Claims to fame: Tennessee state legislator; Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus Chairman; sponsor, Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment; co-sponsor, Tennessee Defense of Marriage Act (1996); adulterer; divorcé; hypocrite
Moral apex: Sponsored a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Tennessee — while cheating on his wife, who subsequently filed for divorce (charging Miller with “inappropriate marital conduct”).
Who he was cheating with: Allegedly, one Jessica Fahey, a “legislative researcher” who accompanied Miller and his three daughters to a Martina McBride concert.
Should we care who Jessica Fahey is? Not really. But her boyfriend, David Willford, might care.
Who’s he? Just another soldier whose hometown girlfriend reportedly started catting around with a married man while he, poor schmuck, was off fighting in Iraq.
What does Miller have to say about all this? He “vehemently” denies all of the above allegations.
What does his ex-wife have to say about all this? “They’ve been seeing each other for a while,” his wife of 15 years, Brigitte, told one reporter. “Now he admits things. But he said it’s only been since he moved out. But I know better. I’ve got things that tell me differently.”
“I think he’s played around for a long time,” she told the Nashville City Paper, adding, “It’s not any more wrong to be gay than to commit adultery.”
“He is very hypocritical, fighting for the sanctity of marriage and not keeping his own,” she told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The hometown news corroborates: “The local and Nashville media have heard repeated claims about Sen. Miller’s alleged infidelity for years.” Wrote Matthew Melton in 2005. “People have been willing to come forward. But you didn’t read or hear about these reports. Why? It wasn’t that they were disbelieved. It was simply that the media didn’t feel the scandal was worth their time. Miller apparently banked on that silence. Whether the claims are provable hardly matters now. They all point to an accumulated seedy reputation with a nasty undercurrent.”
Why Miller is an even bigger hypocrite — and why we think he’s such a big homophobe in the first place: His younger brother Gregg is gay. And out.
Gee, we wonder why: Miller’s amendment, which passed the state legislature, defines marriage as “the historical institutional and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman.” However, Miller thwarted an addition to the amendment banning adultery (which read: “Adultery is deemed to be a threat to the institution of marriage and contrary to public policy in Tennessee”).
The good news: The incident effectively killed Miller’s hopes for moving up the political ladder… like, to the White House. In fact, he announced in February of 2006 that he would not seek re-election to a fourth term.
Empty threats: In late 2005, Miller sent a letter to Cleveland, Tennessee, business owners warning them not to advertise in the Bradley Weekly newspaper, which has covered the senator’s mating-and-dating habits with interest: “Myself and many others are going to be watching in the next several weeks to identify and remember those in this community that wish to subsidize the destructive nature of this type of publication in our community,” wrote Miller.
(Mind you, Miller didn’t deny that he was dating another woman while waiting for his final divorce decree.)
Bradley Weekly editor Barry Graham shot back in an open letter (bold emphasis ours):
So, it seems you didn’t like our cover story about you a couple weeks ago. That’s why you’re threatening our advertisers, telling them that you and your pals will be “watching” them to see if they continue to advertise with us. How gauche, Jeffy. Remember how you once tried to sponsor a bill to put us out of business? Don’t you ever learn?
You’re a liar, Jeffy. And a weasel. You’re a bully and a philanderer. And, most of all, you’re a coward. …
You’re a silly, irresponsible little boy. When you get caught out, you don’t face your accusers and take them on. Instead, you throw a tantrum, and try to stab your supposed “enemies” in the back.
And the grown-ups just laugh at you. …
You might claim that, in reporting about your personal life, we’ve gone too far. You might claim that, yes, it’s public business that you’re a corrupt politician who could be facing charges from the US Attorney, that, yes, it’s public business that you’d rather spend time with your lover than show up in court for your job as Bradley County Delinquent Tax Attorney or in the Senate for your job representing the people who elected you. You might say that, yes, these things are all matters of public interest, but that your personal life is nobody’s business but your own. …
But you, Jeffy, put your chosen lifestyle out there for the public to judge. Your platform is that of a guy who believes in the sanctity of marriage, and that marriage should be between one man and one woman. And your behavior doesn’t support your platform. So, we report it. …
[B]ecause you had made it a public issue like … other matters, we asked you about your chosen lifestyle, and how it had ruined your marriage. And you didn’t answer.
You accused us of printing “rumor, innuendo, half-truths and out and out lies.” The editor of this paper publicly challenged you to debate him, at any venue in Bradley County, and he promised that if you could cite just one example of something he had written that he couldn’t prove, he would apologize to you. The challenge appeared in an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. You didn’t respond, of course. You’re too afraid of what would be revealed in the debate. And you know we can prove anything we say. You don’t want to talk about how your chosen lifestyle impacts your public life. …
Instead, you tried to silence us. In order to put us out of business, you threatened other local businesses. You’re such a fraidy-cat, Jeffy…
Proving that Tennesseans don’t like to be pushed around, a few businesspeople pushed back; Bradley Weekly publisher Susan Shelton said the paper lost no advertising business, and in fact several locals called to buy new ads because of Miller’s threats.
