Author Archives: bucktownpirate
David Vitter’s VitterPAC has made some news lately, specifically in its attempt to blow the cap off of donations here in Louisiana. But who exactly is behind this thing?
Spies recalls his first political memory as his father — then a Republican-appointed U.S. attorney — was fired when Jimmy Carter won the presidency in 1976…“The verdict may be out on how helpful super PACs were in the general election,” he said. But “it’s indisputable that in a primary election, it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
So, Spies is the mover behind this, and other, rightwing SuperPACs. But who’s the local connection? Is there one?
First, the Fund’s listed address is 6048 Marshall Foch Street in the Lakeview part of New Orleans. That’s strange for a number of reasons, most notably because the fund obviously resides in Washington, DC (see the DC lawyer, Spies, and the ’202′ area code on their phone number). Hmmm.
Who lives at 6048 Marshall Foch Street? It seems to be this man, on the left in the blazer, Bill Callihan. From the internets, we find that he is a Director at Capital One bank. Perhaps a fiscal agent for the fund? Not so fast.
This statement of organization from the IRS shows that Spies is the Treasurer/Chairman and that the fund uses “Chain Bridge Bank” in McLean, VA. That’s the Dick Cheney part of Virginia, somewhat close to the CIA headquarters.
So, Callihan is, at the very least, “housing” the organization in Louisiana in order to give the appearance that it isn’t just a total DC-based operation parachuting into LA to elect David Vitter Governor.
As these things go, they’re supposed to be opaque. The entire concept of these “SuperPAC’s” is to obscure the origin of the money on which they feast. The Federal sides can already take unlimited donations. VItterPAC is working dilligently on making sure they can take unlimited contributions to use for a LAGOV race (i.e. a non-Federal, Louisiana-only campaign). Currently, while Federal law allows multi-million dollar cheques to be written without constraint, Louisiana election law says that money PAC raised for state races is limited to cheques of $100,000 at a time. VitterPAC hopes to change this forever.
Back to this mysterious siting. The New Orleans address is, in and of itself, not illegal or even that unusual. However, since VitterPAC operates under the shroud of secrecy afforded to it by IRS code, it will always generate the requisite level of mystery. Why here? And why in New Orleans? Worth watching.
Simultaneously, it is pure charade that VitterPAC claims it won’t be “coordinating” with a potential David Vitter LAGOV run. Of course, this is the joke of our election law today. As Stephen Colbert smartly broke down, SuperPACs are a lie we tell ourselves in politics. The rules are a joke. They’re easy to bend and shred. Candidates can appear at fundraisers for their supporting SuperPAC’s, but they can’t say the words “give us money.” Instead, they can just appear as a guest and folks are supposed to believe that this maintains the Chinese wall.
Whatever the case, we hope the media looks more closely at VitterPAC. Unlimited money in politics is a fundamental corruption. Louisiana’s been able to avoid it up until now. But once the seal is broken, the genie cannot be placed back into the bottle.
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.
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…
The slowly-deflating balloon that is Doc Cassidy’s #LASEN campaign just lost a lot more air. According to early reports from the 3rd Q of fundraising numbers, Cassidy raised only $700k in this quarter. By comparison, Mary Landrieu hauled in nearly twice as much at $1.35m.
Cassidy also made a curious reference during his fundraising release, noting he had raised more than former Democrat John Kennedy during Kennedy’s run against Landrieu as a Republican in 2008. Unfortunately, Cassidy failed to note that Kennedy lost that race by more than 5 points.
Cassidy’s has only increased his available cash on hand by $200k by the end of Q3, indicating an extremely-high burn rate at this early point of the race. If he doesn’t right his campaign’s financial ship, he’ll have fallen far behind Landrieu at the critical opening gun of the 2014 race.
This is the latest crack in Cassidy’s status as the anointed-GOP challenger to Senator Landrieu. Just last week, the LAGOP quietly condoned North Louisiana conservative Rep. Alan Seabaugh’s open rumination on entering the race as the “real conservative.” Previously, Cassidy was excluded from a critical gathering of rightwing activists at a conference in New Orleans.
Cassidy’s awkward rightward tilt has produced similarly disappointing results. He was viciously mocked by the Daily Show just last week for his raw hypocrisy over the Government shutdown.
Things are not awesome for Doc Cassidy. First, he’s pillared on the Daily Show as a disingenuous panderer. Now, it looks like his mushy-mouth moderation isn’t working for for Louisiana Republicans in this hyper-partisan world. Reports have surfaced this week that the LAGOP is no longer discouraging other GOPers from entering the LASEN race to try to unseat Senator Mary Landrieu.
The teeth-grinding among GOPers isn’t over:
LaFaxNet – Stop the Presses! By Lou Gehrig Burnett
Will Seabaugh seek Senate seat?
The Louisiana Republican Party seems to be having a lot of indecision over who should be the candidate to take on incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth six-year term in 2014.
