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Cassidy v. Landrieu race: Anatomy of dirty campaign tricks
Written by  // Monday, 01 December 2014 14:09 //

guilloryTalk about dirty tricks.

Last week, two Louisiana blogs questioned $50,000 that Congressman and doctor Bill Cassidy received for part-time work he was supposed to perform for LSUHC while he was working full-time as a US Congressman for Louisiana.

 After looking at the records that were presented on the blogs, I came to the conclusion that there is an issue presented by the bloggers.  I believe the Congressman should produce his own records to show that he did perform the work and the sooner he does so, the better it would be for him.

Do I believe that Cassidy performed the work that he negotiated and that was approved by the US House of Representatives?  Yes.  I do.  I would find it hard to believe that a medical doctor-congressman would defraud the US government and the State of Louisiana. 

However, I do have questions and I believe those questions are legitimate.  The post-dated time sheets that are available show identical recordings of services.  (See part of the October time sheet which indicates that all of the characteristics of the services were the same each week)cassidy-records1

cassidy-records2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The work performed from January 2013 through March 2014 is virtually identical in every respect, monthly timesheet after monthly timesheet.

I find this type of notation very  worthless  to someone auditing his services as it provides no particularity that one would expect  from a medical doctor handling cases dealing with Medicare and/or Medicaid or any type of service.   I doubt that any attorney, CPA or professional would submit this type of record for payment for services rendered.

 Some of the time sheets show work he said he performed on days he was in session in Washington DC.   LSU claims many of his records are lost.   The records that do exist specify the amount of work he was supposed to do for the roughly 20,000 plus benefits such as payment of medical malpractice insurance and continuing medical education.  The correspondences between LSU officials and him outline that he would perform 30 hours per week.  The number of hours per week he told the US House of Representatives was sixteen hours-- which it approved.

 Recently, when the media began to investigate the matter, Cassidy told ABC he ““I don’t earn more money by recording hours, I am on salary,” Cassidy told ABC News. “All I am trying to do is let LSU know what I am doing, I get the same no matter what I do.”.

Yet, the LSU authorities were quite concerned about the services to be rendered and the recording of those services:

From the TheInd which summarized the orginal story from the American Zombie:

According to correspondence between Cassidy and his colleagues, his new role at LSU-HSC would still require a commitment of approximately 30 hours a month in order to ensure that his compensation was proportionate to the reduction of his base salary. In an e-mail dated January 30, 2009, Ronnie Smith, LSU-HSC’s Vice Chancellor, writes, “(Cassidy’s) effort should be documented and monitored and appropriate adjustments to percent of effort made, if needed, in a timely manner.” Smith was not the only person who realized, early on, that the unusual arrangement with a sitting U.S. congressman could be problematic.

On March 25, 2009, William Livings, LSU-HSC’s business manager, asked his colleagues to define Cassidy’s specific duties and responsibilities. “I could make up some semblance of what I think his duties could be,” Livings writes, “but, in this case, given his status as a U.S. Congressman, I think it would be prudent from our perspective to know what it is y’all expect from him for his one day per week (20%). Is he to provide simple clinic services, GI services, endoscopies, HIV services, etc.? What happens to his clinical trials? Is he to provide services at the private clinic? I wouldn’t think so given that I can’t reimburse him for those services anyway since those collections/payments would put him over the $25,000 and auditors are going to want to know exactly what it is he is doing for us (EKLMC; LSUHSC) for the $20,000 base pay we give him annually. We are going to have to spell out exactly what it is he does for us for his renumeration from us. Believe me, this scenario will be a very auditable item and I feel they will really hone in on this situation to make sure we are meeting all federal and state regulations.”

Cassidy represented himself to the House Committee as an “Associate Professor of Medicine, Teaching, and Research” and had claimed that his position “involves lecturing and teaching medical residents and students as they treat patients, as well as supervising research projects.” But more than a year before the House Committee granted approval, in an e-mail dated Jan. 29, 2009, Cassidy acknowledged the concerns that his responsibilities had almost nothing to do with teaching.

“Ronnie (Smith) has been concerned in the past that the clinical activities have to involve teaching in order to justify application of the dual employment exception,” Cassidy writes. “The statue, as I recall, gives exceptions to teachers and to doctors working in the Charity Hospital System. The latter exception stands alone, without reference to teaching. I have not reviewed recently but I did look at this carefully when I entered the State legislature. If necessary, I can look for (it) again. I am told that when the new North Baton Rouge Clinic building opens, that it will be possible to move hepatitis clinic to a Monday. At this time, I can staff this clinic fairly regularly and that will be teaching.” Cassidy applied a Louisiana state statute that allows part-time elected officials to also work, in a full-time capacity, as physicians in the charity system, and obviously, he hoped to stretch the definition of the word “teaching” as much as possible.

