Lee Beaman, auto scion and Treasurer of The Friends of Charlie Tygard, has contributed more ($1,000) to Mr. Tygard in 3 months than he did to any Democrat from 1995 to 2000 ($250). During those final years of the 20th Century, Mr. Beaman was ranked among the top "Top 15 Auto Industry Hard Money Contributors," hitting the same list with the likes of Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler for most amount of money donated to the political parties.
However, he only donated $250 of $122,781 to Democrats. The rest went to Republicans. In 2004, Mr. Beaman donated $2,500 to the "Swift Vets and POWs for Truth," a group whose primary purpose was to conduct a smear campaign in order to keep increasingly unpopular Republican President George W. Bush in office. Also in 2004, Mr. Beaman donated $15,000 to the Tennessee Forum, whose purpose was to target and to oust state Democrats from office and to advance a right-wing agenda at the Capitol.
Mr. Beaman's wife, Kelley Beaman, leads a conservative ethics group that she founded that very same year called the Tennessee Institute for Govermental and Ethics Reform (that's right: TIGER!). Ms. Beaman also contributed $1,000 to Mr. Tygard's 2007 at-Large campaign, even though Mr. Tygard's Council history seems plagued by ethical questions. Her faith in Tygard strains my faith in TIGER.
While the at-Large races are supposed to be unrelated to political parties, it is clear to me that Mr. Tygard's most lavish contributors and campaign leaders are well-connected conservative Republicans who have a partisan agenda to advance. I frankly worry about about how that would influence Mr. Tygard's leadership on behalf of all of Nashville in an at-Large position.