haslam has not been charged with any crimes in the federal probe that has already seen 10 Pilot employees plead guilty to charges. The 10 are cooperating in the on-going investigation.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/17/14]