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.
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.