Financial Disclosure Conflicts With Senate Candidate's Claims

May 8, 2014

Credit Joe Carr for Senate

Republican State Representative Joe Carr describes himself as a farmer and businessman that lives on a 95-acre farm outside Murfreesboro. But campaign finance disclosure forms present an unclear picture of those descriptions.

Disclosure documents filed last week showed the plurality of Carr's income in 2013 came from not from farming or business consulting, but from his salary and per diem allowances as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. His income from state government was $28,000, compared to a combined $21,000 from his cattle ranch and consulting work.

Carr's claim about living on a 95-acre farm in Rutherford County is also unclear, based on his latest disclosure. State records show the piece of property he referred to is owned by another person. On Tuesday, Carr told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he would amend some of his forms to reflect his ownership of two parcels of land that total 91 acres. That land was not listed under his assets.

Rep. Carr's filing comes more than eight months after a deadline. Candidates are supposed to file their initial disclosures within 30 days of declaring their intentions for office. Carr announced his bid to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Lamar Alexander in August 2013. Campaign manager Donald Rickard told the Times Free Press last week that the late filing was an error.

That oversight isn't particularly uncommon. Only six of the 22 declared candidates for Alexander's U.S. Senate seat have filed the required documents, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.