The membership of the Louisiana State Troopers Association continues to fume about the unprecedented endorsement made of John Bel Edwards last week, an endorsement made without polling its members and reportedly without even the entire board voting on the question.
And, likely, as a violation of Louisiana State Police Commission rules preventing state troopers from making public endorsements of political candidates.
A past president of the LSTA went on John Bel Edwards’ Facebook page this afternoon and blistered the Democrat for touting the endorsement – making the accusation that it was paid for by a promise to maintain the State Police’s current leadership in power and, specifically, to retain Col. Mike Edmonson as the commander of the force…
As we reported earlier today, the LSTA’s executive director David Young sent a letter to the membership justifying the endorsement on the basis that Edwards is for maintaining the state police’s pension program as a Defined Benefit plan, while Vitter wants to move to a Defined Contribution plan similar to a 401(k) plan prevalent in the private sector and with some federal employees. Vitter sent a letter to Edmonson today disputing that characterization of his position – the change he favors would affect new hires, not current troopers.
This controversy sits atop a rather ugly foundation; namely, a 2014 dustup over a clandestine effort by the state legislature to slather Edmonson with a hefty payoff which became a major embarrassment when it was discovered.
The cumulative effect of all this will likely be to harden the endorsement of the LSTA board – because the violation of the Commission rules inherent in that endorsement will in all likelihood be investigated in the event Vitter wins and ignored if Edwards wins.
The LSTA members are well aware of this and burning up our email inbox about it. More is likely to come.