The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance recommended an audit of Gary Humble’s state Senate campaign to see if there was improper coordination between Humble and the political group Tennessee Stands.
Tennessee Stands is registered as a 501c(4) organization, which classifies it as a nonprofit issue advocacy group. Under state law, these organizations are not allowed to coordinate with candidates and must disclose spending that uses a candidate’s name or image 60 days before an election.
Humble is also the the executive director of Tennessee Stands. 
In August, Humble ran in the Republican primary for state Senate against Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin. 
Johnson narrowly beat Humble in the race by less than 4 percentage points. 
Tom Lawless, a registry board member, recommended the audit after a different complaint was filed against Humble for failing to disclose who paid for a campaign mailer. 
Lawless said Tennessee Stands may have held events and promoted Humble’s campaign without disclosing that spending to the registry.
“There is some smoke out there,” Lawless said during the meeting. “Let’s see if something is out there causing it to rise.”
The board unanimously voted to instruct the registry staff to audit Humble’s campaign.
During the meeting, registry board member Paz Hayne said he wanted to emphasize the audit was approved to find out more information and not because they presumed Humble had committed any infraction. 
Lauren Topping, the general counsel for the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, also expressed concerns about whether the audit would uncover the information the board was interested in finding. 
The Tennessean reached out to Tennessee Stands and Gary Humble, and did not immediately receive a response.
Adam Friedman is The Tennessean’s state government and politics reporter. Reach him by email at
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