Gov. Bill Haslam doesn’t know why federal agents raided his family-owned Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville, he told reporters Tuesday.
The governor said the agents “came in looking for certain records,” but said he did not know what types of documents or the motivation behind federal agents looking into the truck stop company.
“There’s always, obviously, a lot of speculation on all sorts and sides, and it’s not fair for me to play that game either,” Haslam said about the lockdown of the company with annual revenues of $20 billion.
“The truth is nobody knows. And I don’t know either. I don’t know really any more of the facts than what you do,” he said.
FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents on Monday locked down the company headquarters reportedly as part of an ongoing investigation.
“It’s a business that obviously my family’s involved in, people I care a lot about, so to say it doesn’t feel like a big deal is wrong,” he told reporters in an unscheduled media availability in the Capitol Hill press room.
In the 2010 governor’s race, Haslam declined to reveal his earnings from Pilot. When he became governor, he set up a blind trust but left his investment in Pilot out of that trust.
Haslam said he has had no contact with any legal authority in relation to the lockdown. He said he does not know how long it will take before federal agents reveal what they were looking for, but said his brother, Cleveland Browns owner and Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam “firmly believes they haven’t done anything wrong, and I have faith and confidence in him.”
The governor said he doubts the company was targeted due to Haslam’s decision to forego federal dollars for a Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, a decision he made late last month.
“People are going to speculate and gossip and everything about different ideas. I don’t think that. I wish I did but I don’t,” he said.