KNOXVILLE (MCT) – State Sen. Stacey Campfield says a young woman who had been working in his re-election campaign wrote $900 in checks to herself on his campaign account and apparently stole about $400 in cash and some miscellaneous items from his home.
Campfield, R-Knoxville, said in an interview Sunday that he confronted the campaign worker – who had access to his home, where campaign work had been done -- after discovering the checks with his forged signature and the missing items when he returned from an out-of-town trip over the Thanksgiving holiday.
She acknowledged the wrongdoing – apparently attributed to personal problems -- and promised to provide restitution, Campfield said. As a condition of not pursuing the matter further, the senator said he had her sign a document acknowledging the misdeeds and also videotaped a "confession."
The woman gave him $200 as a down payment on restitution, Campfield said. He said his sister had been staying at his home at the time and had about that same amount in cash – being saved for Christmas – and he gave that $200 to his sister.
The senator said he had another $200 or so in miscellaneous cash in a "jug" that was also missing, along with "books, DVDs and stuff like that."
Since then, Campfield said, "payment has been less than forthcoming." Campaign finance disclosures must be filed by legislative candidates by the end of January, he said, and he must account on the forms – which are subject to audit – for all expenditures.
"I really didn't want to do this and I'm not comfortable talking about it. ... Young people make mistakes," Campfield said.
Given that $900 in expenditures through the checks are apparently fraudulent and put his account out of balance, Campfield said he filed a police report on Friday.
Because she has yet to be charged, the News Sentinel is not identifying the now-former campaign worker.
Campfield is opposed in the Republican primary by Richard Briggs, a surgeon and Knox County commissioner, and Cheri Siler has announced as a candidate for the Democratic nomination to the state Senate 7th District seat.