John Bel Edwards Is Not The Anodyne Figure He Wants You To Think He Is

So you’ll know, John Bel Edwards’ lifetime score from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is 25.

That is one of the worst scores you’ll find of anybody in the Louisiana state legislature. It shows that Edwards is one of the most anti-free market legislators, and one of the most economically-illiterate legislators, in office.

How bad is it? Consider that these state legislators have better LABI scores than John Bel Edwards…

  • Pat Smith (29)
  • Barbara Norton (33)
  • Austin Badon (43)
  • Regina Barrow (29)
  • Sharon Weston Broome (32)
  • Jared Brossett (28)
  • David Heitmeier (54)
  • Marcus Hunter (30)
  • Katrina Jackson (26)
  • Ted James (32)
  • Walt Leger (38)
  • J.P. Morrell (39)
  • Harold Ritchie (35)

There is a reason none of those legislators ran for governor this year. You wouldn’t even consider voting for them. And yet none of them have a voting record as consistently terrible as John Bel Edwards does.

The Democrats have been throwing a fit since last week over the fact that the business lobbyists are loading up to reload David Vitter’s campaign coffers with big checks in advance of the Nov. 21. runoff. The left-wing blog Louisiana Voice had a breathless post Wednesday, riffing off Bob Mann’s ridiculous screaming about an email sent out by Baton Rouge lobbyist Jimmy Burland inviting the business community to a series of fundraising receptions…

In what political historian Robert Mann calls “the most blatant, breathtaking pay-to-play message I have ever seen in politics,” Vitter, through a front man, unabashedly puts the muscle on lobbyists for the maximum $5,000 each in campaign contributions.

And Mann has worked for three U.S. senators and a Louisiana governor, so he knows political coercion when he sees it.

This is where it gets funny…

Simply this: Vitter spokesman Jimmy Burland, a Baton Rouge attorney and lobbyist, sent out an email blast to “the Louisiana Lobbyist Community” in which he announced that Vitter and wife Windy would be hosting receptions across Louisiana immediately after Saturday’s primary “and we hope you can attend and bring a check.” (Emphasis ours).

Mann was right. That’s pretty blatant and more than a little heavy-handed and it sends a clear message to lobbyists to be ready to play ball if they want special favors from a Vitter administration.

Okay, we know this kind of thing goes on all the time but at least most politicians have the good sense to be a little more subtle about blackmailing potential contributors.

The schedule for the receptions:

  • Sunday, Oct. 25: brunch at Andrea’s Restaurant in Metairie;
  • Monday, Oct. 26: luncheon at Juban’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge, followed by a reception at a Lake Charles site to be announced at 3 p.m. and a 6 p.m. reception at Café Vermilionville in Lafayette;
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: breakfast at Brocato’s in Alexandria at 8 a.m., followed by an 11:30 a.m. luncheon at Ristorante Giuseppe in Shreveport and a 5 p.m. reception in Monroe.

And, as if that is not enough: “Additionally, we have set a lobbyist fund-raising meeting for Friday, Oct. 29 in Baton Rouge (time and place to be announced) and urge you to attend,” Burland wrote.

Here’s the email…

Mann and Tom Aswell, who runs Louisiana Voice, are acting like there is extortion going on. But what’s really going on is blatant lying.

Burland’s email went out to the lobbyists for the business community – the trade associations for the homebuilders, construction industry, bankers, railroads, communications companies, oil and gas, petrochemical industry, small business and so on. In other words, the lobbyists who work the capitol in an effort to stop bills that would hurt the state’s economy and push bills that would help it.

And those lobbyists know perfectly well that John Bel Edwards has a 25 lifetime score from LABI. The idea of him in the governor’s mansion is plenty enough motivation for them and their clients to give generously to David Vitter.

They’re going to give those $5000 checks to Vitter, because unlike most of the people who are saying “I’m as Republican as you can get but I’ll never vote for Vitter,” these guys know who John Bel Edwards is and they know he’s a whole lot worse than a guy who messed around with hookers 15 years ago and does mean TV ads against people. All Jimmy Burland needed to do was tell those guys where to go to deliver those checks in person.

For the next four weeks Vitter, and the state GOP and whoever else will play in the runoff on the Republican side, will be pointing out exactly what that 25 score means. We’re now in a stage with this election that goofy ads about European trips and moldy revelations about a haircut and trim aren’t even worthwhile distractions from the fact that conservative Louisiana could elect a hard-Left governor bent on wealth redistribution and driving jobs and capital to Texas.



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