Former Tennessee House speaker, chief of staff indicted on corruption charges

A former speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives and his chief of staff were indicted on Tuesday on corruption charges, according to the Justice Department.

The charges allege that former speaker and current State Rep. Glen Casada and his former chief of staff Cade Cothren created a company and a fake persona to receive state funds.

The indictment alleges that Casada and Cothren said the political consulting business they actually owned and profited from was run by a "Matthew Phoenix,"

but in reality there was no Matthew Phoenix and the men were profiting by diverting state funds to the business.

Casada, a Republican, said earlier this year he would not seek reelection, had resigned from House leadership in August 2019.

The Justice Department alleges the state mailer program was at the center of the corruption. 

The program allowed $3,000 to be used for sending constituent mail and said any other expenses could be offset by campaign funds.

"Casada and Individual 4 would and did receive kickbacks from Cothren in exchange for using their positions as members of the Tennessee House of Representatives to perform official acts,