Earlier in the same e-mail, Cassidy describes, exactly, what his responsibilities were. “I am spending approx 5 hours to 10 hours a week on LSUHSC activity. This includes clinical activity at Angola, private practice, discussing research issues and patient care issues with my research coordinator and nurse residents, speaking to residents and taking Internet courses in research ethics required by the IRB. The latter has or will require approx 4 hours of Internet time. I must complete it in order to continue to review our ongoing studies.”

The next day, Ronnie Smith wrote Cassidy back. “Based on the information below (from 5-10 hours/week which would suggest roughly 7.5 hours/week on average or the equivalent of 20% effort) that we would be talking about a reduced level of effort to 20% and a proportionate reduction in pay.” On Feb. 9, less than two weeks later, LSU-HSC changed its agreement with Cassidy accordingly.

Despite the lack of availability of records of services rendered from LSUHSC, it would appear to me that Congressman Cassidy would have his own records showing notes contemporaneous to the services rendered, emails to LSU doctors, staff, students, notations of research performed.  The documents would likely be on his own computer including his calendar and travel showing he was not in two places at once (Washington DC and Louisiana).  Also, he surely would have phone records to document his communications with those involved.

Is it reasonable to request him to provide all of this information with two weeks left in the campaign from the date that American Zombie broke the story?  Surely, he would not need to show all of his records but at least a sufficient amount to damper curiosities and charges of wrongdoings.  He could and should produce and put the entire issue to rest prior to election day.

On Friday, after Senator Mary Landrieu at a press conference requested that Cassidy present his documents to the debate tonight, Roger Villere, the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party likewise requested that Landrieu present records he and others have been requesting regarding her ethics controversy “chartergate”.  Landrieu paid over thirty thousand dollars to reimburse her office for charges that were paid for campaign trips.  The GOP and others believe that Landrieu has not produced all of the most recent records.  They likewise complain that she should produce records for the first six years of her being a US Senator.  The Landrieu camp claims that the law changed in 2002, therefore, therefore, 1996 though 2002 would not be at issue.

To me, both seem more than reasonable requests and hopefully Landrieu and Cassidy will present all documents immediately.  Although, as politics go, I am not naieve.  In short, fat chance that either will shed any light on these claims (certainly not before election day).

However, as soon as the blog hit the Internet last week, Landrieu was slammed with “dirty trick” charge.  Anti-Landrieu crowd started to clamor, “how can we believe these bloggers”, “don’t believe anything presented the two weeks prior to the election”, “this is a hail Mary” and a litany of defenses and rationalizations one would expect from people protecting Cassidy or any candidate they support, from scandal, and worse, a campaign collapsing at the last moment.

To some extent, they might have a point.  It is hard to believe that the Landrieu camp was not responsible for dropping the documents upon the American Zombie blogger.  However, Cassidy was questioned about his services months ago by a reporter, he had some knowledge that this issue was being raised.

It is fair to question the source and the timing of a very controversial document drop and accusations made during any part of an emotional political campaign, especially one that is on its last days.  However, it surely would not be unreasonable to ask those defending Cassidy to at least look at the documents presented before completely discounting any and all of the claims made.

Before moving on to another scandal, it also should be noted that the approval made by the US House of Representatives was for Cassidy’s past services, not for his future services to be rendered.  The approval was rendered in 2010 for those prior services.  Cassidy received payment until 2014.  To date, no approval has been presented and so there is a possibility that the  LSU-Cassidy agreement was not approved past that date and especially for the amounts that Cassidy said he would work (30 hours versus 16).

cassidy-2010

Now, onto the next scandal.Over this weekend, word over the Internet indicated that there would be a major “shocking” video to be released.  The conservative videographer James O’Keefe III, who was put in jail for a prior sting on Mary Landrieu gloated to his twitter followers that something was coming.  The organization called the Black Conservative Fund, notified the media that we would be shocked by an upcoming video.

At 11:30 today, as expected the shocker arrived.  Here is the email we received from the BCF featuring, no other than a familiar face and voice of a Black Republican superstar, Senator Elbert Guillory, who has made claims that Landrieu and Obama are hurting blacks.

