The so called Godfather of the Tennessee lottery, who's now a U.S. Representative, is getting involved----
because he says the money is being taken away from students and used for pet projects.
This is former State Senator Steve Cohen buying one of the first lottery tickets in 2004.
Cohen spent nearly 20 years trying to get the TN lottery passed. Now
as a Congressman, he believes state legislators have lost their way.
U.S. Rep Steve Cohen /(D) Tennessee
I have a contract with the people and I won't see it abused.
a Fox 17 Waste Watch report last week, we showed how legislators spent
nearly $100 million dollars on school light bulbs with sensors that know
how to turn on and off.
U.S. Rep Cohen says: Basically
earmarks for legislators to hand out in their districts as political
pork, that took away from the scholarship program and what the people
voted on and what it was sold on.
The money used for lightbulbs would have sent an estimated 25 thousand students to college for a year.
The lottery's CEO, who raises the money, but doesn't decide how it's spent, says Cohen has every right to speak up.
Rebecca Hargrove / CEO Lottery He has definite opinions on what needs to be done and I applaud him for still caring.
Hargrove didn't comment until after our first Waste Watch report aired, but now confirms, the lottery's growth IS sustainable.
Yet legislators spent a great deal of this session considering cutting Hope Scholarships.
Hargrove says: I've been running lotteries for 27 - 28 years and every
year in the states I've been there's been growth
Growth that can cover scholarships, if that's where the money is really going.
Rep Cohen Unless they catch up and stop adding programs that are well
meaning, but take away from the heart of the program of keeping the
best and brightest, It won't be able to meet that.
Monday, May 7 2012, 11:12 PM CDT
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