The Vitter-for-governor boomlet hasn’t yet fully bloomed and the Sinator’s allies have already injected the corrosive post-Citizens United money chase into the electoral calculus.
According to the Times-Pic, the Fund For Louisiana’s Future (or, VitterPAC, as we’ll refer to it) is challenging the current Louisiana contribution limits:
Lawyers for the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, the Super PAC created to support Sen. David Vitter, R-La., say Louisiana’s Board of Ethics really doesn’t have a choice but to grant its request to end enforcement of Louisiana’s $100,000 limit on independent committee donations.
If the ethics board agrees, the result could be million-dollar contributions to campaign committees in Louisiana — much as is the case already for super PACs nationally.
The Supreme Court‘s 2010 ruling that equated spending on independent political expenditures with free speech, and a follow-up ruling by a Washington D.C. appeals court, makes it clear that such limits are unconstitutional, lawyers for the Fund for Louisiana’s Future say.
This challenge is in line with the longterm trend among rightwingers throughout the country to challenge any contribution limits as abridgments of free speech. This project, hatched by arch-conservative activists decades ago (like James Bopp), hopes to remove the reigns of contribution limits in order to allow giant business and activist donations to mostly conservative causes. The richest 1%, now unburdened by contribution limits, can now more easily control politics and affect policy to maintain or expand inequality to their advantage, or work on any number of rightwing fantasies (banning abortion, privatizing all services, dismantling the social safety net, etc.). That’s the whole game.
Anyway, VitterPAC isn’t waiting until it passes go before it fires a warning shot: it will be aggressively fighting to open the floodgates of arch-conservative cash to out-spend Vitter’s potential rivals in the 2015 LAGOV race. In a small state like Louisiana with cheap media rates, a Romney-esqe SuperPAC pummeling Vitter’s opponents would be essential to deflect from the inevitable rehashing of the “serious sins” that will no-doubt play much larger in the parochial Governor’s race than it did in the anti-Obama Senate race.
Laughably, and typically, the VitterPAC claims it HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DAVID VITTER’S CAMPAIGN:
Still, [Lawyer] Ryan said that both federal and state regulators, as well as the courts, need to tighten definitions of independent expenditures, which, under the Supreme Court ruling, can be funded with unlimited donations from both corporations and individuals. He wonders how the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, which was formed entirely to back Vitter’s political campaigns, can be truly independent of the Republican senator.
In their filing with the ethics board, Spires, who chaired Mitt Romney’s Super Pac during the 2012 presidential campaign and Tyrrell insist their Super PAC is indeed independent.
“Written confidentiality and firewall policies are in place to ensure that Fund for Louisiana’s Future will in no way coordinate its political communications or activities with any candidates, their committee or their agents,” they wrote.
According to campaign finance data, Galliano Marine Services of Cut Off, and GMAA LLC, a New Orleans medical business operated by Keith and Mary Van Meter, each contributed $100,000 to Vitter’s PAC in April.
These filings always trail the contributions by months. The Louisiana Democratic Party has adeptly scooped up www.VitterForGovernor.com, which highlights one of VitterPAC’s latest fundraisers, a gator hunt in May. We’ll continue to follow the VitterPAC money here.
Fainting spells were reported across the Gret Stet today as rumors of a final decision on the Canal Street John on his entry into the Governor race in 2015. According to the world’s greatest hotel doormat, USA TODAY (we KID!):
Sen. David Vitter says he’ll decide by January whether to run for governor of Louisiana in 2015.
The Republican senator, elected in 2004, told the Associated Press that he’ll send out an e-mail Wednesday to let supporters know of his interest in the 2015 race. Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, cannot run again because of term limits.
“This is the logical time to do it, if I’m ever going to do it,” Vitter told the AP.
Vitter is one of the more popular politicians in Louisiana, with a job-approval rating of over 58% in a recent Southern Media & Opinion Research poll. He has attracted headlines in the past few months for his fight against President Obama’s health care law, saying he wants to make sure that members of Congress and their staffs don’t get special treatment.
Vitter has rebounded from a 2007 scandal in which his phone number was found among a client list of the so-called D.C. Madam. He apologized for what he called a “very serious sin.”
The good news for the Sinator? The whore scandal that would have brought down any human candidate (for the Sinator is not a human, but a cold-blooded reptilian humanoid, of course) is now in the 4th ‘graph of his mini-bio! That’s progress!!
Still, what David Vitter lacks in a pulse, he more than makes up for in his dastardly, almost evil genius-like, ability to concoct crafty, laser-focused political coups against his enemies. In the Game of Thrones that is Louisiana politics, Vitter is the vicious, deadly, and ruthless Little Finger. Scorned by many, with a sordid past, but willing to do what it takes to destroy those in his way.
