More con-artists lobbyists.
The Louisiana Family Forum is the most powerful and successful lobbying organization in a state brimming with lobbyists and special interests, and Gene Mills, its President, is arguably Louisiana’s single most powerful registered lobbyist.
Mills would likely not dispute this characterization. In a recent video statement to supporters, he claimed that 2014 was his organization’s most successful year ever, boasting that, during a debate about a bill pertaining to surrogacy, he presented the bill’s author with a list of “non-negotiable” demands that “were required in order for his bill to move forward.”
“The author,” Mills said, “blocked nine of those ten repairs and found out that when the LFF says, ‘It’s not negotiable, well, it’s not negotiable.'”
“LFF blocked bad bills, advanced good ones, and amended dozens of others to remove their threats,” Mills said. (emphasis added).
Even though he has never been elected to public office, Mills talks…
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Louisiana has been atwitter about the topic of Medicaid Expansion for years now. Ever since the passage of Obamacare (and the subsequent Supreme Court decision making expansion optional), states throughout the country have been slowly coming around the idea that expanding Medicaid is a good idea.
This summer has been no exception. No fewer than 5 red states have been inquiring about how to submit to the horror that is the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion, including known liberal enclaves such as Wyoming and Tennessee.
A funny thing keeps happening though: As more states inquire, some of the places most in need of expansion continue to hold out. TPM explored this topic here:
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican powered to office in 2010 by the tea party wave, struck a deal with HHS last week to expand Medicaid. Indiana, led by Republican 2016 dark horse Gov. Mike Pence, is already negotiating with the administration on its own plan. Tennessee, a state like Wyoming where there’s no real Democratic threat to Republican dominance that would drive expansion talk, plans to submit a proposal for Medicaid expansion to HHS this fall.
Wyoming is perhaps the prototype for how Medicaid expansion might happen now that most of the easy states — either Democratic-led or with more moderate GOP leadership — have come around. It is a combination of selling conservative lawmakers on the financial benefits of expansion and crafting an alternative plan that is more palatable to conservative ideals in the 23 remaining states that have not yet accepted the expansion.
Yet, states most in need of the expansion seem to be holding pat. Where are these states? Why in the deep south, where the uninsured rate is among the highest in the nation:
A map of Medicaid expansion leaves out the five states that, at least by thestandard definition, comprise the Deep South. You can tack on two huge adjoining states — Florida and Texas — and go by the “original Confederate States” definition. Arkansas and Kentucky are the most Southern states so far to expand, and both are led by Democrats. GOP-led Tennessee is working on it.
In a June op-ed for Reuters, Lichtenstein used the South’s obstruction of Medicaid expansion as “Exhibit A” in his argument that the region was reverting to the “New South,” formerly the description of the period between the Civil War (or Reconstruction, more precisely) and civil rights.
“A ruling white caste (is) now putting in place policies likely to create a vast economic and social gap between most Southern states and those in the North, upper Midwest and Pacific region,” he wrote. “Of course, such regressive social policies… are supported by a fierce white partisanship.”
Among these deep south Governors fighting tooth-and-nail against Medicaid Expansion? Bobby Jindal, of course.
Oh, nothing to see here. Just a funny coincidence. States with historical racism are certainly not avoiding expansion just to withhold progress from lower-socioeconomic class minorities. Never.
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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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.
I’ll be honest. I don’t like you. I’ve never liked you. Maybe it’s your awkward folksiness or your generally amateurish disposition. It’s hard to say, really. I must admit, though, that when you were elected, I felt reasonably confident that you could handle the job. I thought to myself, “Well, he’s not my guy, but at least he’s smart and moderately competent.” Holy shit, was I wrong.
I realize you’re not as dumb as you pretend to be. My guess is that you decided at some point that intellectual integrity is a political liability. And maybe you’re right. Maybe everything about politics militates against intelligent discourse. Maybe, as a matter of strategy, it’s safer to do nothing and appear smart to stupid people than it is to actually lead. I honestly don’t know.
Exactly who is donating to Bobby Jindal’s 501(c)4 group? And why?