I’m not scared of folks who have an alternative lifestyle, I’m not being scared or phobic in one way or another.
— Explaining his state bill banning civil unions and domestic partnerships (above and beyond same-sex marriage), March, 2004
They could come to Tennessee and claim rights. That’s what I’m afraid of.
— A few days later, talking about the same bill, only this time explaining what he is afraid of, March, 2004
I am very proud to again be the sponsor of a Senate Joint Resolution that will protect the sanctity of marriage in Tennessee. …
Homosexual activists are already heading into court to challenge the results of the Marriage Protection Amendments passed by huge majorities on Election Day. …
The opposition in the Legislature tries to label this a “wedge issue” and paint the actions of myself and those supporting this measu
re as an attempt to bring out conservative votes in the 2006 elections. As sponsor of the resolution, I can attest that I am not doing this for political purposes. This is a matter that has been thrust upon us by activist judges in courts across this nation and my actions are necessary to protect Tennessee from falling victim to the exact same kind of actions from a potential activist court in this state.
— “Miller Minute,” February 11, 2005
I LOVE BEING SOUTHERN, ’cause…
Even Southern babies know that “Gimme some sugar” is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.
Bless your hearts, ya’ll [sic] have a blessed day.
Mom, Apple Pie & Gen. Robert E. Lee
— “Jeff’s Jots,” “Miller Minute,” February 17, 2005
Obituary for Mr. Sense
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr. Common Sense. …
…Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband…
— “Jeff’s Jots,” “Miller Minute,” February 25, 2005
Tennesseeans did not ask for this fight over the definition of marriage. This fight was forced upon Tennessee by those who are seeking to redefine marriage in court by cozying up to activist judges. Activist judges liberally read their own thoughts and views into constitutions in order to “find” rights which don’t exist.
— “Miller Minute,” March 3, 2005
Should you drink the water in authentic Mexican restaurants?
How come nothing in the world is more expensive than a girlfriend who’s totally free for the weekend?
Does a crowded elevator smell different to a midget?
Why should we be politically correct when we can be right?
— “Jeff’s Jots,” “Miller Minute,” March 3, 2005
Ronald Reagan, God rest his soul.
— “Jeff’s Jots,” “Miller Minute,” March 17, 2005
Two more things we don’t like about Jeff Miller: His atrocious grammar and spelling; e.g., “Myself and many others are going to be watching…”; “…paint the actions of myself and those supporting this measure…”; “ya’ll”.
• Past honors include:
• Average number of times Miller uses one or more of the phrases “activist judges,” “activist courts,” or “homosexual activists” in each press release related to his same-sex marriage-ban bill: 3.67
• People (and things) Miller considers more deserving of guaranteed “rights” than gay and lesbian people:
1. Hunters and fishermen: Miller co-sponsored a 2005 bill to amend the Tennessee state constitution to include the “right” to hunt and fish. “This age old sport,” Miller opined, “and Tennessee participants have faced increasing opposition from groups such as PETA and the anti-hunting communities making many deem it necessary to ensure that the right to hunt and fish is given the highest protection the law affords.”
2. Drunken gun owners: Miller supports a state bill that would allow Tennesseans to carry concealed, loaded weapons into establishments that serve alcohol.
3. Motorcycle riders who like the idea of brain trauma: “[C]ross your fingers,” Miller wrote in 2005. “I have placed an amendment on SB 928 that would exempt all motorcyclists from the helmet restrictions for the weekend of the Hog Rally in Chattanooga this summer.”
4. Country ham: Miller is very excited about the Tennessee state legislature’s proposed proclamation of October 1st as “Country Ham Day”: “Rest easy!” he wrote. “No longer will a breakfast favorite go without the recognition it has so long deserved. Country ham may soon have a day of its own — October 1st. That’s right, mark your calendars. Something of that stature, something without which eggs and biscuits would be much less satisfying, something that [sic] important to breakfasts all across the state deserves a day of its own and this General Assembly will no longer sit idly by without giving country ham just that.”
• Miller was one of nine Tennessee lawmakers nailed in a federal sting operation called “Operation Tennessee Waltz”. In short, Miller and his cohorts (which, to be fair, included four Democrats) were accused of taking money for pushing through a bill to benefit a computer-recycling company. As of this writing in mid-2006, most of the accused were indicted; at least two — John Ford (D-Memphis) and Chris Newton (R-Cleveland) — have resigned, and at least one (Newton) has been convicted and is now in a federal prison.
While Miller has so far escaped indictment, it’s implied that he may still be under investigation… probably because he did admit accepting $1,000 cash from a lobbyist (one of the convicted “bagmen”). Of course, Miller said he thought the money was just a campaign contribution.
• “A lady saying she has known Jeff Miller for years” related a story to KnoxNews columnist Tom Humphrey about Jeffy’s underage arrest (he was in a car full of friends) for having an open bottle of vodka in a vehicle… and how Jeffy lied to the police officer by identifying himself as “John Smith.” (The cop let the rest of the kids go, but hauled Jeffy down to the station.)
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Miller:
For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.
— Job 15:34-35