NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Nashville business owner pleaded guilty on Wednesday to violating campaign finance laws in connection with a 2016 campaign.

Joshua Smith, owner of The Standard in Nashville, is said to have secretly and unlawfully funneled $67,000 of what is commonly referred to as “soft money” from Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey’s campaign committee to a national political organization.

That organization funded advertisements urging voters to support Kelsey during the August 2016 primary election.

Smith pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the solicitation, receipt, direction, transfer and spending of soft money in connection with a federal election.

He will be sentenced on June 9, 2023.

Brian Kelsey_475784
Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey

Smith and State Senator Kelsey were indicted in October 2021 by a federal grand jury in Nashville. Kelsey is scheduled to go on trial next January.

Both men face up to five years in prison.

⏩ Read today’s top stories on wkrn.com

Kelsey currently represents the Germantown District as a Republican. He announced in March that he will not be seeking reelection in November.