HEEE’S BACK ... If you thought Patrick LeBlanc was going to quietly go back to running his private prison empire after fellow Republican Page Cortez beat him in last autumn’s District 43 state representative race, think again. Early last month, LeBlanc mailed out a five-page survey to “concerned citizens” in Lafayette Parish. The voluntary survey asks respondents their opinions on a variety of national and local political issues, including potential future challengers for City-Parish President Joey Durel, District Attorney Mike Harson, Sheriff Mike Neustrom, Clerk of Court Louis Perret and state Sen. Mike Michot. It’s clear that even if LeBlanc decides not to make another run for public office, he intends to work behind the scenes to potentially influence future elections.
The kicker? LeBlanc’s note that the survey results will be published in Acadiana Gazette. LeBlanc and Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee member Ron Gomez — one of LeBlanc’s biggest supporters in the District 43 battle against Cortez — are now respectively the CEO and publisher of the small community newspaper distributed in Youngsville, Broussard and Lafayette. It’s no secret that LeBlanc and Gomez aren’t fans of Michot and independent state Rep. Joel Robideaux, whose political action committee Leadership for Louisiana hit LeBlanc hard for his company’s involvement in the Texas prison scandal that recently landed former Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez’s campaign manager a 10-year prison sentence. Patrick LeBlanc has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing related to the case but is currently still under investigation by the FBI.
The big question regarding LeBlanc and Gomez’s new involvement with Acadiana Gazette is whether the paper’s political coverage — if there is any — will become a bully pulpit for its top brass.
BOUSTANY TO INHERIT MCCRERY’S LEADERSHIP PAC ... Second-term U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s stock is on the rise with the pending departure of the state’s two more senior Republican Congressmen. Both Richard Baker of Baton Rouge and Jim McCrery of Shreveport are stepping down from their Congressional seats this year to move into private sector jobs. The Shreveport Times reports that McCrery plans to bestow his leadership Political Action Committee, called the Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism, to Boustany. Leadership PACs are set up by senior congressmen to both raise money and then filter funds to other congressional colleagues and organizations, helping the congressman to boost his stature in party ranks. “I’m going to make [Boustany] as senior as he can be,” McCrery told the Shreveport newspaper. “It will give him a head start at leadership.”
According to reports from the Federal Elections Commission, The Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism raised about $624,000 and spent about $616,000 in 2007. It currently has approximately $368,000 funds on hand. Its contributions have come from a wide variety of industry lobbying groups, with some of the heaviest donations coming in from drug manufacturers as well as physician and other medical industry groups.
JINDAL, LANDRIEU PUSH FOR NEW ORLEANS PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ... Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu have asked the top four presidential contenders to debate in New Orleans this summer. A joint letter sent to Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama asks the candidates to attend “a Town Hall meeting” in June and assures them that “New Orleans is open and ready for business.” The letter reads in part:
“We believe that it is incumbent upon national figures and those who seek the office of the presidency in particular to shine the national spotlight on the people and places in our country which deserve to be highlighted. The people of the Gulf Coast continue to recover and rebuild from the devastating storms of 2005 and those efforts are an incredible window into the many challenges facing not just New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, but our entire country.”
In November, the commission on presidential debates passed over New Orleans as a site for debates, claiming that the city didn’t measure up. The Times-Picayune called the decision “a shameful rebuff” and The New York Times wrote that “a disservice has been done to the electorate and the nation.” The letter also adds: “As you know, the presidential Debate Commission did not select New Orleans as one of their official sites. This was a terrible misjudgment and their reasoning that the city was somehow not ready to host a large scale event was flat wrong.”
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Nathan Stubbs and R. Reese Fuller
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.