I don’t like writing these solicitations any more than you enjoy reading them.

But the facts are I am retired and on a fixed income. The work of generating stories for LouisianaVoice is a fast-paced and sometimes expensive proposition that more and more often involves travel to places like Lake Charles, New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe, and sometimes even to Mississippi to wrap up the loose ends for stories.

Also, there are times when I am forced to file lawsuits to obtain public records that state agencies, notably the Division of Administration and the Department of Education, should make readily available. And while the legal work does not cost me up front, the filings of legal documents (court costs) certainly does—usually several hundred dollars a pop.

These expenses add up. With the exception of a single book store in Denham Springs, I do not accept advertising (and even that is at no charge because the book store owner built this web page). Likewise, I do not charge a subscription fee (I want these stories available to anyone who wants to keep up with stories about state government that other news outlets do not cover).

Accordingly, last year (after four years of doing this absolutely free) I initiated twice yearly fundraisers to help defray expenses. This month, I am conducting my second and final fundraiser of 2015 and I need your help. LouisianaVoice has nearly 3,000 subscribers. If each gave only a dollar, that would certainly help. (Of course, some subscribers wouldn’t pour water on me if I were on fire, but that’s okay.) Five dollars each would easily put the fundraiser way over the top.

Realistically, however, only a handful usually contribute. Many are in no financial condition as they also are on a fixed income and I certainly understand that.

But to sweeten the pot I’m offering a free signed copy of Louisiana Rocks: The True Genesis of Rock & Roll to those contributing $50 to $149. Those chipping in $150 to $250 will get a signed copy of my upcoming book on the eight-year Bobby Jindal train wreck (as yet untitled but completed and now in the hands of the publisher and due for publication in early February). Anyone contributing $250 or more will get signed copies of both books.

Those who have already contributed in those amounts for this fund drive are qualified and will receive the book(s). If you have already given any of those amounts, please email me at louisianavoice@yahoo.com and give me your mailing address.

To contribute, please click on the yellow “Donate” button at the upper right to pay by credit card or you may mail checks to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727

As always, a sincere and humble thanks to all of you for making LouisianaVoice a success.

Tom Aswell


With all that’s going on with the Louisiana State Police, it has become easy to overlook the fact that we will be voting in a little more than two weeks for someone to try to undo the damage done by eight years of the Jindal carnage inflicted upon this state. (Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the State Police in a day or so.)

The governor’s race, unlike those of past years, has failed to generate a lot of interest among voters. That’s probably because the media has convinced us that U.S. Sen. David Vitter is a lock to be our next governor. I mean, who could possibly get excited over an election when we’re being told that it’s inevitable that the pariah of femininity will be our next governor?

Speaking of the media, the questions posed in the televised debates thus far have been nothing short of disgraceful. It’s no wonder that people are turned off by this year’s election. How, after all, does Kim Davis even begin to figure in the issues facing Louisiana’s next governor? That question was just plain stupid and a huge waste of time.

And who put the media in charge of anointing winners even before an election? Do our votes actually count anymore? (We will be addressing those questions shortly.)

First of all, what self-respecting Republican woman in Louisiana would ever cast a vote for someone like Dave Vitter? For that matter, what Republican woman would ever allow her husband to vote for this man who has only contempt for women as exhibited by the fact that:

  • He frequented prostitutes in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans;
  • He kept an aide, Brent Furer, on his payroll for more than a year after Furer held his ex-girlfriend hostage, threatened to kill her and in fact, attacked her with a knife. Vitter denied Furer was assigned to women’s issues. Furer’s title? Legislative Assistant on Women’s Issues.
  • He voted a year ago to block the Paycheck Fairness Act despite the fact that Louisiana ranks second-worst in the nation in gender pay disparity.

We say Republican women only because we feel it’s a foregone conclusion no Democrat woman would ever vote for this man who continues to refuse to address his personal and public issues with women.

But all that aside, let’s look at the real reason that Vitter is considered a favorite to make the runoff against Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Money. Lots of money.

And that brings us to the questions we posed earlier: Who anoints the winners and do our votes really count?

First of all, a super PAC is established for his benefit. Super PACs are the scourge of the democratic process, folks. End of discussion. And his Super PAC, ironically dubbed The Fund for Louisiana’s Future in what must have been someone’s idea of a cruel joke, had more than $3 million on hand at the end of 2014. And that doesn’t even count the money he has raised directly in corporate and special interest contributions.

