As you may have heard by now, the United States Department of Justice just announced the indictment of Senator Brian Kelsey (R-GERMANTOWN) and club owner Josh Smith, who owns The Standard in downtown Nashville – known for having many prominent right-wing Tennessee politicians as members.
The Standard made waves for hosting events with groups known for their anti-Muslim rhetoric in the past, to give you some idea of what we’re dealing with here. From The Tennesssean:
Some nights, the club brings in boxers for a “gentlemen’s brawl,” accompanied by lobster and cocktails. On one night, a hate group hosted an event about Islam.
At one point formed a Political Action Committee to help get those right-wing politicians elected, which is where the DOJ’s indictment comes in.
The indictment alleges the Standard’s PAC was involved in a scheme to break election finance laws and funnel money into Senator Brian Kelsey’s failed congressional bid. Senator Kelsey has since come out and called it a “political witch hunt” by the Biden administration – which would be odd considering the investigation started 5 years ago, when Kelsey’s hero Trump was president.
The Holler has now obtained a message sent by The Standard’s leadership to “Friends and Members” saying that The Standard WAS involved in the chain of funds, but claiming it had nothing to do with the illegal part and saying club owner Josh Smith is an “open book” who is “cooperating fully” and he “hopes it will not affect friendships”.
We’ve heard from former Standard members & employees who severed ties with the club because of their concerns about the culture with regard to treatment of women and staff. They’ve also told us Smith regularly brags about his influence over local elected officials and his ability to avoid consequences.
Will this be the time it catches up with him, and his pal Senator Kelsey? Time will tell.
TN Senate ethics rules require Kelsey to request an ethics committee hearing within 10 days or relinquish his chairmanship positions as long as the indictment lasts.
The clock is ticking, Brian. Tick-Tock.
Or is it Tik-Tok now? Anyway, you get the idea.