Recall, as well, that David Vitter has a SuperPAC roving out there. He was a “SPECIAL GUEST” at the latest gator round-up in the spring, and if that’s any indication, he’s already begun to think about 2015 more seriously than he’s letting on. People don’t just go skirting campaign finance laws to raise money for a SuperPAC that purportedly isn’t “supporting David Vitter directly,” but so obviously is unless they have something big in mind.
We postulated all the way back in February that the only candidate we see that can beat the Sinator is Mayor Mitchell Landrieu. We went as far to endorse him and we re-up that endorsement. Mitch Landrieu for Governor, 2015. Period.
Recent polling has been inconclusive. We’re still too far away from the campaign. But Mayor Mitch is definitely a force to be dealt with for the Sinator.
The Landrieu family name might be the best thing Democrats in Louisiana have going for them. Looking ahead to the 2015 race for Governor, Mitch Landrieu has an early lead over both of the high profile Republicans we tested against him in hypothetical match ups. He’s up 45/42 on Senator David Vitter and 45/35 on Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne.
Landrieu has very strong statewide favorability numbers- 44% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of him to just 24% with a negative one. His popularity with Democrats is predictable but even among Republicans he comes close to breaking even with a 30/31 favorability spread. He leads the two GOP hopefuls because like his sister he pulls 20-23% of the Republican vote in the head to heads.
Landrieu has about $1.6m on hand for a walkover Mayoral relection coming this February. We haven’t heard of any real competition, but someone from New Orleans will update on that for sure. If he spends lightly, he’ll be well-positioned to have a top 5 warchest for the 2015 race even before he announces his intentions.
Still, everyone waiting to exhale only has to wait one (!!!!!) more month to hear what the Sinator is going to do. Winter is coming.
In less than thirty days, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will make a final decision on whether he wants to accept, according to a report published by his own Department of Health and Hospitals, as much as $25 billion from the federal government in order to guarantee and expand health care coverage for as many as 653,000 poor and working class Louisiana families and individuals…
Horrible news for Louisiana children as Jindal uses a dead news day before Thanksgiving to dump a load of terrible voucher school results (and potentially just the tip of the iceberg, as DoE hasn’t released all the stats yet).
At least 45 percent of students in Louisiana’s controversial voucher program last year attended schools with performance scores in the D to F range of the state’s grading scale, according to data the state released Wednesday.
The full impact of the program cannot be assessed, however, because the state released scores only for one-fifth of the 118 schools in the program. The schools for which data was provided served 2,888 of the nearly 5,000 students who used vouchers last year.
And it gets worse. Vouchergate continues to spiral out of control, blowing millions of tax dollars on horrible private schools that don’t help kids succeed:
The limited data raises questions about how the high-profile program can be held accountable to taxpayers. Voucher schools are only lightly vetted on the front end, with state Superintendent John White promising in 2012 that he would hold schools accountable based on academic results. The average voucher costs $5,245, meaning possibly $11 million in state dollars went to schools with no publicly released accountability score.
The state released the scores in a report Wednesday, several days after a federal judge ruled the U.S. Department of Justice had the right to monitor the program to ensure it does not worsen racial segregation. In the political fight over the case, Gov. Bobby Jindal has said vouchers gave underprivileged children a shot at a better education.
Bobby Jindal’s experiments on Louisiana have spawned a Frankenstein monster of calamities. From burning down Higher Education in Louisiana to crushing public hospitals, to a completely broken budget, to vouchergate; the Jindal administration continues to pile on failures.
Fifty-three years ago, John F. Kennedy stood before an audience in Houston, Texas and delivered, what was at the time, the single most important speech of his political career. It wasn't about civil rights or national security or foreign policy, and it wasn't about putting a man on the moon (that speech was also delivered in Houston, two years later…
From this weekend’s Advocate:
Talk about a cheap laugh. President Barack Obama had them rolling in the aisles a few weeks ago and all he had to do was quote Louisiana Congressman John Fleming.
That was not the first time Fleming had made an ass of himself far beyond our borders, and now he has done it again.
Since Fleming is a physician, there must be a suspicion that he couldn’t possibly be as dumb as he seems, and that he is faking it on the theory that no one likes a smart-ass where he lives in Minden. Either way, residents all over Louisiana must squirm every time he opens his mouth.
But Fleming was not discouraged by the reaction to his tomfoolery, and evidently believes no Republican can go wrong attacking Obama, however brainless the pretext. So now he has launched into Obama after he and the other living presidents recorded versions of the Gettysburg address for filmmaker Ken Burns.
Some versions of the speech contain the words “under God” and some don’t, and whether Lincoln uttered them on the battle site is unknown. The version Burns asked Obama to record omitted the reference to the Almighty. It was just the luck of the draw, although it was no surprise that Rush Limbaugh evidently had one of his fits about it.
