Watch the money,
not DA William E. Gibson's lips
Campaign pledge turns into abuse of Economic Crime Fund
and c.d. 'SONNY BOY' norman
of The Putnam Pit Staff
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. [May 21, 1998] -- In Tennessee's 13th Judicial District, don't watch Bill Gibson's lips; watch his Economic Crime Fund.

On March 11,  c.d. Sonny Boy norman reported  in The Putnam Pit that Gibson had pledged to use money he would otherwise have spent on yard signs to instead buy Child Lures books for local schools. He made the pledge to use campaign funds in a more productive way in paid advertisements in the Hair-oiled Citroën.

"Instead of putting up political road signs and yard signs," Gibson explains in newspaper ads, "I am donating that money toward the purchase of the Child Lures School Safety Program, to protect our children from abduction and sexual abuse. This will be accomplished through an organization called 'Candidates Who Care.' "
Candidate Bill Gibson may care, but not about the law -- a shortcoming some may be uncomfortable .
On May 19, a search of records at the Putnam County Trustee's Office turned up documents showing Gibson spent public money from his Economic Crime Fund  -- not campaign funds -- to buy 250 copies of the Child Lures Family Guide.
Michael Knowlton, who is challenging Democrat Gibson as an independent in the August election, said Gibson's use of the economic crime funds is deceitful, illegal and "sick."

TCAKnowlton said that Tennessee forbids the use of the fund for purposes other than those specified in by state law:

"It takes a sick individual to use kids for political gain," Knowlton said, "and it's deceitful to say you're going to donate money from your campaign to help kids then take it out of the crime fund."

Republican Jerry Burgess, also trying to unseat Gibson, was in Washington and could not be reached for comment.

The use of public funds to fulfill a campaign promise is a deception of voters because the use of public money makes the books as much a gift of  every resident of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White counties, which comprise the judicial district Gibson's economic crime fund serves. 

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