Thursday, 24 March 2016 09:15
John Bel Edwards, Louisiana legislators continue to play to same boss, contributors
Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

louisiana legislatureWho cares about any budget crisis in Louisiana?  After all, it’s important that the Bayou State’s new governor and legislature set priorities.  And they apparently have.  They were not able to balance the state budget in a recent special session.  But many lawmakers were quite busy raising campaign dollars for future elections and other political activities.

When these officials were running for office, the state capitol was pictured as nothing but a cesspool of special interests gaining particular favors and tax breaks at the public’s expense.  But once in office, the cesspool apparently has been turned into a hot tub where legislators are wined and dined, and the campaign dollars abundantly flow. 

Although in office for two months, 42 legislators have held fundraisers during the recent special session.  The president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Don Briggs, was quoted in the Advocate recently saying:  “We approach them. They approach us.  There is not a legislator over there that doesn’t have fundraisers.”  So it’s politics, as usual, at the state capitol.

Louisiana’s new governor is not above the fray in raking up the campaign cash, particularly from his opponents.  Gov. John Bel Edwards was blistered in criticism when he was campaigning this past fall by oil and gas, chemical industry, LABI and various other business interests.  But once in office, the new governor made no bones about why he was calling on his adversaries to cough up campaign funds.  “They opposed me last year, and I’m governor this year,” he was quoted as saying.  So to be in the political mix, the governor seems to be saying that you have to “pay to play.”

More than one half of current legislators were elected without any opposition.  And all of them had a significant campaign war chest built up.  It’s no secret that in the overwhelming majority of elections held in Louisiana, there are three key elements in getting elected. The first is lots of campaign dollars. The second is more campaign dollars. And I’ve forgotten the third.

Louisiana regularly ranks as the most expensive state for campaign spending per capita, in the nation. Out-of-state corporate and special interest money regularly floods into the campaign coffers of Louisiana candidates. In his bid for reelection four years ago, former Gov. Bobby Jindal had more contributions from outside Louisiana then from within. One might wonder why almost 1000 California contributors were so interested in Louisiana issues.

There is a simple and constitutional way to keep Louisiana elected officials focused on Louisiana issues. A candidate for public office should only raise campaign funds in the district from where he or she is running.  If a candidate is running statewide, he or she should raise all their financial resources within the state.  If a candidate is running parish wide, the limits should be within the home district.  Legislators would be limited to raising campaign dollars from within their respective districts.  Simple.  Keep fund raising local.  Make the candidates focus and be responsive solely to the voters in the boundaries that put them in office.

To be sure, there would be loud protests from lobbyists who hand out the campaign dollars to gain their “special access.”  And incumbents, who can work the system from day one in office, would object at having to forgo all the many out-of-district fund raising

opportunities.  The voters would be the beneficiaries.  But don’t count on any groundswell of change. 

The recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision was touted as a catalyst for major campaign changes.  But as long as out of state money floods into any state, it’s going to be the same old, same old in both Baton Rouge and Washington.  Remember the 1960s song by The Who called “Won’t be Fooled Again?”  There’s a line that goes:  “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  The more there is talk of change at the state capitol, the more it would seem to stay the same.


People used to complain that selling a campaign was like selling a bar of soap. But when you buy soap, at least you get the soap. In this campaign, you just get two guys telling you they really value cleanliness. — David Brooks

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at  You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

Jim Brown

Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.  

Login to post comments
Powered By JFBConnect
  • Comey's Russia testimony was bad omen for Trump
  • Contenders to succeed N. Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, at starting gate
  • JBE spending governance leads to Louisiana's lower credit ratings
  • Will distorting RussiaGate backfire on Trump and Company?

watergateEven the Russians are talking about the impeachment of Donald Trump. The L.A. Times reported on Monday, March 20, 2017, “Sergei Markov, a Moscow-based political analyst and a former lawmaker with the ruling United Russia party, claimed the hearings into Russian meddling in the 2016 election are ‘related to an attempt to impeach Trump.’”

Read More

mike johnson2by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net
Saturday is election day
    The race for the District 8 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives highlights election day this Saturday, March 25.
    It is a special election called to fill the seat of Rep. Mike Johnson, who was elected to Congress.  The winner will serve out the remainder of his term.

Read More

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Louisiana has endured adverse credit rating changes since edwards midDemocrat Gov. John Bel Edwards assumed office, completing a downgrade trifecta last week.

Read More

backgunThe post-mortem on the Donald Trump-Comey-House Intelligence Hearing Monday continues.

On the extreme right, from the jowls of someone who knows a thing or two about investigations against a President, Pat Buchannan, there is still “nothing there, there”.


Read More

BB Menu



Trump Talk: Ryancare, Russia, Investigations, Travel ban--with Jeff Crouere

Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1