Nashville social club owner pleads guilty to violating campaign finance laws

(Source: MGN)
(Source: MGN)(MGN)
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:18 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Nashville man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to violating campaign finance laws to benefit Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey’s 2016 campaign for U.S. Congress, the United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Tennessee, announced.

According to court documents, Joshua Smith, 45, secretly and unlawfully funneled $67,000 of what is commonly referred to as “soft money” from Kelsey’s Tennessee State Senate campaign committee to a national political organization that funded advertisements urging voters to support Kelsey in the August 2016 primary election.

Smith pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the solicitation, receipt, direction, transfer and spending of soft money in connection with a federal election. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 9, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Smith and Kelsey were indicted in October 2021 by a federal grand jury in Nashville. Kelsey is scheduled for trial on Jan. 23, 2023.