Originally posted on Something Like the Truth:
By Robert Mann
Trying to separate himself from his arch-rival, Gov. Bobby Jindal, it seems that U.S. Sen. David Vitter is having trouble remembering exactly where he stands on important issues, such as Common Core.
On Friday, Vitter endorsed the Common Core educational standards that Jindal once supported, but is now vigorously working to repeal.
“I strongly support the Common Core standards,” Vitter said in an interview with C-SPAN. Vitter went even further, taking a partisan swipe at Jindal: “I support the strong standards Louisiana now has in place and think Governor Jindal’s attempt to start from scratch right before the new school year is very disruptive,” he said.
All the Louisiana press dutifully reported Vitter’s statement, but somehow missed that just a few months ago, Vitter sent out a fundraising appeal in which he declared his opposition to Common Core.
On page four of the fundraising letter…
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For those of you following the most important story in Louisiana politics (cause nothing beats a Governor’s race), David Vitter’s campaign non-campaign SuperPAC packed away $1.79m for Vitter’s 2015 race. You can now count the SuperPAC as one of the largest campaign purses in the state, around the same size as other Gubernatorial candidates-in-waiting MAIN CAMPAIGN accounts of bigtimers such as John Kennedy, Jay Dardenne, or Mitch Landrieu.
In essence, a headless SuperPAC, the Deus ex machina of political campaigns, is tallying up the big money without Vitter’s such much as dialing a number (although to be fair, Vitter has appeared on behalf of the Fund for Louisiana’s future at least once, and of course transferred some of his own campaign funds to the cause). And how is this thing garnering so much cash without a candidate pushing the oarsmen?
In May, New Orleans federal judge Martin Feldman ruled that, based on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, Louisiana can’t enforce its limit of $100,000 donations for advocacy groups. The High Court ruled that spending money on advocacy is an exercise of free speech, which cannot be regulated. Less than two months later, the American Chemistry Council broke the $100,000 donation threshold for the Vitter Super PAC.
Overall, the Fund for Louisiana’s Future took in $623,968 in the three months through June 30, on top of $157,500 received in the first three months of 2014. That’s brought the group’s cash on hand to a robust $1,796,733.
Among the biggest donors for 2014, were $100,000 each from Tracy Krohn, CEO of W&T Offshore Inc. of Houston; and Daniel Heard, a retired investor from Houston. Since its creation in 2013, the Fund for Louisiana’s Future has received five donations of $100,000 or more. Galliano Marine Services of Cut Off and GMAA LLC of New Orleans gave $100,000 in 2013.
Other top donors during 2014 included Hilcorp Energy Co. of Houston, $45,000; 4K Marine LLC of Morgan City, $40,000 and Texas Petroleum Investments Co. of Houston, $30,000.
Oh, that whole “no limits” thing.
The Fund For Louisiana’s Future: No limits, Setting Records.
Jeremy Alford writes today in LaPolitics about the comings and goings of the VitterPAC, the now-unlimited money cannon Vitter will no-doubt use to pummel Jay Dardenne and friends in the 2015 Governor’s race.
Alford reports that the VitterPac has already made its first moves across the chessboard:
A new web-only media buy from the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, overseen by Charlie Spies of the D.C.-based law firm Clark Hill, turns the spotlight on state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. The banner ads thank Donelon, who doesn’t seem to be facing any real opposition, for “standing up to the federal government and fighting to protect Louisiana families from skyrocketing flood insurance rates.”
Like Vitter, who Spies has long said would be the center of the super PAC’s universe, Donelon cannot coordinate activities with the fund; by law it must act independently of candidates and campaigns. The other distinguishing characteristic of a super PAC is its ability to raise unlimited dollars on the federal level, and presumably, due to a recent court decision, on the state level.
The fund’s sudden interest in Donelon, of all politicians, and federal flood insurance provides voters and the Louisiana press with a deus ex machina, or rather a politically expedient explanation for a curious thread from the developing race for governor. While Vitter cannot use money from his federal Senate campaign account to run for governor (he has a separate state account for that), the senator did direct a $100,000 donation from his federal war chest to the super PAC that was largely created in his name for his gubernatorial bid.
Alford misses the fact that Vitter has given $1 MILLION dollars more to his own SuperPac, but that’s besides the point. Alford suggests that, in fact, without “coordination,” VitterPAC is beginning to coordinate a ticket of pro-Vitter candidates while simultaneously throwing off the “this is just a David Vitter shadow campaign” scent that is otherwise plain as day.
The full extent to VitterPAC’s nefarious plans is not yet known, perhaps even to the lawyers behind the thing. This is uncharted territory, and with more than a year to go before election day, there’s far more road to travel.
