Are We Seeing The End Of The Mike Edmonson Era Atop The Louisiana State Police?
Edmonson, who has been the LSP’s superintendent since January of 2008, had what’s described as a “regularly-scheduled” meeting with Gov. John Bel Edwards today, but the circumstances surrounding that meeting don’t seem overly regular.
Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo confirmed the governor met with Edmonson on Monday but described the meeting as regularly scheduled. The tête-à-tête was said to be the latest of several private conversations the two have had in recent days in the wake of multiple controversies.
“Some people may be getting ahead of themselves,” Carbo said when asked whether Edwards intends to replace Edmonson. “He has not asked for his resignation.”
Speculation mounted over the weekend within the Louisiana law enforcement community that Edmonson’s days are numbered as head of the State Police, and several law enforcement sources described the superintendent’s departure as imminent. Edmonson, in a brief telephone interview Friday, maintained that he does not intend to resign, bucking a recent call by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy that he step down.
The agitation for change intensified last week when it emerged that federal authorities had delivered subpoenas to more than a dozen members of the Louisiana State Troopers Association’s board of directors, furthering a months-old inquiry into a series of unlawful campaign contributions the nonprofit made in 2014 and 2015. Edmonson acknowledged last week that the FBI notified him “they would be interviewing some of our guys.”
“The organization is under a cloud, and Edmonson is responsible for that cloud,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “The State Police finds itself in a compromised position because of some of the occurrences he’s allowed to happen on his watch.”
The most high-profile controversy of those plaguing Edmonson is the road trip certain members of his retinue took on a junket to San Diego for an awards ceremony, where thousands of taxpayer dollars were needlessly spent amid a state budget crisis. That’s the subject of a request state representative Blake Miguez just sent to Louisiana’s legislative auditor Daryl Purpera…
Miguez may end up hitting the jackpot, as the rumor mill has it that Edmonson has been expensing trips far and wide for years. Nobody has paid much attention to it.
Edmonson was likely on his way out had David Vitter won the 2015 gubernatorial election, and he knew it. He pulled out all the stops and then some to keep that change from happening, including engineering an illegal endorsement of Edwards by the state troopers’ association – an organization of people who are bound by the state police code to stay out of politics. That was the genesis of Troopergate, which has blossomed into the FBI showing up at the LSTA meeting last week and dropping federal subpoenas in the laps of practically everyone there.
And regardless of what Carbo is saying in an effort to paper over this mess, the conventional wisdom is indicating that buying Edmonson as his boss did was politically akin to purchasing a pig in a poke. He owns Edmonson at this point, with all the baggage that entails. And if Edwards dumps him it’s only a matter of time before all that baggage is on display for everyone to see.