In case you missed it, our friends at The TN Holler posted a video of former Congressional candidate Justin Kanew confronting Speaker of the House Glen Casada about his decision to make Rep. David “Coach” Byrd chairman of the K-12 Education Subcommittee. Byrd has been accused of sexual misconduct (specifically, fondling and inappropriate forced touching) by THREE of his former basketball players. Byrd’s even on tape apologizing to one of the women. He was asked to resign by former Speaker Beth Harwell and by Lt. Governor Randy McNally.
Gross, huh? The Tennessean even wrote about The Holler’s video:
But, covering up for, defending, and making excuses for a man who preyed upon kids is par for the course for Casada.
Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?
Republicans cut $250,000 earmarked for Memphis as payback for their removal of Confederate statues last December. Casada voted for the retaliatory bill.
When the bill to ban child marriage was first scheduled for House Civil Justice Committe, Casada was convinced to send the bill to summer study after an email from attorney David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, a well known anti-LGBT group. Fowler’s argument was that he intended to file a lawsuit to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, and banning child marriage would make it harder for him to argue his case. His premise for this is so ridiculous that it’s not worth trying to summarize, but you can read for yourself. (Casada later changed his opinion.)
In a very unusual move, Casada “rolled” another legislator’s bill in a committee hearing. The bill concerned banning bumpstocks, filed just months a man armed with multiple AR-15s, twelve of which were outfitted with a bumpstock, opened fire on a crowd of country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, killing 58 and injuring over 400. The committee chair and Casada were aware that survivors of the Las Vegas shooting had flown in to testify about their first person accounts of surviving the deadliest mass shooting in American History. Although allowed, it is considered poor form to roll another legislator’s bill against their will. Casada made the request at the beginning of the committee at a time when members were settling into their seats. When questioned about the move, Casada said that he wasn’t even sure what bumpstocks do and that he hoped the witnesses would return when the bill came up again.
A few weeks later, when the bill came up again, the survivors again traveled to testify, but Casada used some questionable procedural motions to scuttle the bill, again denying the witnesses a chance to speak, and killing the bill.
Casada was named in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission related to series of potentially illegal donations and contributions. The complaint further alleges Casada, as well as several other legislators, violated federal campaign finance laws, labeling the legislators “straw donors.”
Following the removal of Confederate statues in Memphis, Casada and House GOP Caucus Chair Ryan Williams called for a “special investigation”.
New West Tennessee legislator Mark Lovell resigned shortly after arriving at the Tennessee General Assembly following accusations that he engaged in “inappropriate touching” of a woman. Since this occurred not long after the Jeremy “Pants Candy” Durham sexual harassment scandal, some lawmakers expected an investigation. When Speaker Harwell announced she would not continue any probe into Lovell’s behavior, Democrats suggested that the Davidson County District Attorney may need to investigate. When Casada, the GOP House Leader, was asked about whether legislative leadership has a moral or legal obligation to report information they might have about a potential crime to police, he responded:
“Should we report everything that we find offensive? I just think it doesn’t work that way…So, I just think we run the run the risk of clogging up the law enforcement (system) and being like a McCarthy-era, where everything someone does is looked upon and it becomes a very scary place,” Casada said.
“I think it just smacks of McCarthyism to, every time someone does something I don’t like, I report it. That’s not a good place to be as a free people.”
Casada reverses himself on the issue of legislator per diem, asks for more money for those lawmakers who live within 50 miles of Nashville. Casada, who lived within 50 miles of the Capitol, was going through a divorce and spending less time at home.
Casada lies about an “altercation” and “vandalism” in a legislative office following a chaotic press conference held by Sen. Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody. Casada reported that he had been told that the protestors were violent and threatening and knocked a vase off a desk in Pody’s office. In reality, the vase had been accidentally knocked off by a news cameraman. Casada used the made up “facts” of the incident as justification for a proposed policy to require all visitors to the legislature to show an ID and be issued a badge.
Casada stood by fellow Williamson County legislator Jeremy Durham, even attending his re-election kickoff, after Durham was accused of multiple accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Even after the Tennessee Attorney General wrote to House leaders, “Based upon the information gathered thus far, Representative Durham’s alleged behavior may pose a continuing risk to unsuspecting women who are employed by or interact with the legislature” Durham was required to move his office out of Legislative Plaza. He was also barred from having contact with almost all staff or interns. Casada said that as long as Durham denied the accusations, he believed him.
Casada seems to embody a view of the world that it is OK to abuse people as long as you don’t get caught abusing campaign funds.
Clerk of the House Joe McCord flips off the 2-year-old child of a legislative staffer. When asked about it, Casada says McCord was just joking.
“A lot of people will kid in a way that, it’s just a manner of joking. It’s not actually the emotion of anger, it’s just the way of kidding.”
Photos and video of Casada (then the House Majority Leader of the GOP/Party of FAMILY VALUES) at Bar Louie with his hand on a woman’s thigh are posted on Rocky Top Politics, a GOP-leaning gossip/insider info blog that everyone at the legislature reads. Casada issues weak denial. Casada’s wedding ring is visible on the same hand he uses to touch the woman’s leg. FYI – the woman was not Mrs. Casada.
Casada, speaking of President Obama’s guidance on transgender students and school bathrooms, said:
“The action of this president only happens in dictatorships. In our country, in a republic, Congress makes the laws, and they fund those actions. What we have is a president whose Department of Justice and DOE overriding the will of the people.”
He even suggested a special session to address Obama’s directive regarding equal treatment of transgender kids. (Note: Casada was not interested in a special session for Insure Tennessee).
Casada sponsored a bill to limit “prohibit public disclosure of most body camera recordings made by Tennessee law enforcement officers for at least a year — and potentially keep video of police misconduct under wraps for even longer.”
Casada called for the Tennessee National Guard to round up Syrian refugees, who he likened to terrorists, for removal and to prevent future refugees from arriving in the state.
“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can.”
Casada, in defense of the “guns in parks” bill says that guns are no more dangerous than bicycles and that accidental shootings of children are “acts of God.”
Reporter: So if there is an accident, a permit holder is in a park, there’s a high chance it’s going to hit a child.
House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada: There’s accidents with bicycles in parks, should we outlaw bicycles?
Reporter: Yeah but bicycles very rarely kill people. Guns are weapons.
Casada: Oh, oh that’s not true.
Reporter: Guns are weapons. You’re saying a gun is as safe as a bicycle?
Casada: If used properly I am. If used properly.
Reporter: In the event of an accident, which is more likely to kill someone?
Casada: I mean, now we’re back in the theoretical. I think in Tennessee we’re dealing with a lot more questions than guns in parks. This is a minor thing in the scope of what we’re doing good in Tennessee.
Reporter: So if someone is hit accidentally with a bullet, you guys are fine defending this bill?
Casada: If someone gets run over by an automobile accidentally, there’s nothing I can do about that. These are things beyond, they’re called acts of God, they’re beyond our control.
Casada joins a proposed legal action to force President Obama to turn over his birth certificate.