Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says he will soon start paying adviser and lobbyist Tom Ingram out of his campaign account instead of from personal funds. Ingram, a former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, ran Haslam's successful bid for governor in 2010. He has since advised the governor on a series of political and administrative issues, while at the same time lobbying on behalf of private clients.
The governor told reporters on Tuesday that he did not consider it a conflict of interest to take advice from a lobbyist. Haslam said he paid Ingram personally because he didn't believe it would be fair for the state or his original campaign to pick up the cost. Haslam said paying Ingram ensured that the governor's interests were being addressed rather than those of Ingram's clients.