Does Derrick Edwards’ Excuse For Filing Late Campaign Reports Disqualify Him For Treasurer?

Not that Edwards should be knocked off the ballot for filing campaign reports late; that’s not what we’re saying. What concerns us is whether the Democrats’ candidate in the state treasurer’s race (he’s their candidate whether they endorse him or not; he’s the one with a “D” next to his name) can physically do the job he’s running for based on what the late report suggests.

The Democrat vying to be Louisiana’s next treasurer is asking the state ethics board to waive a $2,100 fine for not filing his campaign finance report on time, saying difficulty associated with his paralysis delayed the filing.

Derrick Edwards, who is paralyzed from the neck down by a high school football injury, said his report was 21 days late because he had trouble finding voice-activated software compatible with submitting the finance forms electronically, as required.

“Since I have the correct software now, this is no longer an issue and I will not file any more late reports,” Edwards wrote in his letter to the ethics board.

The ethics board staff is recommending the panel waive the $2,100 fine for filing the report Aug. 7 instead of by its July 17 due date. The board will consider Edwards’ waiver request at its Friday meeting. Edwards has asked to appear before the panel in person to discuss the late filing.

We hope the ethics board does waive the fine, because after all he did file the report and there’s no evidence he was trying to hide anything. Edwards’ campaign has suffered from the late report and the fine; after all, it was the reason given for his party refusing to endorse him.

And the Democrats still haven’t endorsed Edwards, which is exceptionally peculiar to us – and let’s face it, downright shameful.

Edwards shouldn’t even have to appeal the fine. It’s only $2100. He ought to have the money to just pay the stupid fine.

Is it Edwards’ fault he hasn’t raised enough money to pay the fine? Yeah, maybe so. If you’re running for a statewide office you should probably be able to cover a $2100 campaign cost – or to avoid having to pay it because you raised enough money to hire some competent campaign staff who could push that paperwork for you.

Looking through his campaign reports, we only find one max donation in the entire bunch – that was a $2500 check from New Orleans Democrat moneybag John Cummings. So yes – Edwards’ campaign performance suggests a certain lack of vigor which indicates that if Louisiana were to make him treasurer it would be a real concern whether he could get a requisite amount of work done.

But on the other hand, one really can’t say enough negative things about the Louisiana Democrat Party and how they’ve handled Edwards’ campaign.

They didn’t find another candidate. He’s the one Democrat who actually offered to bear their standard. That should count for something, but obviously it doesn’t.

They can’t raise this guy $50,000? That’s 20 phone calls to plaintiff lawyers like Cummings, who are all over the state and give money to hopeless Democrat candidates all the time.

Maybe they’re doing it and Edwards’ campaign just hasn’t reported it yet. Typically campaigns will file 48-hour reports listing donations which come in the days leading up to Election Day. It doesn’t look like Edwards had any – his last report showed that a family member loaned him $6,000 in late September to pay for yard signs and other such expenses. If he’s collecting money this week we’ll hopefully see evidence of it soon.

And then we’ll know whether the Democrats’ donors are full of it when it comes to their protestations of support for the poor and downtrodden, or their willingness to help the handicapped. That they’ve snubbed Edwards as they have so far is a pretty good indication all of that rhetoric is as empty as Edwards’ campaign coffers.

And that goes triple for Gov. John Bel Edwards. It’s understandable he wouldn’t make a public endorsement of a candidate who’s likely to lose, particularly after the embarrassment of backing Foster Campbell last year only to see him get just 36 percent in the runoff against John Kennedy in the Senate race, but for him not to take a couple of hours to call a few donors to extract checks for a Democrat running for a statewide office just looks cold and unfeeling.

If turnout statewide is low enough around the state – the folks at the Secretary of State’s office are warning that based on historical trends the runoff could actually see turnout under 10 percent statewide – and high enough in New Orleans –  while it could be 40 percent in Orleans Parish given the runoff in the mayor’s race there – there is a scenario where Edwards could actually win.

Were that to happen it might make a mockery of the entire political process, and give Louisiana a statewide official who can’t even get his own party to back him, much less make fundraising calls or be expected to actually do the job he’s running for.

Let’s hope that’s not what’s coming on Nov. 18. Please make plans to vote in that election, no matter how little you’re motivated to at present.

Interested in more national news? We've got you covered! See More National News
Previous Article
Next Article
Join the Conversation - Download the Speakeasy App.

Trending on The Hayride