Category Archives: Congress

DOLLAR BILL & THE DOZENS: CONGRESSIONAL RACE UPDATE

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 20:31:35

Thus far the campaign for Louisiana’s Second Congressional District has been a real snoozer. I *wish* that the dozen candidates who have filed against Dollar Bill were really giving him the dozens but so far they’ve been flying below radar. None of the supposed major candidates Karen Carter Troy Carter Derrick Shepherd Joe Lavigne or Regina Bartholomew has done much to distinguish themselves. Karen Carter has picked up some major endorsements: Oliver Thomas and Cynthia Hedgehog-Morrell to name a few. Joe Lavigne got into trouble with some local Repubs with his ads blasting President Beavis but he’s a non-factor in the long run anyway: the chances that the Second District will send a white Republican to Congress are slim and none. I’m listing Lavigne as a “major candidate” as a courtesy: I’ve met him at two events and he seems to be a nice guy. He’s also the only Republican on the ballot so he should be able to fall out of bed and get 10% of the vote in a primary. Thud.

There are two polls out as of now. The first one sounds reliable. Jeff Crouere at Bayou Buzz has reported on a poll conducted by Verne Kennedy. It confirms that Dollar Bill is in trouble: he’s running first but with only 25%; truly horrible numbers for an eight term incumbent. Karen Carter is at 14% Lavigne at 13% and Shepherd at 9%. Shepherd seems to be running as the West Bank regional candidate: he’s been endorsed by Councilman James Carter and his predecessor Jackie Clarkson.

The second poll is being touted by Joe Lavigne on his web site: it’s based on the dubious proposition that he’ll get into a run-off with Dollar Bill. The “poll” shows Dollar Bill with 31% and Lavigne at 29% with the rest undecided. It’s good for a chuckle snort snigger or cackle and that’s all. If Joe Lavingne makes a run-off against Dollar Bill I’ll eat a piece of pickled herring. That’s how confident I am that it won’t happen.

The bad news for those of us who want change is that Dollar Bill’s legal problems remain on hold because of litigation involving the search of his Congressional Office. TPM Muckraker’s Paul Kiel reported last week that Jefferson is unlikely to be indicted before Election Day:

That’s not due to weakness in the Justice Department’s case — documents from the investigation show that the government has a wealth of evidence based on surveillance an FBI informant’s taping of conversations and the testimony of two men who’ve pled guilty to bribing Jefferson. Prosecutors are reportedly very close to an indictment. Rather the case is bogged down in litigation resulting from the FBI’s raid of Jefferson’s congressional office.

 Sources close to the case tell Roll Call‘s John Bresnahan that the DoJ is unlikely to indict Jefferson without the documents seized from his office. They’re still waiting to get those. A judge ruled in July that Jefferson must see them first; he gets a chance to contest certain materials being handed over based on his constitutional privilege. At issue is whether the docs qualify as legislative materials under the Speech or Debate Clause. The whole process is likely to go on through October meaning Jefferson won’t be forced to campaign under federal indictment.”

I’m beginning to wonder if Dollar Bill decided to refuse to turn over the documents from his office in order to force the Justice Department’s hand. Dollar Bill is as crafty as he is crooked so it’s not a stretch to believe that he anticipated how much shit would hit the fan after a search. It also allows him to campaign as a martyr at the hands of Bush’s DoJ and FBI. It’s not a bad campaign strategy but it’s a lousy legal strategy where he’ll be tried: Northern Virginia land of civil servants and retired military officers.

Now that a pre-election indictment is out I think that Dollar Bill will be able to ooze back into office unless his opponents stop sparring and start punching in earnest. I hope that I’m wrong but the real race is probably for second place. It should be very interesting whatever happens.

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THE DOLLAR BILL DOZEN

 Tue, 15 Aug 2006 19:01:46

No this is NOT a song list but a post about our Klepto Congressman’s declared foes. (I can’t believe it took me this long to sing a song of Dollar Bill: I risked losing my “All Dollar Bill All The Time” accreditation.) There are 9 wannabes 1 longshot and 2 who have a shot at taking out Dollar Bill.

I list former councilman and state legislator Troy Carter as a longshot. His 2002 Mayoral campaign tanked and he’s divided his time between here and North Carolina since leaving office. The one thing Carter has going for him is that he’s from the West Bank and if they still remember him that’s a plus. Frankly he was an empty suit on the Council and I don’t know whether or not his campaign will take-off. But ya never know.

The 2 contenders are State Senator Derrick Shepherd and State Rep. Karen Carter. Shepherd has two major liabilities: he’s from Marrero and he has the reputation of being the political equivalent of nomadic basketball coach Larry Brown. The Marrero base could be an advantage in the primary BUT a major disadvantage in the run-off. I’m an ABDB voter BUT do I want a Congressman from Marrero? Not bloody likely…

That brings me to Karen Carter. She’s smart articulate and reform minded. She’s one of the black legislators who refused to drink the C Ray as Civil Rights hero Kool-Aid and supported Mitch. She’s also the BOLD candidate and they’re the only alphabet soup political organization that still has any influence. If I were voting today it would be for Ms. Carter.

