Education A State Capitals Roundup

Tenn. Bribery Charges Include Ed. Panelists

By Joetta L. Sack — June 07, 2005 1 min read

One current and one former member of the Tennessee Senate’s education committee have been arrested as part of an FBI sting that nabbed four lawmakers and three others with ties to the legislature on bribery charges.

Federal and state investigators allege the lawmakers accepted payoffs from companies wanting to do business with the state. The investigators set up a phony computer-recycling company that offered bribes in exchange for the legislators’ sponsorship of measures that would help the company.

Sen. Ward Crutchfield, a Democrat and member of the education committee, and former Sen. Roscoe Dixon, a Democrat who served as vice chairman of that committee, were among those arrested May 26. Rep. J. Chris Newton, a Republican, and Sens. John N. Ford and Kathryn I. Bowers, both Democrats, also were charged with accepting bribes. Mr. Ford has since resigned from the Senate.

Sens. Ford, Bowers, and Crutchfield have told local media that they are innocent of all charges. Rep. Newton sent a letter to his supporters last week asking them to pray for him and to pray that justice will be served.