Party filed public records request for correspondence between governor, scandal-plagued congressman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Democratic Party filed a request Monday with Governor Bill Haslam’s office for copies of text messages sent between the governor and U.S. Rep. Scott Desjarlais, a Republican doctor who is entangled in a scandal involving a sexual relationship he had with a patient.

“Rep. DesJarlais only wants to discuss his illegal and unethical affair with a patient behind closed doors, but citizens and voters have a right to know whether their public officials have honored the law and their professional code of ethics.” TNDP Chairman Chip Forrester said. “The governor should show some leadership and put his foot down; it’s unethical and simply unacceptable for Rep. Desjarlais to have sex with his patients.

“Unfortunately Gov. Haslam has repeatedly shown he’s unwilling to hold members of his party accountable,” Forrester said. “Regardless of Gov. Haslam’s reluctance to seriously address the issue, we are confident voters will ensure there are consequences for Desjarlais’ extramarital affairs with one of his patients.”

While conveniently dodging the difficult decision to hold a unethical member of his own party accountable, Haslam told WSMV that Rep. Desjarlais had sent him a text message and he’d only discuss the “pro-family” congressman’s patient-sex scandal after speaking with him.

“Pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act, T.C.A. § 10-7-503, I write to request access to and a copy of the following: Correspondence between Governor Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais dated anytime from Jan. 1, 2012 to the date this request is fulfilled. This might include e-mails, written correspondences, phone records and text messages, or instances on Governor Haslam’s schedule in which he spoke with Congressman DesJarlais,” the TNDP stated in a public record request filed Monday.

Governor Bill Haslam Refuses to Hold Desjarlais Accountable, Dodges Questions. “I got a text from the congressman this week, but I haven’t got a chance to talk to him. Maybe this weekend,” said Gov. Bill Haslam. [WSMV, 10/19/12]

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