Here is the email.  Please take a look at the video:  

Today, the Black Conservatives Fund PAC (BCF) released shocking video footage of

Opelousas Mayor Don Cravins Sr. encouraging a crowd of Democrat Party bosses, activists

and operatives to commit voter fraud at a rally in support of Sen. Mary Landrieu and local

Democrat candidates.

The video was taken on the evening of Nov. 3, 2014, at the Charcoal Lounge on Academy

Street in Opelousas, La.

“Now, if you already voted, go vote againtomorrow,” Cravins Sr. is seen telling a crowd. “One

more time’s not going to hurt...”

Cravins Sr. shamelessly went on to say, “...tomorrowwe’re gonna elect Earl Taylor as the

[District Attorney] so he won’t prosecute you if you vote twice.”

Cravins Sr. is a former state senator, Louisiana Democrat Party operative and the current mayor

of Opelousas, La. He is currently in a run-off for re-election against fellow Democrat, David

Tatum.

Don Cravins Sr.’s son, Don Cravins Jr., happens to be Sen. Mary Landrieu’s chief of staff.

“Mayor Cravins’ comments are appalling,” BCF Senior Advisor Ali Akbar said. “Mayor Cravins is

brazenly encouraging those in attendance to violate state and federal law by committing voter

fraud. He is compromising the integrity of our voting process and likely violating federal and

state law himself.”

BCF has turned over a copy of the video and a transcript to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s

office, the Louisiana Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“We’re pledging our full cooperation with state and federal investigations,” said BCF board

member Anita MonCrief, also known as the “ACORN whistle-blower.”

“Mayor Cravins owes the people Opelousas and Louisiana an apology,” Akbar said. “We’re

calling on both state parties, Congressman Cassidy and Senator Landrieu’s campaigns to

immediately denounce Cravins' reckless disregard for the law.”

Click here to watch the video.

You will notice that the video does not show the speaker, Mayor Cravins.  After Cravins made these statements, you could hear outbursts of laughter from the crowd.   It is well documented that many whites and others (mainly republicans) have made claims of rampant voter fraud, particularly imputing blacks.  Now, a small black organization is doing the same.

A video like this, as inflammatory as it is, would obviously stir up the passions of those who want to believe that a black Louisiana Mayor, the father of Mary Landrieu’s chief-of-staff, would be so foolish and so brazen to incite black voters to go to the polls and to vote twice.

I personally put this video into the category of a pathetic stunt. 

I had a hard time taking Guillory as being a serious person since he started making videos blasting democrats to the nation trying to show his Republican stripes.   The fact that he is again a republican is not the issue.  There are many reasonable black conservative voices who should be heard.  Having more black republicans is not just good for the party but for America.  But, in this case, at no time did Guillory ever indicate that possibly Cravens was joking, in my opiinion, the most plausible explanation especially given the audience's laughter after each of the Mayor’s comments.

To his credit, Guillory acknowledged in the video that Louisiana had voter-ID enforcement so the risks of double-voting were mitigated, assuming they could or would even occur. 

I am sure we will hear those who hate Mary Landrieu, President Obama and who believe that blacks engage in frequent voter fraud activities will be the first to give full credit to their heroes, O’Keefe and Guillory.  I suspect that none of them will declare these videos to be a dirty trick.

I would bet that none of them would ever suggest that Cravens was openly teasing in front of a large crowd, engaging in self-deprecating banter and actually poking at the frequent and endless charges being made against Democrats and blacks.

So, we have two emotionally-charged controversies as the last days roars to the end.  One is about a very respected medical doctor, former state legislator, a newly-elected Congressman who wanted to make enhance his income and his tenure security.   Numerous records exist that show that all involved were very concerned about documentation of services being rendered.  Unforunately, many records are lost but those that do exist are post-dated and virtually identical for each month of purported work.

The other is a dark video of a mayor (without showing his face) at a rally supposedly urging those attendees to break state and federal law and to engage in election practices that have been part of the white body of claims against blacks and democrats, now, for decades.  

One is claimed to be a dirty trick and totally dismissed without review of any documents.  The other is being promoted by a videographer who was put in jail after he he deceptively engaged in so-called journalism at a federal office.

Surely one will be embraced and the other scorned. 

