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Louisiana politics: LOGA sues Caldwell, Maness dunks Landrieu, Cassidy, US back Demos

Written by  // Monday, 16 December 2013 11:15 //

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The political scene has plenty to discuss today as the oil and gas industry has filed suit against Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell, the Democratic Party (at least throughout the nation, but likely not in Louisiana) seem to support Democrats handling much of government, except for the all-important economy and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness has taken a shot against his competition Mary Landrieu and Bill Cassidy on the flood insurance disaster issue.

 


Louisiana Oil and Gas Files Suit Against Louisiana Attorney General

The Oil and Gas industry is fighting back against the lawsuit filed by the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, but this time, not against the authority itself but against the Louisiana State Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell.

Below is a press release from LOGA:
The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Friday filed suit in the 19th Judicial District Court against Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell over the state’s lead attorney’s authority to approve the contingency fee contract between the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East and the firm of Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, LLC.

“LOGA believes the process by which the contract was approved violates the law. The Attorney General acted outside his authority in allowing the board to hire these attorneys. The resolution is vague and does not provide sufficient information to establish a ‘real necessity’ for the hire. Finally, the Constitution requires that any funds from such a judgment must be received by the state treasury, not the board itself,” said LOGA President Don Briggs. “This lawsuit attempts to correct those violations of law and reverse the Attorney General’s approval of that resolution.”

In July, JSHG filed suit on behalf of SLFPA-E against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies. The suit sought the repair of damages to the state’s wetlands, including land loss, erosion and saltwater intrusion, allegedly caused by activity and operations of the energy companies. Prior to filing suit, the SLFPA-E board adopted a resolution authorizing the authority to enter into a contingency fee contract with JSHG and set a range for compensation of 32.5 percent to 22.5 percent of any amount recovered in the lawsuit. Since SLFPA-E was legislatively created and is considered to be a political subdivision of the state, the resolution was sent to and approved by the state’s Attorney General. In an August letter to the Attorney General on LOGA’s behalf, the law firm Mahtook & Lafleur, LLC requested that Caldwell withdraw approval of the resolution approving the contingency fee contract in question. The suit, filed by LOGA in response to the Attorney General’s failure to withdraw approval of the resolution, seeks declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.

“Our members collectively believe that, as the state’s head lawyer, Attorney General Caldwell is responsible for directly hiring and compensating special counsel, rendering his signoff of hiring and compensating counsel by the SLFPA-E board improper,” Briggs said. “Caldwell acted outside his authority in approving the resolution. The law expressly names the Attorney General as counsel for that specific levee board, and the Legislature has never granted any authority to the board to hire its own counsel.”

Louisiana statute specifies that, should the state’s Attorney General and his assistants be unable to represent a political subdivision of the state, the Attorney General would directly hire special counsel on a hourly, rather than contingency fee, basis.
The LOGA suit also alleges the authorizing resolution is vague and does not provide sufficient information to establish the “real necessity” for hiring special counsel, exact hourly rates to be considered for compensation or specific types of damages sought in the SLFPA-E suit. The LOGA suit also asserts the receipt of damages by SLFPA-E would be unconstitutional, as the funds should be received by the state treasury and then legislatively appropriated to flood protection authorities dependant on the project-specific restoration or remediation that may be awarded by the court. Many of the specific areas requiring restoration or remediation in the SLFPA-E suit are projects for which SLFPA-E does not bear the entire cost, but for which the state and flood protection authorities share costs.

For more information on the LOGA and SLFPA-E lawsuits, including reports and documents, please visit:http://loga.la/resources/southeast-flood-protection-authority-lawsuit/.

Lunchtime Politics: The Parties

According to a survey of polls provided by Clarus today, the Democrats and Republicans have somewhat of a mixed-score. The Democrats clearly score better than the GOP on managing most of the country's issue such as healthcare, gun violence, domestic matters, but the GOP scores better on the economy. The Democrats are also viewed better on being willing to negotiate.

HANDLING ISSUES*
(among adults nationwide)

"When it comes to [see below], which party do you think would do a better job: the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or both about the same? If you think that neither would do a good job, please just say so."

Showing compassion and concern for people
Democratic Party 45%
Republican Party 17%
About the same 16%
Neither 20%

Being willing to work with the other party to pass needed legislation
Democratic Party 31%
Republican Party 19%
About the same 18%
Neither 30%

Having new ideas to solve problems
Democratic Party 29%
Republican Party 21%
About the same 20%
Neither 28%

Reducing gun violence
Democratic Party 29%
Republican Party 22%
About the same 18%
Neither 26%

Dealing with health care
Democratic Party 36%
Republican Party 30%
About the same 10%
Neither 22%

Dealing with immigration
Democratic Party 31%
Republican Party 26%
About the same 16%
Neither 21%

Changing how things work in Washington
Democratic Party 20%
Republican Party 20%
About the same 18%
Neither 39%

Dealing with the economy
Democratic Party 26%
Republican Party 36%
About the same 17%
Neither 19%

CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS**
(among adults nationwide)

"Thinking about next year's Congressional elections, do you think the Republican Party will do better, worse, or about the same as it has in recent elections?"

