Tennessee’s former house speakerGlen Casada, 63, and his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, 35, were arrested Tuesday on federal fraud charges following an extensive investigation into both men. In 2019, the previous Speaker of the House resigned from his position. He did not run for re-election this year and is the first current or former Tennessee House representative to face charges.
Glen Casada and Cothren appeared in federal court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, the accused could face up to 20 years in prison. Glen Casada and Cothren were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to commit theft from federally funded programs, bribery and kickbacks related to federally funded programs, fraud with honest services and conspiracy to whiten money. wash, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
If they can do this to Glen Casada and Cade Cothren, they can do it to anyone who uses a fictitious name to commit fraud; steals from federal funds; carries out money laundering; commits wire fraud; or accepts bribes and kickbacks
— Brad Batt for TN State Sanity ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾 (@bradbatt) August 23, 2022
The Relationship Between Glen Casada and Cade Cothren and “Matthew Phoenix”
Federal authorities arrested Glen Casada and Cade Cothren at their homes. The former House Speaker is accused of operating a political consultancy under the alias “Matthew Phoenix” to receive money for personal benefit.
The Justice Department said in a press release:
“In October 2019, Casada, Cothren, and another conspirator, also a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, when representing Tennessee House District 63, were involved in a fraudulent scheme to enrich themselves by taking advantage of Casada’s official positions and the other conspiring as lawmakers to obtain state approval of Phoenix Solutions as a provider of the mailer program to provide constituent mail services to members of the Tennessee General Assembly.”
It went on to say:
“In reality, Cothren ran Phoenix Solutions, and Casada, Cothren, and the third conspirator allegedly knew that ‘Matthew Phoenix’ was fake and was secretly profiting from the bogus venture.”
They would file false bills with the state government on behalf of Glen Casada and the third conspirator’s consultancies. In 2020, these companies and Phoenix solutions received approximately $51,947 in state payments related to the mailer program. At the trial, House Speaker Cameron Sexton testified and promised the authorities his full cooperation on the matter.
“Tennessee does not tolerate public corruption, state fraud or bribery at any level. Over the past two years, our legislative body has worked together to take important steps in this investigation, including legislation to improve campaign finance controls and new ethical standards for elected officials and employees.”
“Today is a great day for the people of Tennessee because we have not ignored these illegal acts.”
Karen Camper, D-Memphis, House minority leader, stated:
“We have been elected to serve the public, and when that trust is violated, it is extremely demoralizing and undermines our citizens’ trust in government.”
“However, this shows how urgently the campaign finance reform is still needed, and that the bipartisan legislation already passed must go much further.”
Casada stated in November 2021 that he will retire at the end of 2022.