The question of who has the most money on hand is foremost in many people's minds, but lots of other interesting tidbits in the reports frequently go unreported. For instance, candidates can use their campaign money to give to charities and churches; such donations offer a glimpse into their character or beliefs. The reports also show how they're spending contributions and who is getting the money, whether it's buying advertisements or Sunday brunch for supporters.
Despite her low standing in the polls, Gov. Kathleen Blanco reported more than $3 million in the bank, more than any other candidate. It's a dubious achievement when one considers that Blanco, a Democrat, has been running for re-election since she was first elected in 2003. Then again, she shut down her fundraising efforts for almost a year after Hurricane Katrina.
Lafayette residents and businesses gave Blanco $143,000 last year. New Orleans residents and businesses gave Blanco $130,550 last year, but she doesn't hold the tiara for most cash collected from the Crescent City. That honor belongs to Bobby Jindal, the Republican wunderkind she beat in 2003 ' mostly because of the huge vote she got in â?¦ New Orleans.
Among Blanco's donors is former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, who coughed up $5,000. Also a Democrat, Breaux reportedly has been considering a run for governor himself ' if Blanco does not run ' a dichotomy that is making for serious political gossip and speculation in closed-door party meetings. Breaux flirted with a run for governor before, but demurred. This time he is rumored to be genuinely interested in the race, provided Blanco does not run.
Blanco spent more than $370,000 in 2006, dropping $11,000 on public opinion polls and $82,000 on radio advertisements. She is known to oppose any expansion of legalized gambling in Louisiana, but she nonetheless shelled out $130.83 for "accommodations" at Sam's Town in Shreveport and the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City.
In the political realm, Blanco made only one contribution of $5,000 ' to Dale Atkins, clerk of Orleans Parish Civil District Court and a longtime close friend of the governor. As for her favorite charities, Blanco, an Acadiana native, donated to the following causes: 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, $1,500; NAACP Baton Rouge, $1,000; Louisiana Governor's Mansion Foundation, $3,750; Lafayette Bishops' Charity Gala, $200; Cerebral Palsy of Louisiana, $100; Plantation Elementary in Lafayette, $100.
Congressman Bobby Jindal of Kenner, a Republican, isn't far behind Blanco with $2.6 million in his campaign war chest, far exceeding the $1 million goal he had set for himself. Nearly all of individual contributors came from Louisiana, and donors from New Orleans sent more money to him than any other candidate ' $244,090. Only $7,000 raised by Jindal last year came from political action committees, which is a meager sum for a Beltway star like Jindal. If he needs them, PACS will be a source that Jindal can tap at any time.
Jindal spent only $22,000 last year, including $12,000 for a mailout in late December. His federal campaign finance report, however, shows that he spent more than $2.3 million on his congressional re-election, even though he was facing only token opposition. Jindal toured every area of the state and advertised in markets that barely touch his congressional district. It was a convenient ' and cost-efficient ' way to spend federal campaign dollars keeping his mug in front of voters in the most populous parts of the state.
One distinction of Jindal's gubernatorial report is a $9,000 payment to the Washington-based Aristotle International Inc., a company that compiles and sells voter information lists, for handling his online donations. Raising money through the Internet is still a novelty in Louisiana, but Jindal may break the mold. His 2006 donations report is littered with hundreds of $10 and $25 donations, the nominal amounts suggested on his Web site.
When it comes to in-kind contributions, Jindal leads the pack. Former Gov. Mike Foster, a Republican who helped Jindal cut his teeth in politics, gave $800 worth of food and beverages for a fundraiser on Pecan Island. Murphy J. Foster III, the former governor's son, gave Jindal use of his private jet at a fair market value of $1,200.
But it's the free rooms that Jindal seems to like the most. He lists more than any other candidate. From the Marriott Courtyard in Monroe to the Super 8 in Lake Charles, Jindal reported at least 19 individual-night stays for a value of roughly $3,542.
W. Gilbert Stroud, Jr., of Metairie is the most important donor to the campaign of New Orleans businessman John Georges, a Republican. Maybe that's because Stroud is the only one who gave in 2006. However, his $250 donation did bring Georges' campaign fund to slightly above $2 million. No, it's not funny math. Georges, the longtime owner of Imperial Trading Company in Harahan, has already dumped $2 million of his own cash into the campaign. He could easily come up with more. Imperial did $500 million in sales last year, and Georges owns interests in a number of companies, including a business that distributes video poker machines.
Sen. Walter Boasso, a Republican from Arabi, is in the same boat, financially speaking. He has only 22 contributions listed in his most recent report ' nearly $16,000 ' and almost all of it from special interests. But Boasso is also independently wealthy and admittedly hasn't even started fundraising yet. He did formally announce, however.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Shreveport native and former member of the state Senate, is the Democratic dark horse in the race. His populist message might resonate among voters long fatigued from the state's slow recovery, but he'll have to raise more money than the $577,000 he reported last month to get his message out. Recently, he told reporters his total is nearly $750,000 now. Shreveport gave the bulk of Campbell's individual donations ($82,700).
Expenditures show that Campbell has been seriously exploring the race since July, when he paid the Florida-based Kitchens Group $15,000 for polling. The next month he donated $1,700 to Congressman Charlie Melancon, a fellow Democrat from Napoleonville, as well as $500 to Gonzales state Sen. Jody Amedee and $250 to Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman's campaign. And, in an effort possibly to ward off conflicts between tailgating and campaigning, Campbell's campaign committee paid $1,112 for LSU season football tickets.
No reports were filed by announced independent candidates Anthony "Tony G" Gentile and T. Lee Horn.
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.