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Vitter SuperPacMan could change Louisiana politics, democracy

Written by  // Wednesday, 07 May 2014 12:20 //

PAC-MAN-VITTERLast Friday, U.S. District Court Martin Feldman ruled that the super PAC supporting David Vitter’s Gubernatorial campaign can raise an unlimited amount of money. The Fund for Louisiana’s Future sued the Louisiana Board of Ethics, who earlier this year refused to change the cap, saying it lacked jurisdiction to declare a state law unenforceable or unconstitutional. The ethics board has not yet decided whether or not they are going to appeal the decision. Read more.

Keywords: Vitter SuperPac, PacMan, Louisiana politics, democracy, Louisiana Board of Ethics, Louisiana governor, Martin Feldman, Spiess, Santorum, Gingrich, Dardenne

The impact of this decision was the topic of the discussion between Jeff Crouere and Stephen Sabludowsky. Below is a transcription. Please watch the video for the most accurate account.

Crouere: Steve, I want to make sure to get to this: the big news concerning David Vitter and the potential financing of his campaign for Governor. What happened?

Sabludowsky: Well, this past week, I think it was Thursday or Friday, the Federal District Court came up with a decision saying that his organization, the super PAC that has been put together by a gentleman from Washington D.C. named Spies for Vitter's state or federal run, would be able to have unlimited amounts of money contributions for the upcoming Governor's race. Those people who are in favor of David Vitter are probably elated. Those people who are for Jay Dardenne or maybe someone else are not very happy about it. To me, there's a much larger issue here that all of us should be very concerned about.

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Crouere: Well, tell us about that. What is the larger issue?

Sabludowsky: Basically, what is happening here, is that the 5,000 dollar limit that the state has imposed is deemed to be unconstitutional. So that means the candidates running for state office would be able to solicit unlimited amounts of money for their state run. We can pretty much kiss state rights goodbye as far as this decision is concerned. What really bothers me about this is that David Vitter - and I've mentioned this before - was a person that brought term limits to the state of Louisiana. The large component of term limits is taking the power from those who have been vested with power to give other people a chance. What this means is that somebody who wants to run for Governor or any other office really ought to go to Washington D.C. and become a Congressman or Senator or an employee for one of them; make those large federal contacts; and come down to Louisiana because you're going to have an unlimited amount of money coming in for your campaign. Last year, at least in 2012, the Jindal race was 12 million dollars. John Georges put down 10 million dollars for the run. What was reported was that Bollinger would be willing to put down 150,000 dollars for this campaign, for Vitter. I just don't see how anything like this...it's because of the Citizens United case.

 

Crouere: Are you talking about Boysie Bollinger of Bollinger Shipyards? You said 150,000 dollars; you mean 150 million?

Sabludowsky: No, 150,000. The cap is 5,000; so 150,000. That means that a doctor out of New Orleans who has a medical business also has already put down 200,000, and he and his wife are now going to pump more in.

Crouere: How much do you think this thing can raise for Vitter? Tens of millions?

Sabludowsky: Absolutely. Easily.  

Crouere: And he can use it all for his Governor's race?

Sabludowsky: Let me make a stipulation, and that is that he can't use it. It's not his money according to the law. The Judge says there's no proof that there has been any kind of control by the Vitter people of this PAC. So it's not his money. However, I don't believe that to be the case. I saw what happened - we all saw what happened - during the Presidential election and the super PAC money. The tying in between those major funders and the campaigns. It was a joke when the billionaire from Las Vegas ended up on the stage after pumping God knows how much money into Santorum's race. He ended up on stage with Santorum during a victory night in South Carolina, maybe. I forget where it was.

Crouere: He was a big funder of Gingrich. He wound up giving a lot of money to Romney in the end. Now he's just interviewing potential Republican candidates in 2016. He's going to be a power broker in this upcoming election.

Sabludowsky: So basically what it means, as far as I'm concerned, is that you can kiss democracy goodbye. It's not a question of one man, one vote anymore. Not this US Senate race, not the Louisiana Governor's election. You can do this for any election. Dog catcher. It's not about democracy anymore; it's about big money, big control. I think we all should be scared. It's not a Republican-Democrat thing.

 

Crouere: Look at New York. You had a billionaire, Bloomberg, who spend unlimited amount of money to get himself elected. We've had big money people with success sometimes, but also not success, like John Georges. He's not been able to win, even though he had oodles and oodles of money. Usually, the candidate with the most money wins, but not all the time, Steve.

Sabludowsky: Well, I understand. But if you're talking about a cap of 5,000 dollars and now unlimited amount of money. The money could very well come from outside of Louisiana. Are you saying that Louisiana voters therefore really don't have the type of rights that you would want them to have at the ballot?

Crouere: I'm saying this: you had a guy who tried to buy an election twice. He ran for Governor and Mayor, and he failed both times. You're not necessarily going to be able to buy the voters. I think Jay Dardenne still has a chance; I think you shouldn't write off anybody because of this. Is the decision going to be appealed? Is the whole case over now with the Judge's decision, or is it moving on? Are they appealing it?

Sabludowsky: I have not heard whether or not it's going to be appealed. Basically, the ethics board had said that they could not allow this money, this PAC, to be able to use the money. Now, it looks like the feds is saying that you have to. So whether or not the ethics board or anybody with standing would take the case up to the appellate court. We have to wait and see.

Crouere: How much money is in the PAC right now? Do we know?

Sabludowsky: I personally don't know. It could be 3-400,000 dollars. I don't know. What I do know is that it's an offensive way, as far as I'm concerned, for any one person to be able to receive unlimited amount of money from wherever for this campaign.

Crouere: So circumventing the limits that we have here in Louisiana for our donors through this PAC. And you think it's having a very unfortunate influence on our state elections which previously hasn’t been seen before.

Sabludowsky: Well, yeah.

Crouere: This is the first, right?

Sabludowsky: In Louisiana, yes, in modern times, as far as I know.

Crouere: Now some say that the limits, as far as state elections, are too stringent; that they need to be raised.

Sabludowsky: Okay. Maybe this would be a good motivation for people to raise those limits. I certainly believe in a level playing field. You better believe that, say, a Democrat running against somebody, is going to use the same amount of money. The Republicans were blasting Carolyn Fayard a few years ago because she had received money through the Democratic Party from her dad. So if you're complaining about influence, you have to complain about it across the board, not only when it's to your own benefit.

Crouere: I think a lot of people do not know what's going on here; haven't even seen the impact of this because the race hasn't really started; don't know if this is the final conclusion to this issue or not.  

Bayoubuzz Note:

 Stephen Sabludowsky made an error when relating Adelson with Santorum.  The major contributor to a Super PAC that directly benefited Santorum was Foster Friess.  Watch the video which shows Friess on the podium with Santorum after contributing millions into the PAC. 

Also, please read http://www.theguardian.com/world/us-news-blog/2012/feb/10/foster-friess-sugar-daddy-santorum 

Learn more about the Democrat and Republican Super PACS, amounts raised, their Louisiana focus and roots  http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/superpacs.php 

More about the Vitter SuperPac 
Judge rules in favor of pro-Vitter super PAC 

New Orleans Judge frees Vitter 

 

 

 

GNO Inc's Michael Hecht stokes New Orleans region rapid acceleration


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