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Will Ethics Board act on more than just Richard?

OK, so the Louisiana Board of Ethics got state Rep. Dee Richard. What’s the holdup on everybody else?

Next week, the Board reportedly will announce a settlement with Richard over $37,000 in campaign funds he apparently misspent. R.S. 18:1505.2 states that campaign funds shall not be used, loaned, or pledged by any person for any personal use unrelated to a political campaign. Richard will admit he spent that on gambling, an addiction he maintains he developed as a result of taking legally-prescribed medication.

A dose of irony comes along with that. Richard has made a career in the Legislature in efforts to reduce the addiction that state government has to spending money, and now he gets busted over his own profligate, illegal spending. Term-limited but not intending to resign early over the incident, his district’s voters now may decide whether to attempt his recall over this breach of trust.


Edwards' model unlikely to gain his party's favor

Can Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards teach Democrats how to win in the South? The answer to this title of a recent Politico website story is more pessimistic than it lets on.

Written by my The Advocate colleague Tyler Bridges, who pumped this out as he left for a fall semester gig as a Shorenstein Media Fellow at Harvard University, it explores whether Democrats elsewhere in the region can transport Edwards’ shock win in 2015 to their own turfs. Bridges gives the effort some hope, writing that the “progressive” elements in Edwards’ governorship should convince his fellow partisans beyond the border to overlook his seeming anti-abortion views and support for the Second Amendment that produce a perception of him  by some as a social conservative.

But Bridges oversells this case – one that he admits isn’t that strong to begin with – in two important ways. First, Edwards’ fidelity to the playbook that gives Democrats their only shot to win in the South – at least pose as a social conservative while espousing class warfare – has serious holes in the first instance.


Will LA left indulge in fascism on donations?

Will the Scarlet D reverberate in Louisiana? More interestingly, how will cultural elites, especially on the political left, react to any appearance by it?

If delayed, it turns out that higher-dollar donors to former Louisiana state Rep. David Duke can face consequences for their support of the white supremacist’s U.S. Senate campaign last year. The Federal Election Commission reported 129 contributions of $250 or greater in 2015-16 – campaigns must report information on persons making these – to fund Duke’s effort, and it seems some have caught significant grief over this.

In California, business fell at a longtime restaurant forcing its closure because of boycotts over the owner’s gift. In Minnesota, many employees staged a walkout from a bar owned by a Duke donor.


Edwards' SNAP policy continues to hurt LA

It’s Labor Day, although one noxious policy decision by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards makes every day for some like Labor Day’s excuse for not having to work.

As soon as he entered office, Edwards rescinded his predecessor former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s last-minute change that allowed the state’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program waiver to expire. That allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to continue receiving food stamps beyond the three out of 36 months period unless working or in a training program for at least 20 hours a week.

Edwards later issued a cosmetic executive order allegedly addressing the open-ended nature of the benefit, mandating that recipients had to report regularly for job training centers – which they already had to do in many cases to receive unemployment insurance, replicating for SNAP the same undemanding requirement to draw that. This does little or nothing to encourage work, which withdrawal of SNAP benefits certainly would do, if history provides any guide.