According to the political press, Bobby Jindal launched another one of his embarrassing broadsides against the awful “DC establishment,” calling for a “hostile takeover” of DC by enraged teahaddists.
Jindal is, as usual, intentionally misreading the popular sentiment. Yes, people hate DC. But not because it is too liberal, or too activist. But because it is terribly broken in the era of tea party politics.
However, here in Louisiana, there is a growing resentment brewing. The signals of a “hostile takeover” are much clearer. Where? Well, let’s just let David Vitter tell it:
Louisiana’s junior senator, who is assembling his 2015 campaign for governor, repeatedly said at a Press Club of Baton Rouge meeting that he was not criticizing Jindal or “here to grade anyone.”
He did take a couple of potshots at the governor, though.
If elected governor “This will be my last political job, elected or appointed, period,” he said.
Jindal often is criticized for what some interpret as trying to make points toward a run for president and spending too much time in states that have presidential primaries and caucuses, rather than taking care of the state’s needs.
“I’m not even running to gain a cameo appearance on ‘Duck Dynasty,’ as intensely jealous as I am about that,” Vitter joked, referring to Jindal’s recent appearance on the reality television show filmed near West Monroe.
Vitter said he wouldn’t exclude the possibility, as Jindal has, of accepting federal funds to expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover more of the working poor. Currently, 240,000 Louisiana residents make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not to qualify for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu calls it “the Jindal Gap” because Jindal refuses to accept the federal funds that would provide their health care.
Chas Roemer, a Republican and president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, told Bridges, “There’s been no interaction with the governor except through the press. I find it offensive. This is not a part-time job. This is not one that can be done from New York or Washington, D.C., or wherever his latest fundraiser is.” Roemer added he hadn’t met with Jindal in a year.
John White, Ed Reformer in chief and Jindal’s boytoy also hates Jindal these days:
John White, the state’s top education official, said Tuesday that educators deserve to know that Louisiana is committed to following through with its adoption of Common Core academic standards, taking an implicit swipe at lawmakers who have tried to derail implementation and Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is still threatening to do so.
Speaking to thousands of teachers gathered in New Orleans for a conference on the transition, White said, “You deserve clarity, you deserve a long-term plan, you deserve not to have standards and curriculum and assessments tossed about in the morning headlines like they can be changed with the waving of a magic wand.”
Treasurer John Kennedy is no fan either, as Jindal just vetoed his key legislative accomplishment:
I’m disappointed in the Governor’s veto of HB 142 allowing money to be wasted on frivolous contracts. We’ll be back next year. #LALege
— John Neely Kennedy (@JohnKennedyLA) June 20, 2014
Whomever runs for Governor in 2015 will be running against Bobby Jindal.
So, there is a revolution brewing. Not against DC. But against the tyrannical rule of Bobby Jindal, part-time Governor.
We’ve spoken before about the ruthless methods behind the David Vitter political money chutes seem to be remaking the political money game in Louisiana. But this innovation is radiating outward, now affecting political money nationwide.
Let’s set up the players, because this gets a little complicated.
1. David Vitter’s current Federal Senate Campaign account (this is the traditional, Federal account for which he raises and spends to get elected to the US Senate. (Latest filing showed $804k on hand)
2. The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, a SuperPAC organized as a “hybrid” to support David Vitter in both his State and Federal adventures. This arrangement was controversial to start, being as how Louisiana used to have rules about how much money a particular entity could raise from any donor for a particular race. We say “used to” because David Vitter’s buddies at the SuperPAC fixed that.
Anyway, Vitter’s campaign and the SuperPAC are “supposed” to be uncoordinated. It does seem like a joke, since the SuperPAC has a picture of Vittycent on their website. However, the rules state that they may SUPPORT a candidate, but just not work with that candidate directly as if the candidate controls them.
So in this case, Vitter is literally moving his current Federal campaign cash that he cannot spend on his Governor’s race into a hybrid SuperPAC that now has the ability to spend an unlimited amount to support him for Governor. Very, very slushy. The potential here for circumventing campaign finance rules here is extreme. Under this potential regime, any Federal candidate can launder their Federal cash back through a SuperPAC for any purpose at all, ignoring their state-level laws on campaign finance.
In Louisiana, that means David Vitter’s quest for a boatload of campaign cash for his Governor’s race is even further ahead than we thought. If you gave money to support David Vitter for Senate, he is now giving it to his buddies to spend it on his run for Governor.
You can see some of the donors in The Fund for Louisiana’s future April FEC filing.
