Tenn. Senator pleads guilty to secretly funneling money for 2016 campaign

Brian Kelsey faces a maximum sentence of five years for each count.
Brian Kelsey faces a maximum sentence of five years for each count.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 5:59 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Tennessee State Senator pleaded guilty on Tuesday to secretly funneling money to benefit his 2016 campaign, according to a release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Brian Kelsey, 44, admitted to conspiring to transfer money from multiple sources, including his Tennessee State Senate campaign committee, according to court documents.

Kelsey also coordinated a national political organization to make illegal and excessive contributions to advertising. False reports of contributions and expenditures were filed with the Federal Election Commission, court records said.

Kelsey and his co-conspirators, including Joshua Smith, moved $91,000 to fund the advertisements that asked voters to support Kelsey, according to FBI officials.

Kelsey pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and conspiring to defraud the FEC.

FBI officials said he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count. Kelsey is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, 2023.