Longtime ethics champion McNally poised to become speaker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican state Sen. Randy McNally, a long time champion of ethics and transparency, is poised to become the next speaker of the Tennessee Senate.

Senate Republicans, who control 28 of 33 seats in the upper chamber of the General Assembly, are scheduled to meet Thursday to nominate their leaders. McNally has been the consensus choice to succeed Speaker Ron Ramsey, who has retired.

McNally was a key insider to the FBI’s Rocky Top bingo investigation in the 1980s. The agency asked the Oak Ridge lawmaker to wear a recording device at Legislative Plaza, and he captured evidence of offers to pay cash for votes.

Nearly a decade later, McNally was a leader in updating state ethics laws in response to the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz bribery sting operation in 2005.