Friday, November 28, 2014

Ethics panel time again

While everyone was busy with Thanksgiving, The Advocate picked up the Cassidy double-billing story.
The roughly 16 timesheets show Cassidy received the same $1,666.70 payment each month regardless of how many hours were booked. He was supposed to give “20 percent” effort, which would calculate out to about eight hours a week. Most of the time records show about 6 hours per week, sometimes less.

“The documents speak for themselves and certainly raise serious questions that Congressman Cassidy will have to answer,” Fabian Levy, a spokesman for the Landrieu campaign wrote in a prepared statement. “Congressman Cassidy may have taken home over $100,000 in taxpayer funds for work he never did.”

Levy pointed to LSU documents posted Tuesday on the websites of American Zombie and Cenlamar.com.
This is pretty clearly an ethics violation.  How serious it is, though, is open to interpretation. But I tend to agree at least a little bit with Jason and with Lamar that it's certainly not nothing.  It is at least as newsworthy as the Cassidy campaign's talking point about Mary Landrieu's travel expenses which our professional editorialists have been happy to assist in elevating to major issue status.

Those editorialists are now, just as stupidly, knocking this one down.  I have no idea how they pick and choose like that.  Seems like something you'd expect a "political blog" to do.
I don't even know why I'm reposting this moron but I broke my cardinal rule and tried to comment on Nola.com....of course it wouldn't let me.  Here's the comment I tried to post:

" I am not a political blogger.  YOU are a political blogger.  I am an actual journalist...you should learn the difference, dipshit."

He didn't even get the story right.....I have no idea why he thinks it's only about $20,000.  It's about lying about his medical malpractice insurance, it's about $100,000 over 5 years while only turning in 16 of 63 timesheets, it's about being tenured at LSU as a part-time employee when that is specifically against their policy, it's about whether or not he actually did the work he got paid for, it's about him lying to The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics.
So you've got one of NOLA.com's political bloggers discounting factual information because it was posted on some political blogs while himself misstating the facts. There's a long popular meme about "blogger ethics panels"  someone should refer to here, I think.

Anyway, the most exhausting thing about all of this is that getting bogged down in something like this is the dumbest way for Mary Landrieu to finish an already lame campaign. I'm told this stuff is coming out so late in the game because LSU has been dragging its feet with a public records request. And that is probably true, but if it is, the very fact that they finally let it go just before election day should tell you that even they know it's not very politically useful at this point.

Mary could have spent the final weeks of the campaign... or any portion of the campaign really... telling voters about why it matters to them whether they vote for her or for the other guy.  She could have talked about her commitment to preserve social security as compared to Cassidy's determination to raise the retirement age.  She could have taken some pride in her vote for the ACA and spent more time attacking Cassidy's opposition to the Medicaid expansion. (BTW, Cassidy's billing issue with LSU basically amounts to Medicaid fraud. You'd think he'd be in favor of putting more money in that pipeline.) 

Instead, she's mostly made her campaign about her deep and abiding love for the oil and gas industry.  And, now, I guess it's also about this last minute document dump.  So, you know, best of luck.

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