Campaign calls on Mayor to immediately refund Knox County taxpayers
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—After delaying an open records request for over three months, the office of Knox County Mayor and candidate for Congress, Tim Burchett, released copies of his per diem mileage expense reports from his tenure as Mayor. These explosive reports reveal a continual abuse of power and embezzlement of Knox County taxpayer funds to pay for the Mayor’s travel to and from: partisan political meetings and events; political fundraisers; personal meals with family, friends, and political donors; and, over 100 funerals around the state.
It is the Emert campaign’s estimation that nearly 18% ($6,057 of $33,783) of Mayor Burchett’s mileage reimbursements have been improper, fraudulent, and equate to embezzlement.
Since taking office, Mayor Burchett has improperly received per diem mileage reimbursements for:
- 90 Campaign events (2,848 miles)
- 17 Political/campaign meetings (528 miles)
- 46 Donor/political meals (473 miles)
- 113 Personal meals (1,577 miles)
- 124 funerals (3,339 miles)
- 94 Non-mayoral events (2,605 miles)
- 2 Non-mayoral meetings (24 miles)
Mayor Burchett’s office declined to release any non-mileage expense reports, his email correspondence, or his schedules citing them as non-original records and, thus, alleging them to be exempt from public records requests. Due to this refusal, there is no way to know if or how much Knox County taxpayers have been paying for the meals, event tickets, and donations for these events that he received mileage reimbursements for.
The Emert campaign calls on Mayor Burchett to immediately refund the taxpayers of Knox County for these misused funds and to release all of his expense reports outside of mileage. Further, we call for the Knox County Commission to expeditiously begin an investigation of the expenses claimed by Mayor Burchett and the department heads of Knox County’s executive branch.
Campaign spokesman Chris Olmstead released the following statement from the Emert campaign:
“Mayor Burchett and his office of corrupt cronies held off on releasing these reports until the eleventh hour—knowing full well what these reports would reveal. The taxpayers of the Second Congressional District and Knox County should be up in arms that they’ve been forced to foot the bill for Mayor Burchett to gallivant around to swanky galas, political fundraisers, and lunches with mega-donors.
“This abuse of power is exactly what’s wrong with career politicians and is why people across the country have ushered a wave of outsiders into office. Mayor Burchett needs to come clean about his embezzlement of Knox County taxpayer’s money and make amends. We demand that the Mayor pay back the taxpayers and direct his office to release all other expense reports to prove there hasn’t been even further fraud committed by the Mayor