Nashville club owner pleads guilty in campaign finance case against Sen. Brian Kelsey
According to court documents, Joshua Smith, 45, of Nashville, Tennessee, secretly and unlawfully funneled $67,000 of what is commonly referred to as “soft money” from Kelsey’s Tennessee State Senate campaign committee to a national political organization that funded advertisements urging voters to support Kelsey in the August 2016 primary election.
On Oct. 7, Smith took a plea deal changing his not-guilty plea to guilty for one of the charges.
On Wednesday, Smith pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the solicitation, receipt, direction, transfer, 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 penalty of five years in prison.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In connection with this scheme, Kelsey was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2021 and charged with conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission, illegally transferring “soft money” as a federal candidate, illegally transferring “soft money” as a state officeholder and making and accepting excessive contributions to a federal campaign.
The case is scheduled for trial in January 2023.
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