The future of the Chattanooga conservative group Hamilton Flourishing is in doubt with its president, Doug Daugherty, alleging its funding was reduce off at the instigation of former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
Daugherty built the demand in a modern, urgent fundraising plea, charging that Corker, a Republican, named “our most important donor” to get the funding slash. He did not discover the donor in dilemma but the Maclellan Foundation has been the group’s best profile funder.
“The RINOs (Republicans in title only) are attacking us, primarily around the Weston Wamp unlawful election,” Daughtery wrote in his missive, alluding to Republican Weston Wamp’s victory in Hamilton County’s May perhaps 3 mayoral main election, which was challenged unsuccessfully at the state GOP executive committee.
The allegation that Corker sought to cut off funding is baseless, reported David Denmark, government director of the Maclellan Basis.
“Bob Corker has not spoken with Chris Maclellan nor any individual else at the foundation about withholding funding for Hamilton Flourishing,” Denmark said in an email. “It would be a moot place, given that we have not funded Hamilton Flourishing in virtually four many years.”
Denmark mentioned in an earlier statement that “the Maclellans and the foundation have no awareness or impression about the allegations made by Hamilton Flourishing concerning the the latest most important election for our county’s mayor. We will be happy to operate together with whomever is in the long run elected to provide our neighborhood in that crucial potential.”
Wamp will deal with Democrat Matt Adams in an Aug. 4 general election.
Todd Womack, Corker’s former chief of staff, said by phone the previous senator did not seek to slice off foundation funding.
Two former board customers concerned in the development of Hamilton Flourishing advised the Chattanooga Instances No cost Press by telephone that the intent was constantly that the team, established as a conservative believe tank and declared publicly in 2019, would develop into self-ample immediately after a few yrs with no additional funding from the Maclellans.
Previous board users Tom Decosimo and Tina Benkiser also said it was their recollection that Hugh O. Maclellan, the foundation’s former president, experienced presented funding for at the very least some of that time.
Efforts to achieve Hugh O. Maclellan on Saturday by cellphone to question regardless of whether Corker or other folks contacted him in any hard work to lower off funding were being unsuccessful. The Times Absolutely free Push referred to as three cellphone quantities listing Maclellan’s title, and all responded with a recording expressing they are not taking phone calls.
Corker, meanwhile, did not reply on Saturday to a Periods No cost Push text about irrespective of whether he experienced raised the problem with Hugh O. Maclellan.
Daugherty has labored for decades in assist of social and spiritual conservative challenges. The Hamilton Flourishing group concentrated on training plan, abortion and other problems.
For two months functioning, the Instances Cost-free Press sought to decide irrespective of whether the team gained more than enough funding to continue to be active beyond the July 15 shutdown date listed in the fundraising plea.
The 7 days before previous, Daugherty responded briefly to a number of textual content messages, 1st writing, “Super, super active. Converse to you up coming week if I can. Obtaining a household in Charleston.”
Daughterty did not answer when requested no matter whether that was in Charleston, Tennessee, or Charleston, South Carolina.
This previous week, Daugherty wrote in reaction to a abide by-up text to explore the circumstance that “I just won’t be able to til the time is suitable.”
In a later on textual content, unedited, he wrote, “Hamilton. Flourishing right up until their is a total succession strategy,” prior to afterwards adding “I am on a sabbatical. I will be 70 in Oct.”
Hamilton Flourishing first received its IRS nonprofit acceptance in 2018. In a 2019 submitting, it documented $96,100 in funding for what appeared to be a partial year’s exercise. It mentioned $34,896 in salaries, other compensation and employee added benefits as perfectly as $8,827 in expert service fees and other payments made to unbiased contractors and other expenditures, leaving a $41,992 balance.
In its 2020 disclosure, reflecting 2019 activity, the team reported acquiring $305,185 that year. Of that quantity, Daugherty been given $125,000 as foundation compensation. It also reported $87,500 in service application expenditures and $37,500 in management and common expenses. A area for fundraising bills was blank.
The group’s creation was publicly declared in April 2019 for the duration of a conference with the Periods Free of charge Press. There, board customers Ken Meyer, a previous Republican legislator Decosimo, handling principal of Decosimo Corporate Finance and Benkiser, a regional legal professional and previous head of the Republican Bash of Texas, outlined what they observed as the need for a conservative feel tank in the local community.
Meyer at the time pointed to the neighborhood arranging operate of UnifiEd — a nearby, progressive nonprofit team developed in 2013 with the objective of reforming Hamilton County Schools. UnifiEd has been supported financially by the local Benwood Basis.
UnifiEd shares its identify with a political action committee that experienced been energetic in college board and County Fee races. Decosimo, Meyer and Benkiser had been looking for to offer a equilibrium to UnifiEd on the suggestions entrance.
According to Decosimo, at minimum some of the group’s funding came from Hugh O. Maclellan, whose loved ones established Chattanooga-dependent Provident Everyday living and Incident Insurance coverage Co., which later on merged with Unum. The spouse and children has quite a few other foundations as effectively.
“I believe at first the Maclellan Basis was heading to fund” Hamilton Flourishing, Decosimo stated in a cellular phone job interview final week. “But I believe for no matter what explanations they resolved that Hugh O. would do it separately.”