But we like our congressmen to be more rational. We can’t call them out every time they make a dumb remark, but there comes a time when we have to cry enough. That time came a couple of days ago when Fleming put out a statement accusing Obama of a “mean-spirited and inexcusable bias” against religion.
Blogger and rabble rouser extraordinaire CB Forgotston has landed in an interesting place. Bobby Jindal’s candidate for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, Neil Riser, advertised that he was the choice of the “TEA Party of Louisiana.” After the thrashing Riser took over the weekend, there are probably many recriminations in the Jindal camp over this latest disaster. Forgotston has dredged up one trivial, but perhaps intriguing, nugget regarding Riser’s astroturf campaign:
If you followed the recent special election for the LA 5th Congressional District you probably read and heard in the state and national paid media that Neil Riser had the endorsement of “The TEA Party of Louisiana.”
If you are as naive as I am, you probably took that to mean that an “umbrella” group of the various TEA Party chapters in LA had come together behind Riser.
Then I began hearing members of local TEA Parties say that Riser had refused to come to various meetings of the groups in the 5th District. Riser’s opponent, now Congressman-Elect Vance McAllister did attend the meeting and had their support.
One day a fellow contacted me claiming to be a member of the TEA Party who was upset that he was getting calls from “The TEA Party of Louisiana” supporting Riser. He said if they didn’t stop calling he was going to quit the TEA Party because he supported McAllister.
So what is going on here? To the untrained eye, the “TEA Party” support would be critical in this ultra-conservative district. Yet, the winner of the contest, newly-minted Congressman Vance Mcallister, supported the Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare. Riser’s consultants tried to smash him with that. Instead, Riser was smashed. What’s going on here? Forgotston has more:
I did a Google search for “The TEA Party of Louisiana.” I turned up a “TEA Party of Louisiana.” It even has a website (here) where they endorsed Neil Riser for the 5thCongressional District.
The website accepts donations via the Internet, but provides no physical location, mailing address or names of the officers.
Next, I checked with the LA Secretary of State’s Website to get more information on the group. There was no “TEA Party of Louisiana” registered.
The closest name I could find was “LOUISIANA TEA PARTY, L.L.C” in Baton Rouge. The mailing address is: C/O CECIL CAVANAUGH, 10165 GRANDEUR, BATON ROUGE, LA 70815
However, this group is listed as “Inactive” by “Action by Secretary of State.”
Who endorsed Riser?
This leaves me with the questions of, other than a website, what or who is the “TEA Party of Louisiana” that endorsed Neil Riser? Who paid for the calls or other activities on Riser’s behalf in the 5th District?
Newsflash: YOUR EYES ARE NOT DECEIVING YOU! Bobby Jindal WAS in Louisiana some of last year. Surely, not all of the last year, as he spent copious time gallivanting around the nation on his endless presidential campaign that he is assuredly NOT running. In fact, anyone who would even consider running for President at this point should “get his head checked.” But we digress.
It turns out, the Associated Press (LAMESTREAM MEDIA THAT THEY ARE) did something called “research,” and what they found was fascinating if not obvious:
When Gov. Bobby Jindal was named leader of the Republican Governors Association, he said it wouldn’t take his focus away from running his home state. But an Associated Press tally shows that it’s definitely taken him away from home.
During his term as RGA chairman, Jindal has regularly left Louisiana this year for campaigns, fundraisers and speeches.
The AP review — based on announcements the governor’s office made about his travel schedule — shows that Jindal, considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016, has traveled out of state at least 69 days this year, much of it to meet with RGA donors, fundraise for the organization and work on strategy for Republican gubernatorial races.
The governor was on the road and away from Louisiana at least 1 out of every 5 days of the year so far, AP found, using the information provided to the media by Jindal’s office when he leaves the state.
1/5 is like 20% or something, according to Louisiana public school math. That still leaves him 80% of his time to muck around Louisiana, causing trouble and blowing up health care. You know, like paying millions to state contractors for private health care for dead people.
The charade is up: Bobby Jindal doesn’t want to be in Louisiana anymore. He hasn’t had any use for the state except to rack up crazy points with the Iowa caucus goers from his legislative agenda. And seeing as how that high-water mark has passed, he probably won’t be seeing a compliant legislature anymore (see, for example, his tax scheme last year that ended in an epic face plant).
