First, let’s understand something – namely, that the Heritage Foundation is a think tank, not a political action committee. An organization affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action For America, is a 501(c)4. And as a C-4, Heritage Action is legally able to support political candidates so long as a majority of its activity involves educating the public about issues as a “social welfare” organization.
And according to OpenSecrets.org, Heritage Action has not made any donations to political candidates in the 2014 cycle as of June 4 of this year.
These facts are put forth as foundation so you’ll know that when Vance McAllister spoke to a gathering of certified public accountants in Monroe and said that he was told he would be bribed by the Heritage Foundation to the tune of $1,200 in campaign donations for voting a certain way on a piece of legislation affecting the Bureau of Land Management, he was lying.
Though he would not identify the legislation, McAllister said it was related to the Bureau of Land Management. McAllister said a colleague on the House floor told him that he would receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage Foundation if he voted against the bill. He would not name his colleague since he “did not want to put their business out on the street.”
“I played dumb and asked him, ‘How would you vote?’” McAllister said. “He told me, ‘Vote no and you will get a $1,200 check from the Heritage Foundation. If you vote yes, you will get a $1,000 check from some environmental impact group.’”
That answer was a surprise, McAllister said.
“I said, ‘Are you serious?’ and he told me, ‘Yeah, wait and see,’” McAllister said.
McAllister said he voted against the bill but did not receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage Foundation. Federal law prohibits public officials, including members of Congress, from directly or indirectly seeking, accepting or agreeing to receive anything of value in return for the performance of any official act such as voting.
“I voted no, and I didn’t get a Heritage Foundation check but he did,” McAllister said. “I went back and checked with my friend, ‘I didn’t get a check, man. What were you talking about?’ He told me, ‘Well, I got one. Why didn’t you?’”
McAllister said he was not surprised he did not receive a contribution from Heritage Foundation since the group and Gov. Bobby Jindal were “upset with me,” referring to Jindal’s call for McAllister’s resignation. Jindal asked McAllister to resign after The Ouachita Citizen and its sister newspapers exposed McAllister’s extramarital affair with a member of his congressional staff.
McAllister needs to say who it was who told him the Heritage Foundation is paying congressmen for favorable votes. His claim is ludicrous, and the fact he attributes it to something he was told makes it obviously a lie. It’s the same formulation Harry Reid used when he took to the Senate floor and slandered Mitt Romney over his supposed tax delinquency and it’s the same formulation Nancy Pelosi used when she said this…
Why bring up Democrat templates for telling ugly lies about those with whom one disagrees? Because there is a rumor going around which says that McAllister is thinking about running for re-election after all – as a Democrat.
As a Democrat, of course, McAllister’s sexual peccadilloes are no longer a matter of public scandal and he’s no longer guilty of hypocrisy for running on a social conservative platform. And some of his core positions, for example his support for Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, no longer put him at odds with the bulk of his voting base. Furthermore, the Louisiana Democrat Party is bereft of any talent capable of winning a congressional seat – should McAllister switch he would instantly become the Dems’ brightest young political star, regardless of how embarrassing his conduct in office might be.
When we heard the rumor, we scoffed at it. But for McAllister to attack Heritage, rather than some other organization like Americans For Prosperity or Americans for Tax Reform or FreedomWorks which might be more controversial, is telling. Heritage is considered the gold standard of conservative outfits in DC, even though Heritage Action has come under some criticism for departing from the long-standing tone that Heritage the think-tank assumed prior to Jim Demint’s assumption of its presidency.
To tell lies about Heritage would represent something of a clean break from the Republican caucus. Maybe it’s a clean break from Congress altogether and it’s off-base to speculate about the party-switch rumors.
Or maybe it isn’t.
Either way, Vance McAllister is irredeemable at this point. He shouldn’t be in Congress today, and it’s a good thing he won’t likely return after Election Day.