Waiting to exhale? Great, go ahead and breathe. David Vitter’s SuperPAC (VitterPAC or the “Fund for Louisiana’s Future”) has successfully bulldogged a Federal judge to rule Louisiana’s STATE contribution limits are unconstitutional:
A New Orleans federal judge Friday barred Louisiana from enforcing its $100,000 limit on donations to a Super PAC formed by a lawyer who has said it will advocate for Sen. David Vitter’s 2015 gubernatorial campaign. Charles Spies, the Washington lawyer who founded the Fund for Louisiana’s Future (FFLF), praised the ruling Friday by District Court Judge Martin Feldman as an “important win for the right of political participation and First Amendment protections in Louisiana.”
To review, we’ve talked at length about how transparent and evil this whole VitterPAC thing is for Louisiana’s democracy. It’s the imposition of DC-style political money games on the gret stet in a way that we’ve never seen before. Now, they’ve gone as far as to attack and strike down Louisiana law to push through their unlimited money machine. Unleashing this PAC on Louisiana will change the game forever. If they’re successful, Louisiana’s elections will become as cynical and vapid as the national ones. SuperPAC bombers will hover on the airwaves dropping unlimited amounts of TV ads to influence voters in an unprecedented assault.
Worse, they’ll do it under the guise of “non-coordination,” like they’re just some good ole friends of David’s, acting on his behalf but not by his direction. As if it matters. All hail our new overlords, Governor SuperPAC!
“I’ll resign when every Louisiana politician that has admitted an extra-marital affair does the same.”
Mic drop. Automatic pimp status.
It don’t matter if the dali-fucking-lama asks this sucker to resign. Every time those hypocritical suckers at LAGOP open their mouth, ole Vance should get medieval on their ass.
Holla at ya boy.
By now, you’ve no doubt heard that Sinator David Vitter has nominated the Koch brothers as “most patriotic Americans ever.” A regular pair of George Washingtons, the Koch’s are basically waging war against Democrats all over the country, literally pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into “social welfare” and other IRS-protected groups which in turn air false and misleading ads. You can watch Vitter sing their praises here:
We’ll be carving the Kochs into Mt. Rushmore any day now, we assure you.
In a related, but somewhat separate note, David Vitter’s SuperPac (on which we’ve reported before) has gotten itself in a little hot water. In an attempt to roll out the red carpet for Vitter’s gubernatorial bid, VitterPAC has been challenging the Louisiana PAC contribution limit of $100,000 per entity as “unconstitutional” (CAUSE FREEDOM). Now, the PAC may have pushed too far:
Questions are surfacing about the operations of a super PAC formed by backers of U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
Two groups that advocate for campaign finance reform recently asked the Federal Elections Commission to look into the possible solicitation of illegal campaign contributions.
The groups are Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21. The complaint deals with The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, which was formed by Charles Spies, a lawyer from Washington, D.C. The fund is helping Vitter run for governor next year or a re-election bid or both.
Violating campaign laws even BEFORE you begin the campaign in earnest? That’s impressive, even for the Sinator and his pals.
Sure, we have at least two candidates that have actually declared their intention to run. But several others are circling, and so their names will be thrown into the hat for consideration by the pollsters and prognosticators. LaPolitics reports on such a speculative affair by Louisiana State Medical Society and PhRMA (big doc and big drugs). LET’S GO TO THE TOPLINES:
— Landrieu, 33 percent
— Vitter, 25 percent
— Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, 11 percent
— Treasurer John Kennedy, 9 percent
—State Rep. John Bel Edwards, so far the only major Democrat declared for the race, 8 percent.
And there you have it. Mitch Landrieu is out-polling David Vitter in this mock jungle primary. Yes, that’s worthy of a little bit of a “interesting,” even this many days out. With his sister on the ballot (and looking like she’ll be in a very tough race), Mitch Landrieu seems unaffected by those headwinds and benefits from a decisive victory in the New Orleans Mayor’s race. More from the poll:
f the election for US Senate were held today, and the choice was between (ROTATE) Bill Cassidy, the Republican candidate and Mary Landrieu, the Democratic candidate, who would you vote for?
Mary Landrieu 45- Bill Cassidy 44 [tightening from 53-39 in January]
In the race for Attorney General 2 Republicans may run, but no Democrats have announced yet. In this election would you vote for (ROTATE: Jeff Landry, a Republican candidate, Buddy Caldwell, a Republican candidate), (ALWAYS LAST:) or would you vote for the Democratic candidate?Jeff Landry, the Republican 15
Buddy Caldwell, the Republican 23
Generic Democrat 33