Controversy at Hernando City Hall

DeSoto Times - City hall flap flares up in congressional race - Hernando city officials are miffed that 1st Congressional candidate Glenn McCullough Jr.'s campaign staff held a press conference at city hall criticizing fellow Republican candidate Greg Davis without their permission. According to McCullough campaign manager Brad Davis, the press conference was held to call attention to Davis' alleged failure to release his campaign finance records in a timely manner.

Mayor Chip Johnson, among the county's official "Blue Ribbon" delegation in Washington, D.C. said he was unaware that McCullough's campaign planned to hold a press conference inside Hernando City Hall. Johnson's administrative assistant Julie Harris said McCullough campaign officials did not get permission from her, Mayor Johnson or any other city officials to use the facility for the press conference.

McCullough himself did not attend. The press conference was held inside the front foyer at city hall. Three newspaper reporters were in attendance. Brad Davis said on Wednesday morning, he stepped inside city hall to let a city employee know the press conference was about to get underway.

"While it (city hall) is a public facility, I think it was in poor taste and rude for him to hold a press conference at our city hall without informing me about it," Johnson, who has publicly endorsed Davis, said from Washington. "I was on a plane to D.C. when I got a voice message that he was holding the press conference at city hall."

Harris said a voice message was left at Hernando city hall by the McCullough camp late Tuesday but no permission was given. "It's a misunderstanding," Brad Davis said later Wednesday. "We called as a matter of course for permission to use it, and we believe we had permission to use that place."

Meanwhile, Greg Davis dismissed McCullough's assertions that he had not been forthcoming about release of his campaign records. "Call my staff and they will give them to you," Davis said in remarks following the McCullough campaign's press conference. "If Mr. McCullough wants them, he can ask me."

Davis said Southaven city officials have already provided McCullough's campaign officials with records from his 2005 campaign and planned to release his other records to the McCullough camp.

Brad Davis, no relation to Greg Davis, said the Southaven Mayor was "stonewalling" about releasing all his campaign finance records. "We call on Mayor Davis to release the bank record for his mayoral campaign account," Brad Davis said on McCullough's behalf. "The Mayor has blocked access to this public information, thus stonewalling any of those who wish to see transparency in government. We call on him to release this document to the public immediately."

Brad Davis said he was not implying that the Southaven Mayor had broken any federal campaign laws. "We have every reason to believe Mayor Davis is complying with federal campaign finance laws, specifically those that prohibit use of state campaign funds on a federal race. But by blocking access to his 2007 mayoral campaign finance reports, Mayor Davis is doing nothing to increase the transparency for the voters of the First District."

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