Lee Zurik and Nola.com are unfolding a fascinating look at Louisiana’s corrupt river of campaign cash this week. One of the stories is particularly piquant: “Louisiana law silent on whether candidates must return illegal contributions“
It turns out that the old story about Bobby Jindal’s 2007 campaign wasn’t quite dead. During his run for Governor in ’07, Jindal collected $55,000 from figures connected with “Central Progressive Bank,” a newly created, and soon to fail, bank in St. Tammany Parish. Unfortunately, that $55,000 didn’t come from numerous sources as was claimed. In fact, the Bank’s executives funneled that money from a single source. That is illegal. However, when it comes to returning the cash, the Jindal campaign has been sitting on its hands:
Blossman was indicted for the campaign finance violations and other unrelated charges in May 2012, and Jindal’s campaign was revealed as the recipient of the money a month later. That’s when the campaign said it learned the donations were illegal. Jindal political adviser Timmy Teepell, who ran the governor’s 2007 campaign, said this week the money was accepted “in good faith.”
What’s good for the goose, however, is not good for the gander. In another story revealed just yesterday, the Jindal administration bowed to pressure from Sinator David Vitter to prosecute food stamp recipients that received extra money on their cards because of a computer malfunction.
“The recent over-the-top food stamp theft and fraud gave Louisiana and the program a real black eye,” said Vitter. “I’m certainly glad the state is acting on my urgent suggestion. I look forward to discussing the details with Secretary (Susan) Sonnier in my upcoming meeting with her and Attorney General (Buddy) Caldwell.”
Officials denied that Vitter’s recent remarks had anything to do with the state’s decision to pursue people who used their benefits fraudulently.
Other than the fact that the Jindal admin is getting punked by the Sinator. By tacking to his right on prosecuting the poor over possible food stamp scams, Vitter is putting Jindal on blast with the wingnuts. He can’t afford these hits as he continues to flail about in order to appeal to the grassroots tea baggers that will be choosing the 2016 GOP nominee.
Let’s review then, shall we? Bobby Jindal takes illegal campaign cash in 2007, and he sloughs it off, paying it back 6 years later. The poor get extra food stamp cash through a system malfunction? Prosecute!!
Perhaps it is time to drop the kabuki show: Bill Cassidy might not make it to 2014. A series of embarrassing articles continue to surface, including (GASP) this nugget:
In 1988, while living in California, Cassidy penned a letter to The State-Times, a now defunct afternoon newspaper in Baton Rouge. In the letter, Cassidy mocked anyone who would vote for George H.W. Bush for president and suggested Louisiana residents vote for Michael Dukakis. In a sarcastic tone, Cassidy “thanked” voters for supporting Bush because the Republican president would ultimately help California by increasing defense spending while Louisiana suffered economically during the oil bust because of falling prices.
“You see, when the federal government takes care of poor people, education, health care, roads and the elderly, you people get a lot of that money,” he wrote, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO from archives of the newspaper. “If you begin to realize that patriotism has nothing to do with any of this, tell yourself that there was nothing that the Republicans could have done about the fall in oil prices. Of course, I know better.”
He continued, “Please do me one favor, dear Louisianans. Never ask yourself if you’re better off now than you were eight years ago. If you do, you might wake up, you might vote for a change.”
Let’s just put it out on the table. This is devastating for Cassidy. Let us look no further than Kentucky, or Texas, or Missouri, to notice one ripe truth about today’s modern GOP: the tea baggers at the grass roots are running the show. Whether it’s Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Todd Akin, the ultra right-wing is propelling candidates past “establishment” choices.
Unfortunately for Doc Cassidy, he falls squarely in the latter camp.
Rob Maness, on the other hand, is making a play for the nutjob caucus, and he’s winning:
GOP Candidate Argues His Opponent Would Have Supported Slavery
A Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Louisiana recently argued that, were his opponent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) alive in the 18th century, she would have sided with pro-slavery forces.
[I]n August, Maness spoke at the annual RedState Gathering. He attacked Landrieu for her observation during the immigration bill markup that “The only way you get something is to become obnoxious.” Maness extrapolated from Landrieu’s statement that she would believe anyone who holds an unpopular belief is “obnoxious,” then inferred that Landrieu would have sided against anti-slavery advocates had she been alive around the country’s founding. “Senator Landrieu might have called Mrs. Adams ‘obnoxious,’ especially since she was opposed to slavery and favored women’s rights when both were very unpopular ideas,” Maness told the crowd.
Charming! He’ll fit right in with the Akins, the Sharron Angles, and all of the other loony-bin characters the tea party hoists into the spotlight.
Luckily for Maness, this is the week of GOOD news for him, as the Senate Conservatives Fund formally endorsed him:
“Colonel Rob Maness is a constitutional conservative with a remarkable record of service to our country,” Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement. “He understands the value of our freedoms and will fight to repeal Obamacare and stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are bankrupting our country.”
From Maness’ website, we see his wingnut flag is flying high, railing against government takeovers of Education through Common Core and refusing comprehensive immigration reform.
Rob Maness is on the upswing. He’s playing right to the crowd. And Bill Cassidy is stumbling. Mary Landrieu should start paying attention to Col. Maness. He’s her real threat.