At some point, we’ll surely be approached by someone on the leadership team for Louisiana’s House Speaker Clay Schexnayder assuring us that he’s a true conservative and that he’s going to move a legislative agenda that would please voters who really weren’t expecting, when they gave 68 of the 105 seats in the House to Republicans in October and November, to have a Speaker elected despite a majority of those Republicans voting against him.
We’ll listen to that pitch if and when it comes. We make no promises not to laugh and call it bullshit. Because so far, the rhetoric coming out of Schexnayder and his camp, and particularly Stuart Bishop, who nominated him as speaker on Monday and who virtually everyone we talk to thinks is the real House Speaker, is just about the most arrogant, offensive and plainly untrue, typical example of this-is-why-we-hate-Louisiana-politicians garbage we’ve heard in a while. It ranks right up there with John Bel Edwards’ I’ll-kill-college-football-if-you-don’t-give-me-my-billion-dollar-tax-hike crap from four years ago.
What are we talking about? Here’s Bishop’s speech nominating Schexnayder as Speaker…
Perhaps Bishop, who is such an adamant opponent of “outside influence” in House affairs, can enlighten us plebes as to which of these “outside influences” he wasn’t too proud before the election to take contributions of $250 and up from…
|LEGISLATIVE REPUBLICAN DELEGATION CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE||Baton Rouge||LA||$10,000.00|
|LOUISIANA REPUBLICAN DELEGATION||Baton Rouge||LA||$2,500.00|
|ASSOCIATED BRANCH PILOTS||Metairie||LA||$2,500.00|
|LOUISIANA RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION HOSPITALITY PAC||Metairie||LA||$2,500.00|
|NEW ORLEANS HOSPITALITY PAC||New Orleans||LA||$2,500.00|
|LHA MANAGEMENT CORP.||Baton Rouge||LA||$2,000.00|
|LOUISIANA SHERIFF’S AND DEPUTIES PAC (STATE)||Baton Rouge||LA||$1,200.00|
|PHILLIPS 66 COMPANY||Baton Rouge||LA||$1,000.66|
|ACADIAN AMBULANCE EMPLOYEE PAC||Lafayette||LA||$1,000.00|
|BEYOND CONSULTING LLC||Lafayette||LA||$1,000.00|
|JEI MANAGERS DISBURSEMENTS ACCT||Golden||CO||$1,000.00|
|LABORDE EARLES LAW FIRM||Lafayette||LA||$1,000.00|
|LOUISIANA REALTORS PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$1,000.00|
|MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LP||Findlay||OH||$1,000.00|
|PRESSURE WASHERS SALES AND RENTALS||Broussard||LA||$1,000.00|
|SCHILLING DISTRIBUTING COMPANY OPERATING ACCOUNT||Lafayette||LA||$1,000.00|
|SMOKE N GO||Abbeville||LA||$1,000.00|
|ACADIAN OAKS NURSING HOME ASSN||Lafayette||LA||$1,000.00|
|AMERICAN PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURANCE ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACCOUNT||Chicago||IL||$1,000.00|
|IIABL INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS & BROKERS OF LOUISIANA||Baton Rouge||LA||$1,000.00|
|S. TROY MILLER, DDS, APDC||Lafayette||LA||$1,000.00|
|CHARTER SCHOOLS USA||Ft. Lauderdale||FL||$1,000.00|
|INTERNATIONAL PAPER POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE||Washington||DC||$1,000.00|
|MERCK SHARP & DOHME CORP.||Whitehouse Station||NJ||$750.00|
|CHEVRON POLICY AND GOVT & PUBLIC AFFAIRS||Concord||CA||$700.00|
|WICK COMMUNICATIONS CO||Sierra Vista||AZ||$684.00|
|A/D CONSULTING, LLC||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|BARCZYK CHIROPRACTIC GROUP||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|COURSON NICKEL LLC||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|ELI LILLY AND COMPANY PAC||Indianapolis||IN||$500.00|
|ENERGY TRANSFER PAC||Austin||TX||$500.00|
|HORSEMANS ALLIANCE||New Orleans||LA||$500.00|
|KENNETH ODINET JR||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|LA ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|LOUISIANA MANUFACTURED HOUSING ASSOCIATION||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|LOUISIANA NURSING HOME PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|P. ANDRE FRUGE||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|THOMSON SMITH & LEACH INSURANCE GROUP||Franklin||LA||$500.00|
|T E WILLIAMS||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|COMCAST FINANCIAL AGENCY CORP.||Philadelphia||PA||$500.00|
|R J FONSECA, JR||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|GARRETT GRAVES FOR CONGRESS||Beverly||MA||$500.00|
|JONES WALKER||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|SCOTT L KERSETTER||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|LA DENTAL PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|LOUISIANA CHIROPRACTIC PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|LOUISIANA OIL MARKETERS & CONVENIENCE STORE ASSOCIATION PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$500.00|
|MARIGNY CAPITAL SERVICES||New Orleans||LA||$500.00|
|MY ROUSES #998||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|CHRIS L RADER||Lafayette||LA||$500.00|
|GENEPAC||So. San Frisco||CA||$500.00|
|PHILLIPS 66 COMPANY||Baton Rouge||LA||$498.02|
|LOUISIANA NURSING HOME PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$450.00|
|BP NORTH AMERICA EMPLOYEE PAC||Houston||TX||$350.00|
|PATRICK L OTTINGER||Lafayette||LA||$300.00|
|COURSON NICKEL LLC||Baton Rouge||LA||$250.00|
|ISC CONSTRUCTORS LLC||Baton Rouge||LA||$250.00|
|JESSE KEVIN DUPLECHAIN M.D.||Lafayette||LA||$250.00|
|JOHN J. GUILBEAU||Lafayette||LA||$250.00|
|MONSANTO COMPANY||St. Louis||MO||$250.00|
|MONSANTO COMPANY||St. Louis||MO||$250.00|
|UP RAILROAD||Baton Rouge||LA||$250.00|
|AT&T SERVICES, INC.||Baton Rouge||LA||$250.00|
|BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY||Fort Worth||TX||$250.00|
|CORNERSTONE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS||Baton Rouge||LA||$250.00|
|STEVE L GARDES||Lafayette||LA||$250.00|
|AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS INC||Mesa||AZ||$250.00|
|LA ORTHOPEDIC PAC||Baton Rouge||LA||$250.00|
|MONSANTO COMPANY||St. Louis||MO||$250.00|
|WALGREENS FAMILY OF COMPANIES||Deerfield||IL||$250.00|
The idea Bishop is independent of “outside influences” is an unmitigated, ridiculous lie and an abject insult to the people of Louisiana. He ought to give every dime of that money back or be charged for fraud.
