University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd takes the extraordinary step of organizing a fundraiser for one of the state’s most conservative politicians.
In 2018, Boyd told the Nashville Post he would shut down a political action committee he had used to donate tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates after becoming president of the university to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
The fundraiser will take place Monday morning at the Bearden Banquet Hall for State Senator Mark Pody, R-Lebanon. Through a spokesperson not affiliated with the university, Boyd said he agreed to do the event as a friend of the senator.
Pody has been in the news several times this year. First he agreed to pay for people to travel to Washington, DC to protest the January 6 election, he told Tennessee Lookout. The rally then turned into a violent insurgency on Capitol Hill. At a rally in Nashville that same day, Pody told a crowd, “We must pray that the truth will be revealed.”
Next month, he sponsored the legislation who sought to give a man who puts a pregnant woman a veto over an abortion by asking a court for an injunction against the procedure. The bill ultimately failed.
Boyd told Knox News that he and Pody “don’t agree on all the issues,” but felt compelled to organize the event because of their long relationship.
“Senator Pody has been a long time friend. He called me and asked for help, and I said ‘yes’ in my role as a private citizen and not in an official capacity,” Boyd said. .
Boyd also said he saw no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Pody told Knox News that Boyd is an “absolutely brilliant individual” who has done a great job rebuilding the relationship with the University and the Tennessee General Assembly.
“As a personal friend and as someone I’ve worked with (over the years), I’m honored that Randy is helping me put Tennessean values first,” said Pody.
Boyd, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, was approved as interim president of the state’s largest university system in 2018, shortly after his unsuccessful run for governor. The working title was removed in 2020 when the board of the university system agreed to keep it until 2025.
Boyd has continued to donate to political candidates since he became president. This summer, for example, he donated $ 10,000 to Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally’s PAC, according to state finance records.