McKenzies did was wrong? No - because everyone is out to get the best deal for themselves, and they made a legal contribution.
Of course, making such a contribution can really be a gamble. What if you contribute to a candidate and they lose? Well, sometimes you just better cover all of your bases. In the 2002 State of Tennessee Governors race, Toby McKenzie donated $5000 to VanHillery, but also made a "what if" contribution to Phil Bredeson for $1000. I'm sure if Governor Bredesen has looked at VanHillery's campaign contribution report, he might feel a bit shortchanged.
Speaking of feeling short changed, can you imagine what poor Chris Newton must of felt like when the FBI only spent a mere couple of thousand on him, but much more on everyone else - that must really add insult to injury!
Of course, elected officials don't have to accept outside contributions to have a reason to yield their influence. In 2001, in the State of Tennessee house and senate, 126 members sat on legislative committees that had the authority to directly influence their own personal business or professional involvements. Another 8.7% either owned or had interest in firms that lobby state government. For instance, Chris Newton was formerly employed by a company that supplies and refurbishes rail cars for the railroad industry, and also serves on the House of Representatives Transportation Committee as well. Could that be a conflict of interest? You be the judge.
Will it ever change? No! An elderly woman up in Athens told me a story 30 years ago that made a lasting impression. A lady came to her husband and said, "Are you voting for John Smith for sheriff?" Her husband replied, "Absolutely not." Somewhat taken back, the woman then said, "Why not? The sheriff we have now is corrupt, a thief, and a womanizer. John Smith is such a fine young man!" The husband then replied, "I know he is - but if you remember, the sheriff we have now was also a fine young man until we elected him into that office - why should we ruin two fine young men?"