Mary Landrieu, already the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, has found herself an opponent that may be even more formidable than State Treasurer John Kennedy. The liberal-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is accusing Landrieu of breaking federal bribery laws. If Landrieu wants to get past this, she better come up with a much better explanation than this.
The evidence? Last year, Landrieu met with Randy Best, the founder of Voyager, an educational products company. Shortly after the meeting, a member of Landrieu’s staff asked Best to host a fundraiser for Landrieu. Four days after she received the contributions - $30,000 worth, all from people who had never before contributed to her - Landrieu earmarked $2 million for a Voyager reading program. Landrieu had received the request for the earmark a little over six months earlier, yet somehow she didn’t get around to putting in the earmark until she received the contributions.
In a state that recently elected Bobby Jindal as its Governor, this is a huge problem for Landrieu. Corruption is nothing new in Louisiana politics, but it does seem that the voters have finally gotten sick of it. It is an understatement to state that it strains at the credible to assert that there was no connection between the $30,000 in
contributions investments and the earmark. She was already in enough trouble in a state in which Republicans won the last two Presidential elections, the most recent gubernatorial election, and, for the first time since Reconstruction, the last Senate election. Now she will be faced with at least ethics allegations, if not a formal Senate investigation, during the ten months leading up to her reelection.
The voters of Louisiana, and of the nation, deserve a much better explanation than Landrieu has provided. Democrats ran Republicans out of Congress in 2006 based largely on corruption, and this sullies that message terribly. The culture of hypocrisy has struck yet again, and Louisianans owe it to the rest of us to clean up their part of the mess. If you want to help them fulfill that responsibility, you can make a contribution here.