Better 55%
Worse 5%
About the same 33%
Don't know/refused (vol.) 7%

"Thinking about next year's Congressional elections, do you think the Democratic Party will do better, worse, or about the same as it has in recent elections?"

Better 43%
Worse 9%
About the same 43%
Don't know/refused (vol.) 6%

JOB IMPORTANCE***
(among adults nationwide)

"How important is each of these things to you personally? Is this extremely important, very important, somewhat important, of not too important?"

Having a high-paying job
Extremely important 18%
Very important 37%
Somewhat important 35%
Not too important 8%

Having job security
Extremely important 35%
Very important 51%
Somewhat important 9%
Not too important 3%

Being able to take time off for family or child care needs
Extremely important 33%
Very important 49%
Somewhat important 12%
Not too important 3%
Not at all important (vol.) 1%
Does not apply (vol.) 2%
Don't know/refused *

Having a job you enjoy doing
Extremely important 43%
Very important 46%
Somewhat important 9%
Not too important 1%
Not at all important (vol.) 0
Does not apply (vol.) *
Don't know/refused 1%

Having a job that offers good benefits
Extremely important 33%
Very important 49%
Somewhat important 13%
Not too important 3%

Having opportunities for promotions or advancement
Extremely important 23%
Very important 43%
Somewhat important 24%
Not too important 7%

Having a job that helps society
Extremely important 22%
Very important 44%
Somewhat important 26%
Not too important 7%

Sources

Presidential job rating average based on the three most recently reported nationwide polls.
* NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4-8
** Pew Research Center, Dec. 3-8
*** Pew Research Center, Oct. 7-27

D poll = conducted by organization generally associated with Democrats
R poll = conducted by organization generally associated with Republicans

Maness and Flood Insurance

Tea-Party favorite, Rob Maness has taken a shot at both Democratic US Senator Mary Landrieu and her GOP challenger, on the issue of the flood insurance disaster facing Louisiana:

As the House of Representatives adjourned for the year without taking action on a proposal to delay implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act and the Senate killed a similar bill, U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (R-LA) issued the following statement:

Like many of you, I have watched the political machinations, posturing and maneuvering by Washington politicians as the attempt to fix/delay/postpone the consequences impacting Louisiana homeowners and business owners due to the disastrous Biggert-Waters Act.

It is estimated that over 100,000 and as many as 500,000 Louisiana property-owners will see their flood insurance increased to unaffordable rates that will force them from their homes and make their properties unsellable and worthless.

The problem is, Washington can't fix a problem that it created.

Every member of the Louisiana Congressional delegation voted for Biggert-Waters, knowing there were problems with the law. As with ObamaCare, many members of Congress thought they could pass the bill as it was written and fix it later.

Remember Nancy Pelosi's comment about ObamaCare, "We need to pass the law so we know what's in it"? Just as Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra said, "It's déjà vu all over again," but this time it's flood insurance and our homes.

While Sen. Landrieu is now trying to backtrack and get a two- or four-year delay to a law that she herself promoted and approved, and Congressman Cassidy has offered a three-month delay, our elected officials ignore the obvious: We need a permanent fix to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Delaying the implementation and kicking the can down the road, as Sen. Landrieu and Congressman Cassidy propose, does nothing to address the problems of a big government program that has outlived its usefulness.

Americans, and in particular Louisianans, have seen time and time again that we cannot depend upon the Federal government to provide a solution to natural and, in the case of Katrina, manmade disasters; nor can the Federal government continue to subsidize a program that increases insurance company profits and fills the coffers of offshore reinsurance companies in Europe and the Caribbean at the expense of American citizens.

We need to address a permanent solution that includes free market options that are affordable for our citizens.

In the coming months, I hope to refocus the debate away from short-term solutions offered by Washington insiders like Sen. Landrieu and Congressman Cassidy to real solutions that will directly benefit Louisiana residents and their pocketbooks, and help them stay in their homes.

Until politicians like Sen. Landrieu and Congressman Cassidy stop the mentality of passing temporary fixes that future leaders will have to address - and future generations of citizens will have to endure - we will never get the government that we deserve.

(Photo: Rob Maness)