I believe the Cassidy controversy raises legitimate issues.  I don't believe Cassidy would do something so stupid and unlawful--getting paid tens of thousands of dollars over five years without performing commensurate services.   Considering the circumstances, if anything, he was very sloppy.  Yet, he has the opportunity to put this issue to rest and embarrass those in the Landrieu camp claiming him to be a fraud.  Landrieu also could help her own credibility and her cause by releasing all relevant records on Chartergate.   Whether she actively knew of the wrongful payments or not still remains to be seen and hopefully, we will soon get to the bottom of all of this.

I've looked at the videos related to the other so-called scandaled.  The probabilities that Cravens did what Guillory and his ilk want everyone to think, coupled with another slick pitiful video by Guillory who wants to be a statewide elected official, I have my opinion.  Guillory is in bed with another prankster, O'Keefe.  His message is repugnant and harmful not only to black conservatives but to republicans.  He has every right to believe that his party has better answers to the problems facing African Americans.  He has every wrong to do it in such a way that makes his cause a laughing stock.

Dirty campaign tricks?  

What do you think?

 

THE FALLOUT

LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere joined countless activists across the state and nation to condemn the actions of Opelousas Mayor Donald Cravins, Sr.

Mayor Cravins encouraged a crowd of voters at a recent campaign event for Senator Mary Landrieu to vote again even if they had previously cast a ballot during early voting in the December 6th runoff. Mayor Cravins went on to imply that individuals who participated in such flagrant violation of state and federal law would not be prosecuted. 


“These divisive tactics plagued our state’s past in a time that Louisiana was known for Chicago style corruption. Louisiana has seen such great progress since those days and it seems a shame that Mayor Cravins would even suggest that voters participate in the same politics of the past that landed many democrat politicians in jail,” said Villere. “Voter fraud is not a joking matter and to encourage voters to participate in it is reckless and irresponsible.”

“Secretary of State Tom Schedler has been a formidable force in safeguarding the integrity of our elections and has been a fighter to ensure that every vote is counted fairly in our state’s elections. The Secretary of State’s office works hard every day to preserve Louisianians' right to vote.”

Chairman Villere went on to say “Louisiana voters should be outraged by the actions of Mayor Cravins. His actions represent the cronyism of Louisiana’s darkest days. The reality of a free and fair Louisiana can only be hindered by such divisive and regressive actions.”

Landry Condemns Cravins: Cravins’ Comments Prove Importance of Voter Integrity Program (From the Louisiana GOP) 


BATON ROUGE, LA – Former U.S. Representative and current Chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana’s Voter Integrity Program Jeff Landry expressed his deep concern about comments from Donald Cravins, Sr. after video surfaced of the Opelousas Mayor encouraging voter fraud in Louisiana’s elections.

“The Democrat machine has once again been exposed for its efforts to mislead, cheat and steal when it comes to elections,” said Landry. “From voter impersonation and vote buying to the duplicative voting that Mayor Cravins encouraged, voter fraud is real; and I am on a mission to stop it.”

“Civil rights leaders, women’s suffragists and our nation’s veterans have sacrificed too much to let the despicable acts of desperate politicians cancel out the votes of honest, law-abiding citizens,” continued Landry. “All of us in Louisiana should be outraged by Mayor Cravins and the ilk who would commit voter fraud.”

“I will fight for the security and integrity of our elections by making sure every legally cast vote is counted and not diluted by fraud or negligence,” concluded Landry.

From the Hill

Landrieu on Monday released two new radio ads focusing on the controversy.

“This is the story of Congressman Bill Cassidy and his evil twin, Dr. Bill Cassidy,” one ad says. “On the very same days Congressman Bill Cassidy was in Washington casting votes and sitting in congressional committee meetings, Evil Twin Dr. Bill Cassidy was in Baton Rouge, submitting time sheets for teaching at LSU."

“Apparently Cassidy feels he should get paid tens of thousands of taxpayer funds for a no-show job, all on top of his $174,000 taxpayer funded Congressional salary,” the ad continues... 

Landrieu held a press conference in Baton Rouge on Monday to highlight the allegations and is seeking to make it a primary focus in their debate on Monday night. She’s demanding Cassidy bring records from his time at the school to the debate, and she’ll meet with the media afterwards to further discuss.

“Congressman Cassidy…has already said he will not take questions from the media following the debate, meaning media may never be able to ask Congressman Cassidy about his many votes that have hurt Louisianians or about the recent scandal highlighting the fact that Congressman Cassidy took home nearly $250,000 in taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits for work he never did at Louisiana State University,” Landrieu said in an email to supporters.

 LATEST

LSU will review whether to keep Cassidy on payroll

LSU to investigate Cassidy's part time job

 

 

 


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