Nashville club owner pleads guilty in campaign finance case against Sen. Brian Kelsey

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A Nashville social club owner pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating campaign finance laws to benefit Tennessee Sen. Brian Kelsey’s 2016 campaign for U.S. Congress.

According to court documents, Joshua Smith, 45, of Nashville, Tennessee, secretly and illegally transferred $67,000 from the campaign committee of Tennessee State Sen. Kelsey to a national political organization that solicits voter campaigns. Kelsey in the August 2016 primary.

On October 7, Smith entered into a plea agreement that changed his not guilty plea to guilty on one of the charges.

On Wednesday, Smith pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the solicitation, receiving, directing, transferring and spending of at least $25,000 in “soft money” in connection with a federal election.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, 2023 and faces a maximum of five years in prison.

A federal district court judge determines any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

In connection with the scheme, Kelsey was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2021 and charged with conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission, making illegal transfers of “soft money” as a federal candidate, making illegal transfers of “soft money” as a public employee, and accepting and accepting excessive federal campaign contributions.

The case is scheduled to be heard in January 2023.

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