Last week, I wrote that Sen. Marsha Blackburn had not spoken out on the Casey Arrowood nomination for US Attorney for Eastern Tennessee. Spencer Hurwitz, her communications director, emailed to say Blackburn had endorsed Arrowood on Fox News.
I had not seen her comments. However, on Dec. 15, in response to Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, who had criticized the Arrowood nomination as “anti-Asian,” Blackburn said it is a “shame” that Democrats are stonewalling a “well qualified” Arrowood for “prosecuting a potential (Chinese Communist Party) spy.”
The “potential” person in question is University of Tennessee at Knoxville professor Anming Hu. Blackburn was wrong in her description of Hu on two counts. First, he was prosecuted by the Department of Justice on charges of wire fraud and false statements, not espionage. Most importantly, he was acquitted by federal Judge Thomas Varlan in his second trial − the first was declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.
Hu was never prosecuted for being a spy and stands acquitted on all charges. He has been restored to his prior position at UT. There is no evidence he was ever a spy.
The Arrowood nomination is now history and can be revived only if President Joe Biden resubmits it to the new Congress. I asked Hurwitz if Blackburn favored Arrowood being resubmitted, but he did not respond in time for this deadline.
Trey Hamilton is currently the US attorney and likely will continue until a new president takes office in 2025 or Biden is re-elected. With Democratic opposition to Arrowood, it is hard to see the majority-Democratic Senate confirming him.
Meanwhile, the Senate confirmed all of Biden’s appointments to the TVA board of directors just before Christmas. That means now that Knoxville and middle East Tennessee do not have a single TVA board member, as Jeff Smith rotated off. (He continues on the Knoxville Airport Authority.)
There have been only a few times in TVA history when Knoxville – TVA’s headquarters – did not have at least one board member. To name a few of them over the years: Bill Baxter, Bill Sansom, Susan Richardson Williams, Bill Jenkins, and John B. Waters Jr.
Jill McCook will have her investiture as federal magistrate judges at 10 am Jan. 13 at the Howard Baker Federal Courthouse. She succeeded Bruce Guyton.
David Butler, able and popular executive director of the Knoxville Museum of Art, starts his final year leading KMA. He retires at the end of 2023 but will remain in Knoxville. Businessman Steve Bailey – who along with his wife, Ann, is a major supporter of KMA – chairs the search committee for the next director. Butler is KMA’s longest serving executive director and clearly its most successful. Bailey is a longtime effective supporter of KMA.
The East Tennessee Foundation has a search committee underway to replace Mike McClamroch. Its work is probably a higher climb than what KMA faces due to the circumstances leading to the foundation’s search. This committee is chaired by Dr. Amy Cathey of the Haslam College of Business, a past chair of the East Tennessee Foundation. The other five members are Joan Cronan, past board member; Denise Dean, current board member and director of East Tennessee Freedom Schools; David Martin, lifetime board member; Trudy Hughes, current CEO of Arrowmont; and Katharine Killen. A search firm has been retained. McClamroch was at the East Tennessee Foundation for 20 years.
Jan. 5: Andrew Davis, pivotal governmental relations aide to County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, is 28. Lauren Miller is 38. Retired Webb School educator Jay Livingston is 78. Businessman Ronny Robertson is 72. Sherry Ailor is 61. Derise Woods is 55. CAC’s Barbara Kelly is 85.Peter Hedger Jr. is 41. State Sen. Ken Yager is 76. Compass Knox’s Scott Barker is 60.
Jan. 6: Jennifer Montgomery is 51. Alex Neubert is 48. Attorney Greg O’Connor is 82. Gail Showalter is 76.
Jan. 7: Anne Pittenger is 77. KCDC Commissioner Kanika White is 44. Former County Commission Chair Leo Cooper is 90. Robert F. Collignon Jr. is 71. Adam Brown is 42. Bill Morrow is 76. Attorney Nathaniel R. Ogle is 35. Samuel Yoakum is 43.
Jan. 8: Adam Priest is 46. Bryan Hair, former county mayor chief of staff who pled guilty to a felony of official misconduct, is 42.
Jan. 9: Amelia K. Baker is 42. Kate, Princess of Wales, is 41. Former County Commissioner Scott Smith is 54. Terry Mosley is 74. Former AAA CEO Tim Wright is 76. Marcy Souza is 50.
Jan. 10: Guy Smoak is 63.
Jan. 11: Sherri Garrett is 58. Meghan Conley is 40. Marian Epps is 56. Scott Rhea is 60. Eden McNabb Bishop is 56. Reinhold Mann is 70. Knoxville’s city pension board director Kristi Paczkowski is 54.
Victor Ashe is a former Knoxville mayor and former ambassador to Poland. He is a columnist for Shopper News.
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Mon. Marsha Blackburn wrong about US attorney nominee | Victor Ashe
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