WITH COMMON CORE BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT. WITH RACE TO THE TOP BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT. A PATTERN
By Robert Mann
If there was ever a politically motivated, frivolous lawsuit, it would be the thinly veiled campaign document that Gov. Bobby Jindal filed in federal court on Wednesday, alleging that the federal government coerced states like Louisiana to participate in Common Core.
In his suit, Jindal seems to say that he and other governors were forced by President Obama to apply for federal funds and join a national consortium, all of which supported the implementation of the Common Core standards in their states.
“In short, through regulatory and rule making authority, Defendants [the federal government] have constructed a scheme that effectively forces States down a path toward a national curriculum by requiring, as a condition of funding under the President’s Race to the Top programs, that States join ‘consortia of states’ and agree to adopt a common set of content standards and to implement the assessment protocols and policies created by that consortium, all under…
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Student performance in Louisiana is dropping rapidly. The decline started just about the time John White became superintendent of Education and has accelerated rapidly with the introduction of Common Core in Louisiana schools. Based on a sample analysis of the very meager data LDOE finally released under threat of lawsuit it is clear that not only is student performance not increasing or staying steady, it Is in fact declining, and being masked by a lowering of the number of correct answers required to pass LEAP and iLEAP tests. Please refer to this post by Mike Deshotels and the analysis provided by Herb Bassett for the details. Below is an excerpt from Mike’s blog.
Here is the table supplied by the LDOE as a result of my public records request:
Notice that for 4th grade ELA, 4th grade Math, and 8th grade Math, there was a significant lowering of the…
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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.