MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Former Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey, accused of violating federal campaign finance laws, pled guilty to two federal charges Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Kelsey (R-Germantown) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the FEC and aiding and abetting the acceptance of excessive contributions on behalf of a federal campaign. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count.

The former senator appeared in court Tuesday for a change of plea hearing in his federal campaign finance case.

Last month, Kelsey filed a motion to have the change of plea hearing almost one year after he and Nashville social club owner Joshua Smith were indicted by a federal grand jury as part of an alleged campaign finance scheme.

Both men are accused of violating election rules by funneling money from a state campaign to a federal campaign while Kelsey made a bid for congress in 2016.

Kelsey initially pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in November 2021 and suggested that the charges against him were politically motivated, calling it a “political witch hunt.”

The Tennessee Democratic Party called for Kelsey’s resignation in a statement Tuesday evening.

After spending his career attempting to ruin the lives of others through heinous legislation, disgraced Republican State Senator Brian Kelsey has pleaded guilty to committing two federal crimes. Brian Kelsey should not be given a slap on the wrist but should face the maximum penalty for his crimes, especially after vehemently lying about his innocence. His actions are a reminder of the dangerous hypocrisy and mistruth that the Republican Party is willing to uphold for the sake of power and corruption.

We are calling on Kelsey to resign effective immediately.

Tennessee Democratic Party