During the most recent reporting period, state Sen. Walter Boasso, a Democrat from Chalmette, spent almost $1.6 million; Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, the race's other Democrat from Bossier Parish, shelled out a meager $466,000; Metairie businessman John Georges, the Republican-turned-independent, ponied up a staggered $4.8 million; and GOP Congressman Bobby Jindal of Kenner spent about $1 million.
If you want to know what separates Jindal, the clear frontrunner, from the rest of the pack ' despite his relatively low spending total ' just consider where more than a quarter of his money went. Jindal's expenditure report reads like a breakdown of the old-time Democratic Get Out the Vote machines, with dozens of names of volunteers being paid everything from $50 to $1,000 for work. There are also a slew of salaried campaign workers. In all, Jindal cut 339 individual checks from April to July totaling more than $270,500 to staff and volunteers, far more than any other candidate in the race.
In addition to ways to win, spending also sheds a light on behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Boasso caused a massive political tsunami to take form earlier this year when he dropped the GOP banner to run for governor as a Democrat ' a no-brainer considering state Republicans were already married to Jindal. Just weeks after switching, Boasso's report shows he offered an olive branch to the Legislative Black Caucus Foundation in the form of a $1,000 donation paid for with campaign contributions, or his own cash, which is largely fueling the campaign. He also purchased $2,000 worth of tickets for a Democratic Party fundraiser.
Noticeably absent from Boasso's expenditures following the turncoat, though, are payments to James Hartman of Covington for "consulting services." That's because Hartman jumped ship and is now showing up on Georges' reports as press secretary ' making about $5,000 monthly, or roughly $500 less than what Boasso was paying.
The people and firms candidates surround themselves with are normally scrutinized for any potential conflict, as evidenced by Jindal, who has unarguably been running for governor for four years. He spent about $108,000 with OnMessage of Virginia, a firm that oversaw the national party's $20 million spending plan to elect President Bush in 2004. The Alexandria-based company is known for its snappy ads that build upon a Republican brand, which is a perfect fit for Jindal. He has likewise paid out $10,600 to GCR in New Orleans, an election-consulting firm that ironically helped Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, top Jindal in 2003.
Boasso, meanwhile, has placed $14,000 on the usually-stoic advice of New York's own Arthur J. Finkelstein, a secretive op who has advised uber-conservatives like late President Richard Nixon and former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. Hildebrand Tewes, the Democratic firm behind the rapid rise to fame of presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, is also on the Boasso train, although carrying a bit more luggage (a top exec was recently canned for embezzling $100,000).
Georges decided to keep it local for at least one of his PR consultants, and it's a name most in New Orleans will likely know. Danae Columbus and Associates was paid $3,000 by the Georges campaign during the reporting period. Before Columbus joined up, she lost her communications contract with the New Orleans City Council in December after publicly using a racially offensive term when referring to a set of light fixtures in the council chambers, according to coverage by The Times-Picayune.
No matter who is hired, campaigns are costly, or at least as costly as the candidates make them. Campbell, for instance, spent $10,600 on those pesky, wire-framed yard signs alone. Boasso paid $14,700 for "campaign t-shirts" from the South Carolina-based Lisella Public Affairs, a highly-regarded GOP outfit. Campbell, however, probably had the most fun spending his campaign contributions ' $198 on LSU football season tickets and $320 on individual tickets.
Of course, all of these expenditures just scratch the surface; they certainly don't add up to $8 million. But the sweetest of all expenditures are referred to as in-kind, meaning contributions of goods or services at no charge or less than fair market value. In short, free stuff. No other candidate is more skilled at this perk than Jindal. He was comped $9,000 worth of rental charges for his different headquarters around the state, including Lake Charles, Shreveport, New Iberia, Metairie and Mandeville. He has also benefited from more than $4,100 worth of free hotel rooms, from Holiday Inns to Courtyard Marriotts, proving that voters aren't only bolstering Jindal early in the polls, but they're also willing to leave the light on for him.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 22, 2014:
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand:
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.