The Charles Boustany Tax-Attack Ad Kerfuffle

We didn’t get to this Friday because strangely, the ads in question didn’t make YouTube and we couldn’t show an actual ad for our readers to evaluate.

But KATC in Lafayette had a report Friday night about the latest in the Boustany-Landry campaign…

Landry’s team is rather exercised about this latest attack – one can understand why, seeing as though they’ve been through this stuff before. What is it about Landry that he brings out the worst in those he runs against?

From the release the campaign put out Friday afternoon…

Following his loss of support in Calcasieu Parish this week with the endorsement of Jeff Landry by the Calcasieu Parish Republican Party, Charles Boustany launched a false attack flat out claiming that Jeff Landry “didn’t pay his taxes.” In writing the ad cites their sources as St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office 2011, 2009 and Lafayette Parish 2008, 2006, 2004, 2003. The attack appears on TV and in mailboxes.

In response, the Jeff Landry campaign is releasing today two letters – from each of the tax offices of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff. Both letters note, in writing, that Jeff Landry has paid all of his taxes, he has never been delinquent and the same applies for his businesses. The letters come after two days of exhaustive research from both Sheriffs to ensure the data was accurate.

The campaign released links to the letters, which can be seen here and here.

The release continued…

“I have been telling the people of South Louisiana for several months now that I have found Mr. Boustany to be a different person than he claims to be. He says he can be trusted. But I have found he will say or do anything to keep his taxpayer–paid job in Washington. He claims to be a conservative, but he votes like a liberal,” said Jeff Landry.

In regard to the TV ads it remains to be seen what action may be taken. The campaign sees that it is clear the ads are not true. The campaign is considering its options as it relates to Boustany’s campaign and the TV stations.

Additionally the ads claims Jeff Landry wants to “tax everything,” and wants to increase taxes.

However, it was Charles Boustany who told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser that he wants “flexibility” on tax increases and he refused to stand behind his anti-tax pledge he has taken in the past.

The Daily Advertiser article stated, “Boustany, who spoke with The Daily Advertiser’s editorial board this morning about numerous issues, said though he would not vote to increase taxes in current economic landscape, he would not again sign a pledge binding him to not do so. “I will not sign another pledge,” Boustany said this morning. “We have to have the flexibility to do the right thing* for the American people.” (* ie. raise taxes.)

The Independent newspaper wrote that Boutany, “would decline to sign any anti-tax pledges, leaving him a little wiggle room on matters of “revenue.”

Jeff Landry stands by his pledge – pledging to never raise taxes.

Boustany’s campaign manager John Porter responded to Landry’s release by defending the ads.

He said on six different occasions, taxes on real estate owned by Landry’s companies were paid in January when they were due on Dec. 31.

Porter couldn’t explain why the sheriffs’ offices said the taxes were paid on time.

In instances provided by Porter, the Boustany campaign said the taxes were paid anywhere from Jan. 4 through Jan. 23 in the two parishes, instead of before the end of the prior year.

“Louisiana law is very clear. Taxes are due on Dec. 31. Beginning on Jan. 1, you are delinquent,” Porter said. “Each of these six instances, they were not paid on time. Therefore, our ads are factual.”

Our question is why bother arguing that taxes paid a couple of weeks after a deadline constitute delinquency? This isn’t Tim Geithner here; it’s the question of a week or two. And when the sheriffs say as far as they’re concerned Landry isn’t a tax cheat or a scofflaw, what do you have?

These were the precise campaign tactics Hunt Downer’s camp threw at Landry in the GOP primary two years ago – Downer threw out head-scratchers accusing Landry of being connected with drug dealers, essentially being a Stolen Valor miscreant and of screwing business associates over. All of those attacks looked like colossal reaches, and upon the slightest scrutiny they fell apart.

And that’s what these Boustany ads appear to be. But unlike the infamous attacks on Landry masterminded by Downer’s then-25-year-old campaign manager, the spot in question isn’t even a salacious, juicy assault on the congressman from New Iberia. It says he was a couple of weeks late paying property taxes. Even if he was, so what?

If you’re going to lie about your opponent, at least make it worth your while. Boustany seems to have bought himself negative attention for a false attack without even getting the benefit of heaping a big load of mud on Landry.

This was weak. Boustany’s the favorite in this race; his team isn’t doing him service by launching petty, desperate-looking attacks more than a month before the election.

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