From what we’ve gathered from the Tennessean report and other various sources, it looks as if Burchett’s ex-wife was actually an informant for the FBI when the two were going through their divorce. On Twitter, leaks out of Knoxville are saying that Mayor Burchett supposedly framed his ex-wife for hacking into his social media accounts in an attempt to discredit her when he learned that she was an FBI informant. The leaks claim there are “computer forensics” reports floating around town that prove this.
This was going on during the most recent time Mayor Burchett was being investigated by the state for missing campaign money. Mayor Burchett famously pinned the missing cash from his account on his ex-wife who was now discredited for supposedly hacking into Burchett’s accounts. Now it looks like his ex-wife could have been framed by the Mayor. Although, Burchett maintains his innocence and blames the recent FBI reports on rumors from his ex-wife. As the Tennessean reported, Mayor Burchett has been found guilty of mishandling campaign money before he and his ex-wife were even married:
Before his marriage, in 2006, Tim Burchett, then a state senator, failed to report six political action committee checks totaling $3,300. The Registry of Election Finance didn’t fine him then, either.
Two years later, though, while still a state senator, he was fined $250 for failing to disclose three PAC contributions that totaled $1,500
Sources who spoke with reporters would not elaborate for fear of Mayor Burchett retaliating against them. They also didn’t want to elaborate for fear of blowing the FBI’s investigation.
One source, who is a Knoxville-based businessman, said he was questioned about a county contract.
Another source, also a businessman, said agents asked questions about Tim Burchett in addition to questions about a county contract.
One source with knowledge of the FBI’s actions told the Tennessean that the Burchett situation would “Blow Knox County wide open.
“This is very, very serious. It’ll blow Knoxville wide open.”
Mayor Burchett flat out denied any knowledge of being questioned, being investigated or even the existence of an FBI investigation, but that’s quite literally nearly impossible with the existence of documents and emails proving multiple people close to Burchett being questioned by the FBI. Various other sources are saying that Mayor Burchett actually embezzled almost $100,000 from his campaign or other sources and often paid for big purchases with cash. The source of all of this cash is reportedly part of the FBI’s questioning.
Burchett, who is running for Congress to replace retiring Congressman Jimmy Duncan, had criticism immediately thrown at him by one of his fellow Republican opponents, Jason Emert, who released the following statement:
The news that Mayor Burchett is under investigation by the FBI is deeply disturbing. Unfortunately, there has been a pattern of questionable activity throughout Mayor Burchett’s long career in politics.
Jimmy Matlock, Burtchett’s other primary opponent, released the following statement:
Not rushing to judgement about matters that aren’t any of my business has bode me well for the past 58 years in my family, in my business, and in public service.
*A previous version of this story was titled with Mayor Tim Burchett being “under investigation”. After further researching the story, it is not yet known whether Burchett is singularly under full investigation, part of a larger investigation, or whether or not a full investigation has been launched. Sources only report being questioned by the FBI about Burchett. While Burchett’s opponent Mr. Emert claimed the Mayor was “under investigation” that can’t technically be said until the FBI confirms it to be so. However, the FBI makes it a matter of policy not to make sure comments one way or another. Therefore, we update the story’s headline to reflect.
According to the Tennessean:
An FBI spokesman said, per policy, the FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. A message left with a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in East Tennessee was not returned.
UPDATE: New information from the Tennessean seems to illustrate the likelihood of a full, ongoing investigation. It is still not exactly clear whether Mayor Burchett is the sole subject, or a part of a larger, more over-reaching investigation. They are below.
The USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee obtained a copy of a document drafted by an attorney that states Burchett’s ex-wife, Allison, was a confidential informant for the FBI, with the code name “Carbon,” since 2012.
Allison Burchett said she began working with the FBI in 2012 but declined further comment.
“I’m sorry I cannot comment on an ongoing FBI investigation,” she said.