Tennessee State Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rockvale) is asking Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery “who has the standing and legal authority to investigate [you] …if it is believed [you have] engaged in unethical…or other inappropriate conduct?”
Womick asked this and three other questions in a letter sent to Attorney General Slatery Tuesday, May 17, one day after Breitbart News reported that political insiders, attorneys, and many interviewed by investigators are questioning the scope and legal authority of the Attorney General’s investigation into the conduct of State Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin).
“I am requesting your immediate opinion on the following four questions,” Womick wrote:
1. What constitutional, statutory, or other authority exists to authorize Attorney General of the State of Tennessee to conduct an investigation of a member of the Tennessee General Assembly? To the extent that no express delegation of investigative authority exists, what precedent exists to support the existence of such authority? To the extent that such authority exists, what is the scope of the investigative authority?
2. What authority exists to authorize the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee to investigate alleged ethical violations by a member of the Tennessee General Assembly?
3. If the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee engages in an investigation of a member of the Tennessee General Assembly at the request of one or more members of the Tennessee General Assembly, do all members of the Tennessee General Assembly have a right to obtain copies of any investigative reports or updates?
4. If it is believed that the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee has engaged in unethical, ultra vires, or other inappropriate conduct, who has the standing and legal authority to investigate the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee or his staff?
“I look forward to your immediate response,” Womick concluded.
Late yesterday, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) called for an investigation of the Attorney General’s investigation. Beaver noted that reports the investigation may be a fishing expedition that has expanded its scope to include other state legislators, and suggested that Tennessee needs to elect its attorney general in a popular election, as 43 other states currently do.
Tennessee is the only state in which the Attorney General is appointed by the State Supreme Court.
Breitbart News contacted Attorney General Slatery’s office for comment, but has not received a response.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s office has responded to the request for comment from Breitbart News.
“Our office does not confirm receipt of nor discuss opinion requests as they are considered attorney/client privileged,” Harlow Sumerford, spokesperson for Attorney General Slatery, tells Breitbart News.