THE BOUSTANY/VITTER/GIULIANI POST-MORTEM ... One of Louisiana’s more bizarre political alliances is over before it had a chance to make it to the altar. In April 2007, The Independent Weekly chronicled the strange, early endorsements of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani by U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany and U.S. Sen. David Vitter. “Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control. Why are Louisiana conservatives Charles Boustany and David Vitter endorsing him for president, and will the state’s GOP base stand for it?” we asked.
The answer was pretty simple: Vitter and Boustany wanted to ride the former frontrunner’s coattails, and there were even rumblings that Vitter — before his prostitution scandal broke — was a possibility for a VP slot if Giuliani got the nomination. But now that Giuliani’s spectacular flameout is complete and he’s dropped out of the race, where do Boustany and Vitter turn now? Do they endorse current Republican frontrunner and favorite John McCain, whom Giuliani is now endorsing? (Boustany and Vitter did not return e-mail requests for comment.)
The Louisiana Republican legislators’ ill-fated Giuliani endorsement probably won’t matter much in the end for voters, but if the Republicans retain the White House, Vitter and Boustany won’t be at the front of the line for plum committee assignments and state dinners.
LANDRIEU, VITTER FACE OFF OVER U.S. ATTORNEY DUGAS ... It was all purple-and-gold warm fuzzies earlier this week when Louisiana Sens. David Vitter and Mary Landrieu introduced a Senate resolution honoring the LSU Tigers’ championship run. Since that important government business is now taken care of, they’ve returned to squabbling over President Bush’s nomination of U.S. Attorney David Dugas to the federal bench. Last October, Vitter and Landrieu traded sharp barbs over Dugas, exchanging icy letters. Some highlights, er, lowlights from Round 1:
Vitter: “I strongly believe that every judicial nominee deserves a fair and timely hearing and up-or-down vote. I believe this would be a new low of delay, obstructionism and partisanship regarding judges.”
Landrieu: “An important line exists between fighting the true obstacles to our recovery and seeking false controversy in hopes of grabbing headlines. I urge you to consider more constructive steps in moving past your recent political challenges.”
And now, Round 2. Vitter’s latest correspondence: “To continue to block this qualified nominee is nothing more than partisanship and obstructionism.” Landrieu spokesman Adam Sharp responded by telling The Advocate that Landrieu remains concerned over Dugas’ lack of intervention in a lawsuit investigating claims of insurance companies’ fraud in hurricane recovery claims. “She has not been actually convinced that [Dugas] acted in the constituents’ best interest,” Sharp said.
With it being an election year, expect the Vitter/Landrieu pen-pal follies to increase.
LANDRIEU CROSSES AISLE ON WIRETAPPING IMMUNITY FOR TELECOMS ... In between sparring with Vitter, Landrieu was one of only three Democrats to cross party lines last week and vote in favor of granting telecom companies retroactive immunity for their participation in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. “President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program represented a lack of judgment on the part of the Federal Government,” Landrieu said in a statement to The Independent Weekly. “Immediately after September 11th, many telecom companies thought they had no choice but to comply with the government’s request. They should not be punished for cooperating in a fight for our national security. I will fight for amendments to the legislation that examine the legality of the President’s wiretapping program and that strengthen the role of the FISA court.”
It appears her vote is a nod to conservatives in anticipation of her upcoming 2008 re-election battle against Republican John Kennedy and other possible challengers. However, it’s worth noting that telecoms have been generous contributors to Landrieu’s campaigns through the years. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Landrieu received $33,250 from telephone utilities in the 2000 election cycle, including $10,500 from BellSouth. In the 2003-2008 Senate election cycle, Comcast and CenturyTel’s political action committees clock in as two of Landrieu’s Top 20 campaign contributors.
WHO DAT MAKIN’ DEM LAWS? ... Special interests are chomping at the bit to figure out a strategy for this year’s legislative sessions, but with so many new faces in the House and Senate, it’s difficult to figure out who is holding the cards. “There’s a lot of issues in the upcoming special sessions we’re interested in, but as far as the regular session, we’re waiting to see what’s being floated and who the players are,” says former U.S. Rep. Chris John of Crowley, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.
Maybe that’s why folks around the Capitol are eager to see this year’s versions of the legislative guides that various groups put out every year. The tiny booklets feature not only headshots, but background info on all lawmakers. “Yeah, I think everyone is waiting on those,” John says.
As for political maneuvers, the loudest chatter coming out of last week’s Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras concerned John taking on Vitter in 2010 in a sequel to their 2004 battle. “I would certainly welcome a rematch,” John says. “But everything right now is about [Sen.] Mary [Landrieu] until we get through this election year. Very few people are even thinking about David right now.”
Contributors: Scott Jordan and Jeremy Alford
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Odell Beckham on the catch; chaos in Ferguson; snowstorm set to snarl travel and more national and international news for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.