Tennessee Rep. John Ragan has removed his official office phone number and state e-mail address from his campaign website after his opponent, Jim Hackworth, said that including the information violated state law.
On Monday, Hackworth, a former state representative trying to take back his old House seat in November, said Ragan’s website violated state ethics and finance laws because it directs voters to contact Ragan at his official office phone number and state e-mail address.
“It’s a violation of the law,” Hackworth said.
On Tuesday morning, Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, said he disagreed but had removed the contact information as a courtesy to Hackworth, a constituent.
Ragan said providing constituents who visit his campaign website a way to contact him about constituent issues is not illegal, but he has asked the Tennessee Secretary of State for an opinion.
A Republican Caucus field staff member helping Ragan’s campaign said the website, which was revised Friday, was put together by a volunteer and is a work in progress. Any non-compliance with state law was simply an oversight, said the campaign aide, Holt Whitt.
“It’s not finished,” Whitt said. “If we’re not in compliance, then (any required changes) will be addressed immediately.”
Ragan said he found it interesting that Hackworth raised questions about the website’s legality through the media and not speaking directly to Ragan.