Tenneesee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. wants to run for Sen. Frist’s seat in two years and thinks that his biggest problem is “overcoming the image about his party”, probably because Tennessee is trending Republican.

Strangely enough, he doesn’t think the stink of his uncle, state senator John Ford, is going to be a problem. Which is strange, because there’s a lot of stink. People in Memphis/Shelby County put up with it because the Fords are the Boss Tweeds of the area and have been for years, in spite of Memphis mayor Herenton’s designs on taking over.

But Uncle John is pushing the limits of credibility.

  1. John Ford is the author of legislation that keeps child support payments lower when the father is financially responsible for other children. It has the effect of allowing unscrupulous males to keep procreating without deleterious repercussions in the take-home pay department.

    This brings up a question of ethics as John Ford has six children with three women, all of whom collect child support from him.

  2. During a recent child support case, John Ford attempted to invoke this legislation by testifying that he was already paying nearly all the bills for the five other children and two women that he lives with — some days at one woman’s house and other days at the other woman’s. (It didn’t work — he was ordered to quadruple the payments he makes for that child, retroactive to 2002.)
  3. Neither of the two residences that John Ford said he lived at (under oath) is in his district. The address that he has listed as a residence in the past is actually his business.

    Republicans want an investigation. The state attorney general has declined to investigate this seemingly open and shut case, probably because the rules on residency are unclear with conflicting attorney general opinions.

    On the other hand, the senate ethics committee is preparing to take a look.

  4. The child support case has landed John Ford in even more hot water: income tax returns filed as part of the case reveal that he received $237,000 over two years from a consultant with a children’s dental care provider.
    Managed Care Services Group, a Pennsylvania-based company that lists Ford as a general partner and paid him $237,000 over two years, was hired by Doral Dental USA as a consultant and lobbyist.

    At the same time, Doral has a $5.3 million contract to process dental benefits for TennCare children and some adult enrollees with medically necessary dental needs, TennCare spokeswoman Marilyn Elam said.

    Even though he is on the TennCare Oversight Committee, John Ford never reported his connection with the firm by filing a conflct-of-interest statement — a direct violation of state law.

  5. A Nashville TV station has been digging into John Ford’s use of campaign funds and has found that he used campaign money to pay family members and throw a wedding. Payments include $11,000 to girlfriend Snell, $18,400 to girlfriend Matthews for “professional services”, $2,450 to ex-wife Ford, $3,000 to two adult daughters, $400 to ex-girlfriend Smith and well over $10K for his daughter’s wedding.

    The Registry of Election Finance, in addition to the senate ethics committee, is preparing to investigate.

  6. In yet another major conflict of interest, John Ford has proposed five new pieces of legislation to regulate the funeral industry (the Ford fortune was made through the Ford Funeral Home that is still operated by the family in south Memphis). Critics say that the laws are designed to stifle competition in the industry.
  7. John Ford isn’t exactly behaving with the same class as his nephew Harold. This was John’s response when a Memphis news organization tried to question him about his residency:
    He told us not to, “bring him any ****.” When we asked him about possible conflicts of interest between his lawmaking efforts and his child support case, he responded, “What’s the conflict? Making a *** living?”

  8. Speaking of classless behavior, John Ford evidently subscribes to the theory that the best defense is a good offense. Unfortunately John seems to be a little short in the “good offense” department and is resorting to wild accusations.

    When the NAACP came to town to discuss increasing the number of minority children to benefit from lottery scholarships, John Ford told them that he is being attacked by the “white media” and asked them to stand up for him.

    The NAACP has wisely indicated that they do not plan on issuing any statements in support of John Ford.