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Tennessee kickback scandal leaves GOP reps feeling betrayed

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capitol.tn.gov
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House GOP Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison (left) and House Majority Leader William Lamberth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee House Republican lawmakers say they were duped into hiring a political consulting firm that an ex-lawmaker has pleaded guilty to using for an alleged fraud and kickback scheme.

On Thursday, Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison said caucus members even talked to the supposed leader of Phoenix Solutions on the phone at one point, whom prosecutors now say isn't real.

House Majority Leader William Lamberth said he's “livid."

This week, former Republican Rep. Robin Smith resigned and pleaded guilty to a fraud charge describing a rouse to direct campaign and taxpayer-funded mailer business to the company covertly headed by ex-speaker chief of staff Cade Cothren, with profits kicked back to Smith and ex-speaker and current Rep. Glen Casada.