THE TENNESSEAN NEWSPAPER ARTICLE EXPOSES TWHBEA PRESIDENT STEVE SMITH’S “INFLUENCE PEDDLING” ON BEHALF OF THE SORE BIG LICK – CONGRESSMAN ED WHITFIELD SAYS “I AM CONFIDENT THIS LEGISLATION WILL COME TO A VOTE”

WASHINGTON – Gannett Reporter Paul Barton ripped the cover off the sore Big Lick lobbying efforts led by Steve Smith, (TWHBEA President and Campaign Finance Chairman for U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to block the  PAST ACT  from coming to a vote.

Steve Smith is also Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) campaign fund “Sugar Daddy” through PACS (Political Action Committees) controlled by Smith and his brother, Reese.  Smith, his family and his interests have been major campaign contributors to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) since 1988.

In Paul Barton’s article Smith said,  “I haven’t been to Washington lobbying anyone”.

Actually,  Smith doesn’t have to go to Washington to lobby anyone.

They all come to him.

Presently,  the entire Republican Tennessee House Delegation is in Steve Smith’s hip pocket.  He owns them lock, stock and barrel.   Like Stepfords, they all oppose the PAST ACT, and all co-sponsor the Blackburn alternative bill.  They include:  David “Phil” Roe, Jimmy Duncan, Jr., Chuck Fleischmann,  Scott Desjarlais  and  Stephen Fincher.  Senator Lamar Alexander,  who is sadly  also in Steve Smith’s hip pocket,  has introduced a bill similar to Blackburn’s,  except it eliminates the Trainer BOYZ from serving on any boards.  U. S. Senator Bob Corker who is independently wealthy, and is NOT in Steve Smith’s back pocket,  doesn’t depend on Steve Smith for  anything.

Corker has not co-sponsored Senator Alexander’s bill.

When questioned last November by another The Tennessean reporter, about his receiving a DQP notice for a Horse Protection Act Violation Citation,  Steve Smith couldn’t exactly remember getting the ticket.  “Smith said he may have gotten that ticket “” it has been 26 years, and he doesn’t remember  …”

For Steve Smith to say he “couldn’t exactly remember” is like the Godfather saying he “couldn’t exactly remember” if he ever had anything to do with killing anyone.

Here is the DQP ticket for HPA violation notice issued to Horse Exhibitor Steve Smith signed for by his Trainer David Landrum.   In 2014, serial HPA offender David Landrum still rents a horse barn from Steve Smith.  Landrum has rented the barn from 1987 – 2014, approximately 27 years.

STEVE SMITH/DAVID LANDRUM HORSE PROTECTION ACT VIOLATION CITATION

STEVE SMITH/DAVID LANDRUM HORSE PROTECTION ACT VIOLATION CITATION

At the recent “WALK ON WASHINGTON”, former U. S. Senator Joe Tydings (D-MD) answered Paul Barton’s question:

“what about Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee?”

Tydings said,  “It’s tragic that the amount of money that’s poured into the Congressional races from these “sorers”   – the owners and the trainers can influence one or two key members of the Congress to block this.”  Speaking of Steve Smith’s sore Big Lick,  Tydings said,  “”For every young person in the country who has a pony,   who has ever been on a trail ride,   ever ridden in a circle,   ever ridden in a horse show, for every quarter horse owner in this country, we’ve to got to stop this bestiality and cruelty. It’s unbelievable what they do to these poor horses. Unbelievable.     They do a bastardized gait,   they cripple the horse for it’s life,   it’s just despicable.”

Another reporter asked about Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)?

Tydings answered, “If the Bill is not permitted to (a) vote with 56 Senators co-sponsoring it, it is because it has been blocked.”  

FORMER SENATOR JOE TYDINGS (D-MD) AT “WALK ON WASHINGTON”

FORMER U.S. SENATOR JOE TYDINGS AND CLANT M. SEAY, SPOKESPERSON "WALK ON WASHINGTON" - ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE

FORMER U.S. SENATOR JOE TYDINGS AND CLANT M. SEAY, SPOKESPERSON “WALK ON WASHINGTON” – ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE

NOTE:  Normally a Reporter’s article runs entire, but regarding the misrepresentations and inaccuracies made by the spokespersons for Representative Marsha Blackburn,  insertions will be made in The Tennessean article so readers will have the truth:  Insertions are in GREEN.

