State lawmaker planned to profit from tax hike, prosecutors say

August 4, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – As Tennessee lawmakers raised cigarette taxes to 62 cents per pack in 2007, one veteran representative wanted even more, saying it “should have been a dollar.”

Prosecutors say that was part of Rep. Joe Armstrong’s elaborate scheme not to raise revenue or curb smoking rates but to line his own pockets. He’s accused of failing to pay taxes on money he made — more than $300,000 — by buying tax stamps at the old rate and selling them at the higher one.

Armstrong’s attorneys said at his federal trial Tuesday that he isn’t corrupt, but simply a victim of his accountant’s poor advice.

The indictment against Armstrong alleges he devised a scheme beginning in 2006 to profit from the cigarette tax hike planned by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, a fellow Democrat. Armstrong was by Bredesen’s side when he toured east Tennessee to promote the 42-cent increase as a way to raise education funding and said at the time it should have been as much as $1 per pack.

According to the charges, the longtime legislator from Knoxville borrowed $250,000 to buy tax stamps through a wholesaler at the old 20-cent rate and then sold them at a profit after lawmakers more than tripled the tax in 2007.

9 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • I Seigel says:

    This was reported 2 months ago in the Knoxville paper. Be that as it may – shame on him. I hope he’s convicted. It just goes to show that neither party has a monopoly on corruption. Money in politics breeds corruption (along with wrestling coaches and mistresses)

    1. PatrioTom says:

      The real difference being that Republicans pursue prosecution of their bad apples while corrupt Democrats are protected and in some cases used as an opportunity to play the race card while lying and denying that any corruption took place. The State of Illinois would be a very good example of how crime and corruption had permeated the Democrat party….the Clinton Crime Syndicate is another perfect example of what is acceptable within the Democrat Party. Very sad!

      1. I Seigel says:

        But Democrats don’t control the courts or state legislatures. If I recall, prosecutions were made against Illinois politicians, and the ex-governor is now in jail. The “Clinton Crime Syndicate” has been investigated by many Republican appointees and elected officials – show me the indictments and convictions. Please.
        Democrat and Republican officials have been indicted and convicted for criminal activity and have or are serving time (not Tom DeLay – Texas appeals gave him a Get Out of Jail card). Seems there are equal numbers of politicians on both sides who get caught for greed. More Republicans, however, get caught for the hypocrisy of talking about “good old-fashioned family values” but then not practicing what they preach.

  • PatrioTom says:

    More proof that the Democrat party has become the party of crime, corruption and communists!

    1. Shaymamma8 says:

      Yes, unfortunately, some are just as bad as the republicans!!!

      1. Rodney Steward says:

        Be willing to bet these idiots were black being Dems, and from Tenn. and a very large muslim Population that they are making changes in the state to kiss their butts for Obama!

      2. PatrioTom says:

        Thank you for your uneducated opinion. Read the article at this link to educate yourself about many of the people that have crossed the Clinton crime family and wound up mysteriously DEAD. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

        1. I Seigel says:

          Uneducated?!?! Huh? Are you denying all the scandals caused by Republican politicians lately? And certainly they’re not Hillary’s fault!

    2. Edithvjenkins2 says:

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