And Bishop was on KPEL Radio Tuesday morning attempting to defend his statements and actions. It didn’t go well at all. If you have 15 minutes, it’s well worth your time to hear how weakly the apparent de-facto House Speaker defends himself.
Schexnayder, in his own speech, parroted the same line about how it’s important for the House to be free of “outside” influences and how all the decisions ought to be made inside those brass rails.
And Paula Davis, who from what we understand is going to chair either the Insurance Committee or the Ways and Means Committee, also parroted that line in a tweet on Monday…
We were sworn in today for a new four-year term then elected a conservative Republican for Speaker of the House, truly independent of outside influencers. #LaLege pic.twitter.com/5gXbKPcCo4
— Paula Davis (@RepPaulaDavis) January 13, 2020
Please understand what they’re saying here.
What they’re really responding to is the campaign by the Louisiana Committee for a Conservative Majority, which raised and spent millions of dollars to produce what’s supposed to be the most conservative state legislature in Louisiana history, and particularly Sen. John Kennedy and Attorney General Jeff Landry who chair LCCM, to elect Sherman Mack as the House Speaker.
Davis said on Twitter that she was opposed to a “billboard trial lawyer” as the Speaker, which she’s correct that Mack is.
These people might have a point, if they were telling the truth about what they did. But they’re lying through their teeth.
First of all, when your candidate for Speaker wins because 35 of his 60 votes come from Democrats delivered to him by Edwards making phone calls and whipping the vote for him, you simply are not allowed to claim that this is a speakership which is independent of outside influences. The Governor is not inside those brass rails. He is no more appropriate an influence on the House’s leadership – assuming the House wishes to remain independent as they were during the four years of Taylor Barras’ speakership which just concluded on Monday – than Jeff Landry, John Kennedy or Lane Grigsby, whose name they’re all trashing now.
It’s a lie, it’s a disingenuous lie, and it’s not even a lie well-told. It’s evidence these people are crappy, uninspired, talentless politicians who honestly don’t care what the rationale is for their own power so long as they get it.
This isn’t just an opinion, by the way. It’s a fact. Because what happened on Monday morning before the vote went down, as reported by the Advocate’s Sam Karlin and corroborated by our own sources who were in the room, proves it…
Republicans backing Mack knew they didn’t have the votes on Monday morning, hours before the House was set to vote for speaker, Miguez said. Members convened in an “emergency” delegation meeting, where Mack agreed to step down as a speaker candidate and back a third candidate if Schexnayder stepped down also, he said. But Schexnayder had nailed down more than the 53 votes needed to win and stayed in the race.
What we’ve heard from multiple people who were there was that the majority of the delegation offered up Lance Harris, Ray Garofalo and Jack McFarland as options for a middle way between Mack and Schexnayder so that the Republicans would be in control of selecting the leadership of a House with a near-supermajority of Republicans in it.
Schexnayder, who for more than six weeks had declared to anyone who would listen that he would not accept a speakership paid for with Democrat votes, made a liar of himself when he had an opportunity to put that statement of principle into practice. He chose power over his own word. And several of his supporters had vowed not to support a speakership built on Democrat votes, which was a lie.
And no, the condemnation of Mack as a trial lawyer doesn’t wash. Not when you were given an opportunity to compromise and support one of the three other candidates.
Schexnayder ended up with 60 votes, 23 of them Republicans. Several of those had been with Mack and threw in with Schexnayder when it was obvious he had won simply as a means of gaining favor with the winning candidate and perhaps dragging a good committee assignment out of the new status quo. What that meant, though, was that at the time Schexnayder refused to compromise, which would likely have given him the Speaker Pro Tem position as a consolation prize, he was only a few votes away from being in the same position as Mack – namely, that he couldn’t get a majority. He was probably sitting at not much more than 55 votes.
Which means this speakership is built on a handful of Republican state representatives who fraudulently declared themselves as supporters of the principle that a Republican majority should choose a Republican speaker before selling that principle out. They had an opportunity to melt off of Schexnayder in the face of a potential compromise Speaker, which would have forced Schexnayder to make a deal and end up as the Speaker Pro Tem in a solidly Republican and solidly conservative House.
Mack ended up with 45 votes. All of those 45 would have likely backed any of the three compromise candidates. All that was needed was eight more Republicans coming away from a majority-Democrat coalition, as many of them promised they would if it came to that, and yet they made themselves liars by sticking with Schexnayder.
We’ll not name names of those people at this time.
Instead, here are the 23 Republicans who voted for a lie, for whatever reasons they might have chosen.
Jean Paul Coussan
Vinny St. Blanc
Be watching when the committee chairmanships are announced. And feel free, when you see how those turn out, to ask these 23 so-called Republicans whether it was worth it to effectively be John Bel Edwards’ pet poodle for the next four years.