The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance fined Nashville Metro Councilmember Jonathan Hall to the tune of $360,000 at their meeting on Thursday.

The Registry found Councilmember Jonathan Hall guilty of campaign finance law violations related to his run for Council in 2018 and 2019. Councilmember Hall represents District One on the Metro Council which covers Bordeaux, parts of North Nashville, Whites Creek and Joelton.

NewsChannel5 had previously reported that some of the violations included failing to identify donors, failure to itemize campaign expenditures, failure to itemize his own donations to his campaign, and failure to itemize miscellaneous reimbursements, Their previous reporting also showed that Councilmember Hall failed to file annual campaign finance disclosures.

Councilmember Hall was invited to attend the meeting as the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance took up the 36 campaign finance violation charges against him, but he elected not the attend nor provide information defending or explaining his actions.

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance board is composed of members Chairman Paige Dennis, Secretary Tom Morton, Henry Fincher, David Golden, William Haynes, and Tom Lawless. The meeting took place on Thursday, January 13 at 10:00 a.m. (CST) at the Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Nashville, TN, 37219, in the Nashville Room of the 3rd Floor Conference Center. The meeting lasted a little over three hours and Councilmember Hall’s case was third on the agenda.

The Registry of Election Finance wanted answers from Councilmember Hall, but he apparently ignored their requests.

“We have had absolutely no communication with Mr. Hall,” Tennessee Registry of Election Finance General Counsel Lauren Topping told the board members. “He has not responded to show cause notices or to any other attempt to reach out to him about this matter.”

Registry board members, including the chair, proceeded to voice their displeasure with Councilmember Hall’s lack of attendance or response.

After a discussion, Registry Board Chair Paige Dennis proposed the maximum penalties, “The maximum penalty for each (violation) is $10,000. That’s $360,000. I would like to ask my board, what do you feel about accessing the full penalty of $360,000?”

That proposal was quickly met with agreement and the vote to fine Councilmember Hall the $360,000, $10,000 a piece for each of the 36 violations, was unanimous.

Councilmember Hall’s Metro Salary is set at $23,100 per year. It is unclear how he plans to pay the fines.

This is not the end of the proceedings on Councilmember Hall’s campaign finance violations. The Metro Ethical Conduct Board discussed the case at its January and voted to hold a public hearing next month on the matter.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Jonathan Hall” by and photo “Davidson County Courthouse” by euthman CC BY-SA 2.0.