Chris Butler is an investigative reporter for Watchdog.org who covers Tennessee and his home state of Louisiana. Chris is based in Nashville. Contact him at cbutler@watchdog.org and follow him on Facebook at "Chris-Butler-WriterJournalist" or on Twitter at cdbutler1204.

Haslam wants to cap fuel tax FedEx pays for its planes in Tennessee

By   /  April 15, 2015  /  News, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is pushing for legislation that would put a $10.5 million cap on how much tax FedEx pays on aviation fuel to keep the company from doing more business out of state.

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State officials misled parents about online school, lawsuit says

By   /  April 13, 2015  /  News, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Photo by Chris Butler

Tennessee officials in 2013 promised they wouldn’t use a new state law to shut down an online public school because of things that happened before the law passed.

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Profits not found: Government Internet loses public money year after year

By   /  April 7, 2015  /  News, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Shutterstock image

Public utilities that offer cable and Internet using public dollars regularly lose money, says a professor who’s studied the issue.

Clarksville is a prime example of this problem, according to its most recent audit.

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Critics argue former education leader contradicted stance on virtual schools

By   /  April 2, 2015  /  News, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of YouTube

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman gave state legislators inaccurate information two years ago about if and when he might try to close the Tennessee Virtual Academy school, according to two officials.
And now there’s a YouTube video that seems to indicate Huffman contradicted himself.
The video shows Huffman telling members of […]

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SBA gives business loan to woman now under federal indictment

By   /  April 1, 2015  /  Louisiana, News  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

By Chris Butler | Louisiana Watchdog
Lisa Crinel, a New Orleans wedding caterer under federal indictment, according to the FBI, could have gone through a private lender to help her start up her business.
Instead, Crinel, who was also the city’s 2004 Zulu Queen, got federal taxpayers involved in starting up her business, called LACE — The Grand […]

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Small Business Administration pitting taxpayers against one another

By   /  March 31, 2015  /  News, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Screen grab of SBA logos

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — Federal officials, through the Small Business Administration, are doling out billions of dollars in loans to wealthy business owners, some in Tennessee, who supposedly can’t start a business through traditional private lenders.
SBA officials, according to Adam Andrzejewski, founder of OpenTheBooks.com, have somehow lost sight of their original mission and are […]

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