About the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance
Tennessee Ethics Commission
The citizens of Tennessee are entitled to a responsive, accountable, and incorruptible government. The Tennessee Ethics Commission was therefore established by the general assembly to sustain the public's confidence in government by increasing government's integrity and transparency through the regulation of lobbying activities, financial disclosure requirements, and certain other specific types of activities that are within the statutory jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission. In December of 2005, Governor Phil Bredesen called a special legislative session to focus the attention, will and efforts of the Legislative and Executive branches of government on the passage of strong ethics legislation. Governor Bredesen's call addressed a variety of specific issues, including ethical standards of conduct by government officials; contribution limits and disclosure in political campaigns; the open operation of government; the formation of an independent ethics commission; and penalties for violations of ethical standards. As a result, the 104th Tennessee General Assembly passed the Comprehensive Governmental Ethics Reform Act of 2006 in an effort to protect and secure the governmental process from corruption and abuse and to provide transparency to the citizens of the State. The Tennessee Ethic Commission ("Commission") was created in an effort to sustain the public's confidence in government by increasing the integrity and transparency of state and local government through the regulation of lobbying activities, financial disclosure requirements and ethical conduct.
Under T.C.A. § 3-6-103 the Commission is comprised of six (6) members. They are appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Governor appoints one (1) member of the majority party and one (1) member of the minority party, and each Speaker appoints one (1) member of the majority party and one (1) member of the minority party.The initial members' terms are staggered as follows: the gubernatorial appointees serve initial terms of two (2) years; the Senate appointees serve initial terms of three (3) years; and the House appointees serve initial terms of four (4) years. Thereafter, members serve four-year terms and are eligible to serve two (2) successive four-year terms.
Tennessee Registry of Election Finance
The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance was created by the General Assembly in 1989 as an independent entity of state government. (T.C.A. §2-10-201, et seq.) The agency is responsible for the enforcement of the following laws:
Campaign Financial Disclosure Act (T.C.A. §2-10-101, et seq.)
Campaign Contribution Limits Act (T.C.A. §2-10-301, et seq.)
Gubernatorial Inauguration Finance Disclosure Act (T.C.A. §2-10-401, et seq.)
The Registry is composed of six board members, who are appointed for five (5) year terms. The Governor appoints two (2) of the members, with one (1) of the appointees representing the majority party and one (1) representing the minority party. Gubernatorial appointees have full power to serve until any vote of nonconfirmation by the General Assembly.The remaining members of the Registry are appointed by the House and Senate. The Senate has the authority to appoint two (2) members with one (1) member being chosen by the Senate Democratic Caucus and the other being appointed by the Senate Republican Caucus. Likewise, the House is empowered to appoint two (2) members to the board, with one (1) appointee being chosen by the House Democratic Caucus and the other appointee being made by the House Republican Caucus.