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TENNESSEAN ARTICLE-ANTI-SORING VOTE INEVITABLE, LAWMAKER SAYS

Anti-soring vote inevitable, lawmaker says

WASHINGTON ““  With its ever-growing ranks of co-sponsors, legislation against horse soring now has unstoppable momentum, its chief House sponsor says.

The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act is up to 297 co-sponsors in the House and 57  in the Senate.

“Despite intense opposition from Tennessee pro-soring groups, I am confident this legislation will come to a vote,” Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., the chief sponsor, told The Tennessean’s Washington Bureau.

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REPRESENTATIVE ED WHITFIELD (R-KY)

REPRESENTATIVE ED WHITFIELD (R-KY)

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“It is difficult for even well-funded opposition to deny the House of Representatives the opportunity to vote on a bill that has 68 percent of the House as co-sponsors, and overwhelming support from veterinary groups and horse organizations in every state,” Whitfield said.

But as lobbying on the bill grows more intense, with new allegations about the influence of campaign contributions, at least one congressional expert says the number of co-sponsors “” although attention-getting “” far from guarantees action.

In the House it remains bottled up in the Energy and Commerce Committee, where Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, an opponent, is vice chair. In the Senate it has passed committee but has yet to get a floor vote. The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declined to comment.

Blackburn maintains that she’s simply defending an iconic Tennessee business that’s under attack.

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"BUCKET STANCE" PHOTO - EXHIBIT #3 INTRODUCED AT WHEELON PRELIMINARY HEARING ON AUG. 13, 2013

“BUCKET STANCE” PHOTO – EXHIBIT #3 INTRODUCED AT WHEELON PRELIMINARY HEARING ON AUG. 13, 2013

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“We want to save a Tennessee industry that has a 97 percent compliance rate and protect these animals from the bad actors who make up the 3 percent on noncompliance,” Blackburn spokesman Mike Reynard said. “Unfortunately, those on the other side have refused to come together and work with us in finding a solution that would eliminate bad actors. Instead, their only focus has been to simply eliminate the walking horse industry altogether.”

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CHARLIEGREENTHETENNESSEAN

CELEBRATION CEO MIKE INMAN EXPLAINS THE INSPECTION THAT NEVER WAS

CELEBRATION CEO MIKE INMAN EXPLAINS THE INSPECTION THAT NEVER WAS

THE AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL AND THE AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION KNOW MORE ABOUT “THE SOLUTION” THAN REP. BLACKBURN

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Because of the August congressional recess, fewer than 30 legislative days remain before the November elections.

Widely seen as cruel, soring involves using caustic chemicals, chains, special pads and other devices on a walking horse’s legs and hooves to produce an artificially high step, referred to as the “Big Lick.” Whitfield’s bill would outlaw the use of “action devices” and fund a significant increase in Department of Agriculture inspectors to police horse shows.

With 114 of its House sponsors Republicans, “we are approaching having a majority of the majority on board,” said Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States.

He was referring to an unwritten House rule coined a decade ago by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who said he wouldn’t bring a bill to the floor unless a majority of Republicans backed it.

Currently, there are 234 Republicans in the House, 199 Democrats and two vacancies. The 114 Republican co-sponsors fall four short of the number needed to qualify under Hastert’s rule.

While the Hastert rule still exists, House Speaker John Boehner “uses it very judiciously lest he foment a broader revolt within his conference,” said Sarah Binder, an expert on congressional politics at the Brookings Institution.

She said one key to whether the PAST Act will get a vote is going to be “whether there are rival measures supported by House Republicans that would need to be considered as well.”

One such bill comes from Blackburn, who opposes the PAST Act. Her bill calls for scientific testing to detect soring but has no restrictions against action devices. Blackburn contends it adds all the strength needed to the Horse Protection Act of 1970, the original legislation against soring.