The very existence of the Super PAC teetered on the edge of legality and was approved only after a court fight. Super PACs are barred from coordinating with candidates’ campaigns but if you believe Vitter has not involved himself in the decision-making process of The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, I’ve got some beautiful beachfront property near that Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish for sale really cheap.

If you trust Vitter even for a nano-second, I’ve got a straitjacket in just your size.

His Super PAC aside, Vitter has another $4 million on hand as we head into the final stretch for the first primary on Oct. 24. As anyone not in a coma must surely know, The Fund for Louisiana’s Future has already initiated a media blitz attacking Vitter’s two Republican opponents, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle on the assumption that he must eliminate them to get into the runoff. He apparently is holding off on attacking State Rep. John Bel Edwards until the second primary.

Compare that to $1.6 million for Darden who has yet to crank up his TV ad campaign, $1.4 million for Edwards, and $1 million for Angelle.

Far more telling, however, is an examination of who contributes and where those contributions are coming from.

For that, we pulled only the contributions of those giving the maximum allowable $5,000. To go deeper would have just taken far too much space.

Before we begin our look into the contributions, ask yourself this question: If you give $100 or even $250 to a candidate and he is elected and down the road your interests conflict with a donor who coughed up the $5,000 maximum, who do you think will get the politician’s ear? What chance would you have in such a scenario? We thought so.

This is not a hypothetical, folks. This is real. It’s not Monopoly money. It’s money poured into campaigns by special interests who have a reason for parting with their money—and the reason is not their hunger for good, honest government that motivates them.

Remember that if you remember nothing else when you walk into that voting booth on Oct. 24.

You are a moving part in a very large machine that is being lubricated with cash in order to turn out legislation that benefits any number of special interests, none of whom even knows who you are. When you exit the voting booth, that big money has no more use for your services—until the next election cycle.

Cold? Callused? Jaded? Yes, yes, and yes. But we at LouisianaVoice are pragmatists, not idealists. We as a society do not pledge allegiance to the flag; we pledge allegiance to the oil companies, the banks, Wall Street, and major contractors. Sorry if we burst anyone’s bubble, but facts are facts, unpleasant though they may well be. Here’s another little factoid: the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist. Chew on that for a while, tea partiers.

Looking just at $5,000 contributions, we find that Vitter had 970 donors putting up the maximum, or $4.85 million. That’s a huge—very huge—chunk of his total contributions. Of that 970, there were 164 (17 percent) from out of state. That’s $820,000—more than the total of all the $5,000 contributions to Edwards and only $30,000 less than those of Dardenne.

Angelle barely had a third as many $5,000 contributors (340 for $1.7 million). Of those 340, no fewer than 81 (24 percent) were from out of state. Like Vitter, the $5,000 contributors made up a sizable block of his total campaign contributions. Where does that leave the $5, $10 and $20 contributors in the overall scheme of things?

From those figures, the numbers dropped precipitously for Dardenne and Edwards. Dardenne received 170 contributions of $5,000 each for a total of $850,000, about half of his total contributions, according to records obtained from the State Ethics Commission. Sixteen, or 9.4 percent, were from out of state.

Edwards recently issued a press release touting the low number of out-of-state contributors to his campaign. Records show that he received 114 contributions of $5,000 each for a total of $570,000. Only three of those, or 2.6 percent, were from out-of-state, in his case, all three from Texas.

This is an important election and Louisiana citizens need to get up off the couch, put down that bag of chips and forget about football for the few minutes that it takes to act on this state’s future.

No matter who wins, it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get this state back on the course of recovery after eight years of neglect, abuse, and outright corruption. The new governor is going to inherit a massive deficit, all manner of problems from higher education and public education, the state hospital privatization mess, a world-leading incarceration rate, corporate welfare (Stephen Waguespack’s protestations notwithstanding), and one of the highest poverty rates in the country, to name but a few.

So here is one last question to ask yourself before you enter that voting booth:

Do you vote for the candidate who had the most money to saturate the television airwaves with ads containing half-truths and outright lies, a candidate who is bought and paid for by Wall Street, the pharmaceutical firms, big oil, the major banks and similar special interests or do you vote for the candidate who you truly feel will devote his efforts to addressing the state’s problems head-on?

The state’s future dos not belong to The Fund for Louisiana’s Future. That vote-buying Super PAC is not even in Louisiana; it’s in Washington, D.C.

The state’s future instead belongs to you.

The choice is yours.

Our October fund raiser continues and we’ve got a deal for you! (And don’t forget to forward this message on social media.)

As you know, I have one book, Louisiana Rocks: The True Genesis of Rock & Roll, which has been on the shelves for nearly five years now.

