Knox County prosecutors are being asked to determine whether the promise of a cannabis store rebate to anyone who votes in the election violates the state’s corruption law, Knox News has learned.
Deidra Harper, who is running in District 6 for Knoxville City Council, posted photos and a video to Facebook on Saturday promising a 15% discount at the My Canna Buds store on Western Avenue to anyone showing their voting sticker. She did not tie the discount to voting for a particular candidate.
“The message encourages people to vote, not necessarily to vote for me,” Harper told Knox News on Monday. “Turnout is really low in local elections and we know it’s important to vote. The goal is to get people to vote for who you vote for. No one knows … if you voted and exercised your right to vote, that’s what’s important.
Harper challenges outgoing District 6 representative, Deputy Mayor Gwen McKenzie.
Knox County Election Officer Chris Davis was told by several people about the promised surrender and he asked the State Election Commission to rule on whether it violated the law. Instead, the commission suggested that he send it to the prosecutor’s office to decide.
“I sent information to the prosecutor’s office. I’ll let them determine if this is against a law, ”he told Knox News in an email.
It is against state law to pay, lend, contribute, or offer anything of value for someone’s vote. It is not clear whether the posts violate these laws.
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Other complaints have circulated against candidates in recent weeks.
One was filed against District 4 candidate Jim Klonaris, claiming he accepted donations from businesses beyond state limits, especially $ 600 above the legal limit from A&B Distributing Inc., according to a report by Compass Knox.
Klonaris, Compass reported, returned the $ 600 in question to A&B Distributing.
The boundaries are confusing because of the new lines drawn in the way the state regulates the types of donations and the amounts of businesses.
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In the Klonaris case, there is confusion over what constitutes a limited liability company versus a corporation. A corporation, by state law, is treated differently and may register as a political action committee and make larger donations to campaigns.
Separately, local Democrat Greg Mackay has filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office for more information on the relationship between the Scruffy Little City PAC and the Knox Liberty Organization.
Mackay had several questions, including why the address of the treasurer of Scruffy Little City PAC is the same as that of a UPS store.