Decosimo, who ran unsuccessfully for school board in 2020, mentioned his recollection was Maclellan’s monetary assistance was to be for 3 years, the plan remaining that would let Daugherty time to produce a sustainable fundraising strategy to carry on Hamilton Flourishing’s functions.
“I assumed Doug did a actually very good position,” Decosimo claimed. “You know, just form of staying a neutral conservative voice, promoting literacy in our educational institutions and furnishing perception into the voters as to who the candidates were.”
Decosimo mentioned Daugherty has been in the process of seeking to broaden out his help.
“And that is in which he was when I bought off the board. He was informed of Hugh’s commitment and he was attempting to broaden his assist so he just would not be extremely reliant.
“I have no notion what happened in this article,” Decosimo reported. “Like I claimed, I bought off the board, I am just too darned chaotic.”
Meyer, govt director of federal affairs with K12 Inc., a for-income business that presents on line college curriculum, mentioned he had minimal involvement in the early phases of Hamilton Flourishing and left following about a calendar year presented his business and other responsibilities.
Those people incorporate serving on the board of the Beacon Centre, a Nashville-primarily based free of charge-industry believe tank. Meyer reported he experienced prompt Daugherty may well try to operate out an arrangement with the Beacon Center.
“I just didn’t have more than enough time to shell out awareness to what was heading on domestically that I would be of any genuine gain,” said Meyer, whose perform often takes him to Washington, D.C. “Due to the fact I was included in Beacon Heart, I observed some value in the principle, but that idea just hardly ever seriously developed.”
Benkiser reported she was on the board for about a calendar year. She reported she experienced been fascinated in “educating men and women to be concerned in civic matters, educating folks on the challenges so that they could make up their very own minds and just genuinely get back again to knowledgable civic engagement.”
She reported her understanding was the Maclellan Foundation was to supply first funding for the initially 3 decades.
“And the plan for any nonprofit team is to develop its very own donor base on any form of foundation or seed dollars,” she mentioned. “I know it was the Maclellan Basis, and then I feel that Hugh Maclellan stepped in, clearly, and took up where by the foundation still left off. But I assume that a few yrs is in all probability coming about now, coming to its natural finish. So I feel it fulfills the commitments it built.”
She explained she has no notion if Hamilton Flourishing has built a donor base, obtaining go through Daugherty’s mentioning having a 60,000-reader foundation for his electronic mail publication.
“But I never know how that translates into donations or donors,” she said.
Wamp on May possibly 3 won the Republican nomination for Hamilton County mayor in a 3-person industry. He been given 318 additional votes than his closest competitor, Sabrena Smedley, Hamilton County Commission chairwoman. Businessman Matt Hullander arrived in third.
A team of Republicans charged that Democrats had “illegally” crossed around, despite the fact that the state has no mechanism for political occasion voter registration and allows voters to choose one particular party’s ballot or an additional on the day of a main election.
There was much more “crossover” voting than normal this yr, as Democrats on May well 3 did not have a aggressive most important for mayor.
Smedley challenged the election final results right before the Tennessee Republican Point out Government Committee, but users pointed out there was no way to know which candidates acquired the votes from crossover Democrats, supplied that ballots are kept magic formula. Wamp and his allies observed he won lots of of the most conservative precincts in the county.
Both Meyer and Benkiser provide on the Tennessee GOP’s Point out Government Committee, which decided Smedley’s obstacle. Meyer voted in opposition to the problem, indicating current point out regulation enables crossover voting. Benkiser voted to overturn Wamp’s victory.
Among its actions this calendar year, Hamilton Flourishing sponsored a Republican mayoral principal discussion.
Decosimo, who supported Hullander in the GOP mayoral key, expressed puzzlement above a Hamilton Flourishing poll by Knoxville-based Spry Procedures on the race, commissioned by Hamilton Flourishing. Unveiled in April, it showed Wamp foremost in the mayoral primary.
“I was not joyful about the poll he ran showing Weston successful,” Decosimo said. “I am not sure exactly where that came from.”
“A City FOR GOD”
Daugherty has extensive been included in conservative issues and occasionally on the political entrance, serving as marketing campaign manager in 1986 for fellow social and spiritual conservative Jim Golden in Golden’s unsuccessful problem to then-U.S. Rep. Marilyn Lloyd, a Chattanooga Democrat.
He later became a political and fundraising marketing consultant, doing work with Inner-Metropolis Ministries. He states in his Hamilton Flourishing biography that he turned govt director of the Chattanooga Coalition Versus Pornography and “ran all the pornography suppliers out of city.”
Some time later, he grew to become executive director of the Chattanooga Useful resource Heart, yet another conservative social and religiously oriented team for approximately two a long time. Its mission was creating Chattanooga “a City for God.”
As head of Hamilton Flourishing, he writes an e-mail newsletter known as Civilis. He not long ago hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination overturning Roe v. Wade, declaring that “without having issue the blood of innocents, and tens of millions of people’s prayers and tens of millions of people’s tough do the job is the major miracle factor in any technology alive!”
In his enchantment for money assist, Daugherty mentioned, “It’s all-out war from the RINOs, the Trump haters, primarily voter integrity …. It is a war. We will win if you enable.”
He signed the email, “Doug Daugherty, desperately doing the job hard to survive economically.”