But I have another book which will examine the less than stellar performance of Bobby Jindal during his eight years in office. As yet untitled, that book is due for publication in early February with plans to release an e-book in January.

So here’s the deal:

Everyone who contributes $50 to $149 will get a signed copy of Louisiana Rocks. For those contributing $150 to $249, a signed Jindal book. For those contributing $250 or more, you will get signed copies of both books.

Those of you who have already contributed these amounts for this fundraiser, don’t worry. You have already qualified.

If you qualify for one or more books, please email me your mailing address to louisianavoice@yahoo.com

Now we aren’t going to blow smoke up your toga and try and tell you the books are free. Obviously, you would be paying far more than retail value for them.

But that’s not the point. The point is you will be helping us continue our coverage of your state government with stories other news outlets tend to ignore. While others focus on the nuts and bolts of procedural, fiscal and policy matters (and those are important, to be sure), we peel back the layers to give you a good, long look at why things are done by elected and appointed officials, who their actions favor, and how their actions affect you, the Louisiana citizen.

The books are simply our way of saying thank you so very much for your support because we need that support to continue our work. We’re being called on to travel more and more outside Baton Rouge to pursue these stories and that gets expensive.

Your support is vital to that effort.

Please click on the yellow “Donate” button at the upper right to pay by credit card and give what you can to ensure the continued work of LouisianaVoice. This is our final fundraiser of 2015 and we need your help.

If you prefer to not pay by credit card, you may mail checks to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727

As always, thanks so much for your continued support.

Tom Aswell


When State Police Capt. Barry Branton, a supervisor with a previously unblemished record, approved a Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) on fellow Troop D Lt. Harlan Chris Guillory, it did not seem to matter that Guillory was indeed found to be abusing prescription drugs while on duty.

Instead, Guillory was subsequently promoted to captain and made Commander of Troop D while Branton was placed on administrative leave and demoted the rank of lieutenant. He appealed and eventually reached a settlement by agreeing to accept the demotion in exchange for having the suspension expunged from his record and his receiving full back pay.

But the bottom line was Branton was demoted for initiating a PMP out of concern for the professionalism of a fellow officer.

That stands in stark contrast to the decision not to punish a state trooper in Washington Parish after he and his brother, a DEA agent, were reported to have threatened a Metairie lawyer with bodily harm, imprisonment, and closure of his law practice—all over the issue of the attorney’s having parked his vehicle near their deer stand in December of 2012.

Michael Gahagan, a Metairie immigration attorney, on Tuesday provided LouisianaVoice with a three-page affidavit he filed with the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office following a December 21, 2012, confrontation with State Police Captain Kevin Devall and his brother, Drug Enforcement Agent Page Devall.

Both men are the sons of Hammond Police Chief Roddy Devall who is said to be a strong supporter of State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson.

Gahagan told LouisianaVoice that he was “assaulted, threatened, and abducted by the brothers after they blocked his truck which he said was parked on the roadside next to a hunting lease controlled by the Parish Line Hunting Club. Gahagan said he was a member of the club and was hunting from his deer stand around 4 p.m. on December 21 when he heard an all-terrain vehicle drive up to his truck and stop and then leave after a few minutes.

He said he climbed down from his deer stand about 5:15 intending to drive home only to find his truck blocked by Kevin Devall’s full-sized white pickup truck and a black trailer. When he asked the brothers, who were standing nearby, to move, they approached him cursing and grabbing the front of his shirt with their faces touching his.

He said he broke free and began walking backwards down the road that led away from his truck and into the woods in an effort to get away from them. He said as he walked backward, he extended his hands in front in an effort to keep them at arms’ length. All the while, he said the brothers were screaming threats at him. Page Devall yelled that he was a DEA agent and that “I kick in doors for a living” as he repeatedly “reached out and put his finger in my face and pushed my face,” Gahagan said.

Kevin Devall, he said, boasted that “I make the laws in Louisiana” and that he “would throw me in jail for the rest of my life and take away my law license if I didn’t do what he said.”

Fearing that he would be severely beaten or even killed, he considered drawing his handgun that he was carrying in his back waistband. He said he is a registered concealed carry permit holder and that if the two had not been police officers, “I would have defended myself and shot and killed them in order to prevent a beating and escape the attack and illegal detention.”

Because the two men were police officers, he said, “I chose not to draw and fire my handgun,” he said. “I did not use deadly force to defend myself because I was afraid what would happen to me after I was arrested by other police officers for shooting a police officer in self-defense.”