It was thought that U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, who represents the 6th Congressional District, was the anointed one to carry the GOP banner.
But then a retired Air Force colonel by the name of Rob Maness of Madisonville jumped into the race and began picking up endorsements from several tea party and conservative groups.
That gave the impression that many conservative Republicans do not believe Cassidy is conservative enough to defeat Landrieu. The latest independent poll gave Landrieu a 10-point lead over Cassidy.
Now comes a new wrinkle to the race. State Rep. Alan Seabaugh, a Republican from Shreveport, is giving consideration to entering the U.S. Senate race. He would be another burr under the saddle for Cassidy.
That’s because Seabaugh is from a part of the state that is very conservative, and, therefore, would take more votes away from Cassidy. It is also thought that Maness will have some support in northwest Louisiana.
How the leaders of the state Republican Party handle this chaos will be interesting to watch.
Yikes. Another slap in the face to Cassidy, who has suffered an anemic start to his campaign. The LAGOP is on its way to blowing this chance to put up a strong challenge to Mary Landrieu.
UPDATE: Statement on the Seabaugh stir from Andrew Zucker, Comm Director for the Campaign for Louisiana (LaDems Indy Exp):
“Republicans can’t be excited about contrasting Bill Cassidy’s record of shutting down the government in order to block implementing the same health care reforms he tried to pass at the state level in ’07 with Mary Landrieu’s record of fighting for Louisiana and getting real results, so it comes as no surprise that they’re already looking for alternatives.”
- Andrew Zucker, Communications Director, Campaign for Louisiana
Those crazy Teabaggers in the House did it again. In a wild, last ditch effort to defund the Federal Law known as “The Affordable Care Act,” or Obamacare, they refused to fund the government past today. Hence, SHUTDOWN.
Yes, the entire LA GOP Congressional delegation is to blame. You an let them know how dumb they are by contacting them here:
|Member Name||DC Phone||DC FAX||Contact Form|
|Senator David Vitter (R- LA)||202-224-4623||202-228-5061||http://www.vitter.senate.gov/contact/email-senator-vi …|
|Representative Steve Scalise (R – 01)||202-225-3015||202-226-0386||https://scalise.house.gov/contact-me/email-me|
|Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R – 03)||202-225-2031||202-225-5724||https://boustanyforms.house.gov/contact-me|
|Representative John Fleming (R – 04)||202-225-2777||202-225-8039||https://fleming.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/|
|Representative Bill Cassidy (R – 06)||202-225-3901||202-225-7313||https://cassidy.house.gov/contact/email-me|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2013
Re: Zachary S. (“Zack”) Kopplin, Citizen versus John White, in his Official Capacity as Superintendent of the Department of Education, a Department of the Executive Branch of the State of Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana—On Monday, September 9, 2013, education activist Zack Kopplin filed suit against Louisiana Superintendent John White and the Department of Education in order to compel White to release a series of public records concerning the school voucher program, teacher evaluation methodology, the Louisiana Science Education Act, the influence of lobbyists on policymaking, and policies related to the retention and destruction of public records.
Mark Mosley over at The Lens NOLA writes a nice little summation of why Bobby Swindal is desperate to kill the lawsuit filed by the SE Flood Board against Big Oil:
Does the flag of Texaco still fly over the Louisiana State Capitol? That’s the question writer John Barry posed to Lens readers recently. Barry is the vice chairman of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which is suing oil, gas and pipeline companies for accelerating the erosion of our coast.
In every meaningful sense the answer, of course, is yes. The state’s dominant industry is oil and gas, and energy barons still fund the candidates and call the shots. If they are crossed in the slightest, they wail like stuck pigs and invoke the specter of job losses. Large media outlets and the business community are always quick to join the chorus.
While Big Oil doesn’t have a physical banner that ripples atop the capitol, that’s merely a matter of discretion. State leaders have already pledged their allegiance to the pursuit of “black gold,” because it’s one of the unspoken requisites for obtaining higher office in these parts. A candidate who stirs trouble for oil interests is framed as a wild-eyed populist who misunderstands business. If she should make a runoff in an important race, she will doubtless meet a well-funded, “sensible” opponent who collects all the endorsements.
Meanwhile the bottom third of our state continues to vanish.
Inspired by LSU records litigation, LouisianaVoice will seek $500 per day fine for DOA failure to produce public records
Don Quixote, Jimmy Faircloth, Chicago Cubs, Bobby Jindal William Jennings Bryan, LSU Board of Stuporvisors, Minnesota Vikings, Jimmy Faircloth (again), Houston Astros, Bobby Jindal, Charlie Brown.
They all have one thing in common—the inability to grasp the brass ring. Yeah, we know, the Minnesota Vikings went to the Super Bowl four times, but how many of those did they win? The same number Jimmy Faircloth has won going to bat for Bobby Jindal in the state courts on various issues pushed by the governor.