Thursday, June 01, 2006

TENNESSEE CORRUPTION TRIAL -- First day of trial against a state legislator who is alleged to have taken bribes during the Tennessee Waltz political corruption probe:

Even before Operation Tennessee Waltz, state legislators were trading their influence for cash, prosecutors say.

In one instance, legislators shook down the lobbyist for a dental clinic in Memphis, which was trying to earn favor with politicians so that it could get reimbursed for treating children enrolled in TennCare.

One of those lawmakers was then-Sen. Roscoe Dixon, who was paid $6,000 in 2003 to help Children's Dental Clinic become part of TennCare, according to federal prosecutors.

That was the beginnings of one of the largest public corruption investigations launched in the Volunteer State — soon to be known as Operation Tennessee Waltz.