He said after about 45 minutes of repeated threats from the two, Kevin Devall ordered him into the Devalls’ ATV “so that he would drive me back into the woods and show me where he would allow me to park my vehicle.”

Before getting into the ATV, Gahagan was ordered by Paige Devall to disarm “or we will never let you leave,” he said. Gahagan said he removed his handgun and placed it into his truck and locked the truck. “Then Paige Devall gave me a full-body pat down (without probable cause or reasonable suspicion that I had committed any crime).”

Gahagan said he was then driven “several miles” into the woods and shown where he would be allowed to park.

He said he was finally allowed to leave the area around 8 p.m., nearly three hours after his ordeal began.

Following the confrontation, State Police Internal Affairs conducted an investigation of the allegations during which Gahagan was administered a polygraph test but neither of the Devalls were required to take a polygraph.

That was similar to the case of State Police Lieutenant John Cannon who was accused by a woman of twice paying her to have sex, once in the rear seat of his patrol car. The woman was given a polygraph but Cannon was not even though he did admit to twice having sex with her while on duty but denied paying for sex.

Two other significant events followed Gahagan’s encounter with the Devalls, he said.

First, Parish Line Hunting Club discontinued the Devalls’ membership at the hunting lease and after Gahagan filed a formal complaint against Paige Devall with his employer, DEA, Gahagan, his wife and his law practice were subjected to IRS audits. “I had never been audited by the IRS before in my life,” he said. “It seems awfully coincidental that I would be hit with three simultaneous audits at that particular time.”

LouisianaVoice has made a formal public records request to State Police for Kevin Devall’s personnel file and all Internal Affairs investigative reports on him.

Here is the sworn affidavit Gahagan filed with the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office following his encounter with the Devalls (Warning: this document contains graphic language that may be offensive to some): AFFIDAVIT OF MICHAEL GAHAGAN

Nor was the 2012 incident the last time that Kevin Devall has had a complaint filed against him.

About 16 months later, on April 22, 2014, the estranged wife of St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta filed a formal complaint against Kevin Devall for the manner in which he investigated her report that her husband, a former police officer, had forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her the previous October. Here is her formal complaint: SHARON PERALTA COMPLAINT

Sharon Peralta said Devall, instead of arresting her husband, was laughing and joking with Dave Peralta on the front lawn and that her husband was never handcuffed but instead was allowed to walk around the front lawn freely. “I was told to leave and they would handle things from there,” she was quoted as saying by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. She said Dave Peralta subsequently intimidated her into dropping charges against him. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/04/state_police_probe_sharon_pera.html#incart_email

It took exactly five days after Mrs. Peralta’s charges were made public for State Police Internal Affairs to clear Devall of any improper conduct in the manner in which he conducted his investigation. http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2014/04/state_police_clear_captain_of.html

But on April 23, a St. Bernard Parish grand jury indicted Dave Peralta on a charge of sexual battery, which could have carried a 10-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors dismissed that case on a technicality in April but in August of this year, Peralta was re-indicted by a St. Bernard Parish grand jury that accused him of using parish employees to help him stalk his ex-wife as well as other offenses. In September of 2014, he was indicted by a St. Tammany Parish grand jury on charges of felony stalking and in May of this year, he was indicted by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on three counts of filing false reports and for perjury.

Please forward this post with your social media contacts and encourage your friends who read LouisianaVoice and who appreciate the work we do in exposing wrongdoing, double standards, undue political influence and favoritism in state and local government to help us continue in these efforts.

LouisianaVoice is conducting its last fundraiser of this year (we hold only two per year) and we need your support so that we can not only continue doing the job that we have been doing for more than five years, but so we can expand our efforts and give this state a good scrubbing of the best antiseptic going: sunshine.

That statement in our masthead is much more than a slogan, it is the creed by which we exist. Read the words carefully and let them sink in: “It is understandable when a child is afraid of the dark but unforgivable when a man fears the light.” We strive to shine the light on those who fear it the most. If an elected official or political appointee attempts to uphold the oath of his office to serve the people of this state to the best of his ability, he or she has nothing to fear from us. But the moment you grant special favors to a political contributor or the moment you use the powers of your position to do something that is not ethical or above board, our spotlight will be on you.

To accomplish this, we need the support of our readers. With one exception, we don’t accept advertising. Nor do we charge a subscription fee for our blog because we want everyone to have access to our work. The only support remaining to us is your generosity and your commitment to continued sound, honest investigative reporting.

Please help by clicking on the yellow “Donate” button to the right to pay by credit card. If you prefer, you may mail checks to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727

Thank you.

Tom Aswell



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