Yesterday, we took a look at the latest campaign finance “48-hour report” filed with the Louisiana State Board of Ethics for Gumbo PAC, the John Bel Edwards-affiliated attack dog outfit which has been responsible for the most vicious and patently false attacks in this year’s gubernatorial campaign.
And what we found probably won’t surprise anyone, but you ought to know it anyway.
A few weeks ago we had suggested to the campaigns of Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone, plus whatever third party groups are playing in the governor’s race on the Republican side, that following Saul Alinsky’s Rule 13 would be a good idea where Gumbo PAC is concerned. Specifically, to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”
In this case, the target, we suggested, should be Morris Bart, the sleazy billboard lawyer whose punchable face appears everywhere Gordon McKernan’s doesn’t. Because Morris Bart is a major donor, and for an obvious reason – he’s siphoning off so much money in cheesy lawsuits from car wrecks that he’ll fight tooth and nail to preserve our dysfunctional status quo from anybody who might want to change it.
We know that Bart and other ambulance chasers like him have bankrolled Gumbo PAC ever since David Vitter promised tort reform four years ago. Nothing has changed, except this time they aren’t able to make a gubernatorial race about hookers.
But that sure hasn’t stopped the money flowing to Gumbo PAC. Here’s the latest report of contributions to Edwards’ attack dog outfit…
|Gumbo PAC||JOHN JEFCOAT||PO Box 1172||Scott||LA||70583-1172||10/30/2019||$10,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||SBI MANAGEMENT INC||56634 Bosworth St||Slidell||LA||70458-8625||10/30/2019||$3,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||SIMMONS HANLY CONROY||1 Court St||Alton||IL||62002-6267||10/30/2019||$50,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||SEGURA MEDICAL LLC||650 Millikens Bnd||Covington||LA||70433-4528||10/30/2019||$3,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||NEW ORLEANS EAST MEDICAL REHAB||9810 Lake Forest Blvd||New Orleans||LA||70127-5425||10/30/2019||$3,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||LOUISIANA CHIROPRATIC PAC||10636 Timberlake Dr||Baton Rouge||LA||70810-6614||10/30/2019||$20,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||EASTBANK MEDICAL REHAB LLC||1100 Ncauseway Blvd||Metairie||LA||70001||10/30/2019||$3,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||MARCO RODRIGUES||15384 Lake Crest View Dr||Baton Rouge||LA||70810-8439||10/30/2019||$3,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||ROBERT D BOSTICK, III||406 Brockenbraugh Ct||Metairie||LA||70005-3324||10/30/2019||$2,500.00|
|Gumbo PAC||WESTBANK MEDICAL REHAB||851 Manhattan Blvd||Harvey||LA||70058-4609||10/30/2019||$3,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||KATHERINE MASON||7476 Boyce Dr||Baton Rouge||LA||70809-1156||10/28/2019||$250.00|
|Gumbo PAC||CRAIG DAVIS||111 Mercury St||Lafayette||LA||70503-2243||10/28/2019||$2,500.00|
|Gumbo PAC||LEE MALLET||511 E Frontage Rd||Iowa||LA||70647-4056||10/29/2019||$50,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||MORRIS BART||601 Poydras St||Fl 24||New Orleans||LA||70130-6029||10/29/2019||$250,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||GARY BOUTWELL||904 Main St||Madisonville||LA||70447-9718||10/29/2019||$10,000.00|
|Gumbo PAC||TIM GRAY||1128 Constantinople St||New Orleans||LA||70115-2759||10/29/2019||$15,000.00|
That’s right. Morris Bart just dropped a quarter of a million dollars into this outfit. We think that’s the largest individual contribution anyone has made to that organization this cycle.
Morris Bart is Gumbo PAC.
And by the way, Lee Mallet is the same guy who put up billboards all over Louisiana with clowns on them attacking Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. The substance of Mallet’s problem with Donelon was essentially that he had bankrupted a company which owed the Louisiana Worker’s Compensation Corporation (LWCC), which is the quasi-public worker’s comp carrier of last resort, several hundred thousand dollars of worker’s comp premiums. And when Mallet applied for worker’s comp insurance to LWCC with another company, the carrier denied him until he’d made good on the money he owed them. He appealed that decision and Donelon was the arbiter for the appeal; Donelon backed LWCC. Mallet could have taken the case to court, but instead he spent several hundred thousand dollars attacking Donelon when he ran for re-election.
Lee Mallet was a major Bobby Jindal donor and Jindal put him on the LSU Board of Supervisors. Then Mallet was a major John Bel Edwards donor and Edwards reappointed him to that board.
In other words, Mallet is about as status quo a player as you can get in Louisiana politics – and for all the discussion about what a bad guy Lane Grigsby is, you can’t get a better example of somebody who uses money to corrupt this state’s politics than Mallet, and look where his money is going.
The rest of these guys are lawyers. John Jefcoat, Tim Gray and Gary Boutwell are plaintiff attorneys, and Simmons Hanly Conroy is a law firm doing mesothelioma cases. It’s the usual suspects, and they’re in this because they don’t want to see Louisiana enact any kind of tort reform that would alleviate our status as a judicial hellhole.
Not to mention the medical rehab and chiropractors on the list, who get their business from the Morris Barts of the world.
In other words, they’re the very definition of special interests. Edwards sure has a lot of gall accusing anybody else – especially Eddie Rispone, whose company does instrumentation and control installation in industrial facilities and doesn’t do government contracts – of being a “walking special interest.”