Clant M. Seay, an Oxford, Miss., attorney and member of the All-American Walking Horse Alliance, which favors the PAST Act, says “confirmed walking horse industry participants” have given at least $25,000 to Blackburn’s 2014 re-election campaign.

In an interview, Seay called Blackburn “a shill for the Big Lick crowd.”

Reynard said Blackburn “got involved in this issue because an iconic and uniquely Tennessee brand was under attack from a liberal left-wing organization.”

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THE AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL – PRESIDENT JAY HICKEY ON THE PAST ACT

FATHER OF HORSE PROTECTION ACT FORMER U. S. SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS AND AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL PRESIDENT JAMES J. "JAY" HICKEY AT "WALK ON WASHINGTON"

FATHER OF HORSE PROTECTION ACT FORMER U. S. SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS AND AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL PRESIDENT JAMES J. “JAY” HICKEY AT “WALK ON WASHINGTON”

 The PAST ACT does what we want it to do.   It is narrowly drafted. It does what we want it to do.   It’s appropriate to the problem.   It doesn’t affect 90% of the industry.  The Blackburn Bill does not satisfy the concerns raised by the Department of Agriculture,   by people who are opposed to soring.   It allows action devices (chains), pads to continue to be worn.   He compared the present regulation proposed by the Blackburn Bill as a “fox in a henhouse”. It doesn’t do what is necessary to stop (soring) this practice.   The PAST ACT does.   That’s why we support that one.”
THE AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION – DR. WHITNEY MILLER, DVM
DR. WHITNEY MILLER, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE AVMA IN WASHINGTON, DC

DR. WHITNEY MILLER, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE AVMA IN WASHINGTON, DC

“The AVMA is opposed to the alternative legislation.   And there’s many reasons that we are opposed, but the main reason is it does not fix the inherent problem in the current enforcement system which is that the industry is allowed to “self police”.   That’s the system that needs to change.   And the alternative bill only bolsters that instead of stopping it.”  
 
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PAST Act supporters continue to see Steve Smith, campaign finance chairman to Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and a donor to Blackburn, as another “obstructionist,” said Teresa Bippen, who represents a group called Friends of Sound Horses.

Smith is president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, which fiercely opposes the bill.

Seay says Smith and other PAST Act opponents have given tens of thousands of dollars this year and in past elections to key Senate Republicans, including Alexander and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. Like Blackburn, Alexander and McConnell have a competing bill criticized by PAST Act supporters.

“It’s a shame Senator Alexander has lent his good name and reputation to people who champion horse soring,” Seay said.

But contributions and lobbying by Smith have had no effect on Alexander, said spokesman Brian Reisinger, who added the senator wants only “to end soring while preserving the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition.”

Smith himself said, “I haven’t been to Washington lobbying anyone.”

Meanwhile, PAST Act opponents point to the role of Whitfield’s wife, Connie, as a senior policy adviser to the Humane Society.

On its website, the American Horse Council says that despite the large number of co-sponsors, the bill “still needs more help from the horse community at large to get it over the finish line.” James J. Hickey Jr., president of the group, said the council is contacting affiliated groups nationwide to continue their grass-roots lobbying of Congress.

Bippen said, “We believe the will of the people will prevail and the PAST Act will come to a vote.”

 Reach Paul C. Barton at pbarton@gannett.com and on Twitter @PaulCBarton.

Competing legislation

Whitfield’s bill would:

“¢ Outlaw the use of “action devices” such as chains or pads and fund a significant increase in Department of Agriculture inspectors, paid for with assessments on horse show managers.

Blackburn’s bill would:

“¢ Preserve the tall shoes and ankle chains that mark the Tennessee Walking Horse’s performance division.

“¢ Create a single, independent horse industry organization to enforce the Horse Protection Act across the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries.

“¢ Use technology-based methods to test for soring.

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Nephew Eugene finds it interesting that Representative Marsha Blackburn has a Spokesperson named Reynard“.  

Reynard, the fox, was a wiley devil.

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