Two of the conspirators in one of the largest public embezzlement cases in state history donated generously to the campaigns of numerous present and former state elected officials.
Nancy New and her son Zach New contributed $14,000 to several state candidates for office from 2017 to 2019, according to an examination of campaign finance records.
Gov. Tate Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, former state Attorney General Jim Hood, state Sen. Chris Johnson, former state Rep. Brad Touchstone, Secretary of State Michael Watson, former Commissioner of Agriculture and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and former state Rep. Cory Wilson all received campaign donations from the News.
Hosemann’s campaign received $5,000 from the News from 2016 to 2019. He received $1,000 from Zach New on November 16, 2018 and $2,500 from Nancy New on the same day. She gave two contributions in 2017, $250 on May 17, 2017 and $1,500 on November 15. Nancy New’s first contribution to Hosemann on was on October 19, 2016 for $1,000.
Zach New gave contributions to Hosemann’s campaign of $500 on November 15, 2017 and May 22, 2019.
The News contributed $2,500 to Johnson in 2017 and 2018, while Hyde-Smith received $2,000 those same years. Wilson received $1,250 from the News in 2017 and 2018 while Touchstone received $1,000 in 2017.
Hood, who was the last Democrat to hold statewide office in Mississippi, received $1,000 in 2017.
Nancy and Zach New were arrested by agents from the state auditor’s office along with the former head of the Department of Human Services, John Davis, former DHS employee Latimer Smith, and an accountant for New’s non-profit Anne McGrew along with former wrestler Brett DiBiase for defrauding the Temporary Aid to Needy Families program for at least $4 million.
She was the director of the Mississippi Community Education Center and New Learning Resources, while her son Zach was the assistant executive director. She was also the founder of the New Summit School with locations in Jackson and Greenwood. A scholarship in her name for graduates of the schools is at Southern Mississippi University.
According to a scan of the Mississippi Community Education Center’s filings with the IRS, the organization received $26.7 million in government grants in 2017 and $12.9 million in 2016 after receiving nearly $2.4 million from government sources in 2015.
The IRS filings for the Mississippi Community Education Center said the organization’s purpose is for the promotion, improvement and expansion of community education through training seminars, consulting services and technical assistance.