Last Friday, against the vehement and public urging of his own Attorney General and nearly one hundred of the nation’s most respected legal experts, Governor Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 469 into law. Quoting his press release (bold mine):
Governor Jindal said, “This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law. It further improves Louisiana’s legal environment by reducing unnecessary claims that burden businesses so that we can bring even more jobs to our state. The bill will also send future recovered dollars from CZMA litigation to coastal projects, allowing us to ensure Louisiana coastal lands are preserved and that our communities are protected.”
If you’re wondering who, exactly, the law benefits, all you need to do is keep reading Jindal’s press release, which contains this amazing confession. Quoting (again, bold and…
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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.
Yesterday, to the shock of many, the Senate Finance flippantly moved $4.5m in funding for disabled folks to a private auto track. Apparently, your outrage seemed to work, as the fund transfer was partially “cured”, although you’d be wrong to think that meant the millionaire wasn’t getting his $4.5m in free track improvements.
Not this Legislature. Not this State.
Instead, the Senate retained the little bonus for Laney Chouest’s NOLA Motorsports track, but instead made sure they found the extra money to make it up to the disabled folks.
You get to have your pie and eat it too!
Apparently, Senator Donahue, he of “The answer to your question, Sen. Claitor, is yes,” fame, had a lot of trouble reading the Jindal Administration script on the budget today in the chamber. Keen eyed observer CBForgotston was watching:
The Senate easily adopted the budget with nary a word of protest! It’s all good, says Emperor Jindal.
Who knows what other fun little giveaways lurk in the dark matter of the Legislative Budget.
The Louisiana Legislature is poised to take $4 million of your tax dollars away from supporting disabled Louisianians in order to give it to a corporate indycar event at a private racetrack owned by a multi-millionaire. That is not spin:
“We’re taking money away from the disabled community and giving it to motor sports?” Claitor asked during the committee meeting.
“The answer to your question, Sen. Claitor, is yes,” said Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, the committee’s chairman, in response.
After the meeting, Donahue said he was optimistic that more money could be found for services for people with disabilities as the budget advances through the legislative process. Money had to be put toward IndyCar, he said, because Jindal had promised $4.5 million in upgrades to NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale as part of the deal to lure the event to New Orleans.
NOLA Motorsports is owned by Laney Chouest, a multi-millionaire co-owner of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). He seems like a fine enough chap, one devoted to building a world class racetrack. Now, of course, he’s done it with his own fortune. Good for him. He even opened it to the public, so normal folks could go racing or go-karting around his prize.
But the idea that we need to pay for $4m in “track improvements” to “lure” a billion-dollar national racing league to New Orleans for a race almost no one cars about, INSTEAD of patching our meager budget for the disabled, is absolutely sick. Just because Jindal “promised” the billionaire owners he’d scoop some tax dollars up for them. Absolutely sick.
This combines the worst of crony-capitalism with the height of heartless Ayn Randism. Government giving money to a massive corporation for a playboy, rich-man’s sport instead of taking care of the disabled. This is your government. This is what they’re doing with your hard-earned dollars they collected in taxes. Blowing it on a private racetrack. You betcha.
Where is your tea party now?
Revelation at the Legislature today! (we know, too sad to watch most days, so what’s the point?)
Enjoyable quote here regarding two unassailable totems here in the gret stet.
LSU’s King Alexander: “We’re dangerously close to losing our accreditation in petroleum engineering.” LSU needs more faculty. #lalege
— Mike Hasten (@MikeHasten) May 19, 2014
Let’s break this all down.
LSU. Flagship university of our LSU FIGHTING TIGERS! DA DA-DA DAAAA!
Petroleum engineering! Lifeblood of industry that steers the tiller of the gret stet. You know, our blood! Black gold! The gret industry! Our saviors!
So, due to Bobby Jindal’s ridiculous war on college affordability and the basic function of higher education, LSU now is in danger of losing accreditation in one of the most important careers for our state. Trying to make it in this state? Guess what? Forget about growing our own petroleum engineers! Just keep rowing to the drumbeat. Nothing to see here.
Enjoy your slop, prols!