Dollar Bill still has a chance to be re-elected: he’s going to play the martyr card for all it’s worth. I expect an October indictment which has more to do with national Republican strategy than anything else. It will be a very interesting and very dirty campaign. Dollar Bill’s machine depends on his position for the money to keep the engine lubed. If he loses the wheels will fall off the machine. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Hell even if he gets his sleazy ass re-elected Dollar Bill is likely to be rooming with Rob Ney or Duke Cunningham in a Club Fed by this time next year.

ALL DOLLAR BILL, ALL THE TIME

Thu, 18 May 2006 13:31:57

Another day another post about the decline and fall of Congressman Dollar Bill Jefferson. There were two pieces in the local rag this morning about our hopefully soon to be former Congressman. The first story about the House Ethics Committee opening an investigation into Dollar Bill was buried on page 18. I hate to be fair to the Picayune but this really was one of those “all in all it’s just another brick in the wall” stories.

The second Dollar Bill piece is by my homey ace Picayune political columnist Stephanie Grace. It’s written in the form of an epistolary reply to Dollar Bill’s statement the other day. I particularly enjoyed this “in yo’ face” passage:

You all but predicted that an indictment is looming yet you vowed to stay in office to fight the allegations for as long as it takes even if it takes years. You asked us your constituents for understanding and patience and you apologized for the “the predicament we are now enduring together.”

But I’m here to say that it’s not my predicament. I live in post-Katrina New Orleans which means that like the rest of your district I’ve got predicaments of my own.

So sorry Congressman but this one’s all on you.”

That’s tellin’ him Stephanie.  It’s a red letter day here at the Adrastos Virtual Cafe. <groaning at his own sight gag>

It’s a pity that Dollar Bill’s looming troubles won’t impact his machine’s GOTV (get out the vote) effort on behalf of his assessor sister Betty and his lackey Renee Gill-Pratfall. I had hoped that would happen in the primary but Dollar Bill’s paid poll workers were out in force. But Saturday may well be the last hurrah for the Jefferson machine as we know and loathe it.

Finally my NOLA blogging colleague dangerblond had an excellent post the other day about both the Sopranos and the Bill Jeffersons. The latter family is no longer movin’ on up because they got greedy and took too big a slice of the pie…

CASINO JACK ABRAMOFF & BOB LIVINGSTON’S ZIPPER PROBLEM?

Thu, 26 Jan 2006 06:07:18

An interesting Louisiana related piece of political gossip from Josh Marshall:

Hmmm. Can’t say that’s an angle that would have occurred to me. This off New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams’ column today “Jack Abramoff’s partner Mike Scanlon admitted to digging up former Congressman Robert Livingston’s private life. Set to become speaker Livingston then got sidelined for Tom DeLay’s man Denis Hastert. Prosecutors now checking if Abramoff and Scanlon took Livingston down at DeLay’s behest.”

For now I’ll stick with ‘hmmm’. But I’m eager to hear more. “

Adrastos sez: Hmm indeed. Bob Livingston used to be the Repub Congressman from Metairie. He ran as the sole Repub in the 1987 Governor’s race and finished a dismal third. The campaign was so lame that Le Guv (aka Edwin Edwards) called Bobo the dumbest son-of-a-bitch in Louisiana politics. That summed Livingston up rather nicely but he was a useful idiot who rose through the ranks of House Repubs becoming Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Livingston for a brief moment was on the verge of becoming Speaker after Newt Gingrich was squeezed out because of his arrogance incompetence and inability to keep either his lip or fly zipped. Livingston’s own zipper problems were leaked to the uncharming Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine repute which led to Livinsgton’s resigning from Congress. He was succeeded in the House by current Louisiana Senator D Vingnut. Thanks Larry. Grrr…

One thing that has struck me during the post-Katrina political crisis is how much political clout Louisiana once had in Congress and how little it was used to deal with our *real* problems: poverty education health care and above all else proper levees and coastal erosion. We had big-time clout over the years: from Hale Boggs to Russell Long to Allan Ellender to Bennett Johnston to Edward Hebert to Bob Livingston to Billy Tauzin to John Breaux. They were all too busy pandering to special interests and delivering a steady diet of highway pork and failed to address our achilles heel: flood control. What a waste of power and influence.

Back to the potential Abramoff/Scanlon takedown of Bobo Livingston. It would be a real bombshell if they went after Bobo at the Bug Man’s behest. It’s my understanding that Abramoff and Scanlon are ratting out everyone they can to save their own scurvy butts. 2006 should be a very interesting year in politics; especially if the Bug Man gets sprayed by his bag man and his bag man’s bag man. (No bag man not bagette or bagel. I’m talking about the green kind of bread not bread dough. Dough? It’s all very confusing. Let’s call the whole thing off. ) If the Bug Man gets squashed the same guys who are now pretending NOT to know Jack Abramoff will be pretending NOT to know Tom DeLay. That’s gonna be a tough sell even for Repub spin/smear masters Ken Mehlman and Turd Blossom Rove.