Who Knew?

Capitol Hill has been buzzing over the revelations that Republican state Sen. Paul Stanley had an affair with an intern and was the target of an extortion plot when her boy showed up with nude photos.

Titillation aside, the most burning questions among lawmakers are who knew and when did they know and whether someone “dropped a dime” on Stanley to a Nashville investigative reporter. Phil Williams, the ace reporter for WTVF Channel 5 (remember UT President John Shumaker?) isn’t talking about his sources, of course, but the suspicion is that someone suggested he check on a TBI investigation of an extortion plot. The incident occurred in April, but is only now coming to light.

Stanley was chair of the all-powerful Commerce Committee, a position that will now be up for grabs next session, and the scandal has also embarrassed Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who is running for governor.

Stanley didn’t just screw an intern—he also screwed House Republicans. State Rep. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, is running for Stanley’s senate seat. If he wins the special election, it is likely the Shelby County Commission (majority Democrats) will appoint a replacement for Kelsey. There wouldn’t be time to have yet another special election. If he is replaced by a Democrat, the 50-49 Republican majority in the House becomes 50-49 Democratic majority.

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