The Daily Kingfish blog http://dailykingfish.com/tag/superpac/, with an inadvertent assist from the Baton Rouge Advocate, http://theadvocate.com/columnists/6061634-55/around-washington-for-monday-may has given us an interesting angle on the new Super PAC set up on U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s behalf which conceivably could bring him some problems with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
LouisianaVoice also has come across an interesting bit of speculation beginning to make its way through the rumor mill that involves a possible Vitter run for governor.
It’s a tangled web that started with a demand by Washington attorney Charles Spies that the Louisiana Board of Ethics should fall in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that removed the limits that may be contributed to Super PACs.
Spies chairs the Fund for Louisiana (FFL), the Super PAC set up to help Vitter with either a run for governor in 2015 or for re-election to the Senate in 2016.
Spies, also co-founder of Restore Our Future PAC for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said in his filing with the Louisiana ethics board that if the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion abolishing the contributions to Super PACs is not granted and it is later determined by the courts that the state’s $100,000 limit “impermissibly infringe on constitutional rights, Fund for Louisiana’s Future will have suffered irreparable harm” and that “FFL’s political speech—and the political speech of others like it—is being burdened and chilled.”
But The Daily Kingfish noted that while Spies is the mover and shaker behind the effort to remove the state’s contribution cap, the Louisiana address for FFL is 6048 Marshall Foch Street in the Lakeview area of New Orleans.
That’s the address at the bottom of FFL’s web page and it just happens to be the home of Bill Callihan, a director at Capital One Bank.
Okay, nothing wrong with this picture so far.
Vitter is prohibited by federal election rules from coordinating for the Super PAC and does not personally participate in fundraising activities.
Again, nothing wrong so far.
FFL has scheduled its Louisiana Bayou Weekend for Sept. 5-7, 2014 with Vitter as “special guest.” Invitees will have the opportunity to participate in Cajun cooking, an airboat swamp tour and an alligator hunt.
While Vitter can appear at the Super PAC event, he is prohibited from soliciting contributions.
And this is where the picture becomes somewhat muddled.
Courtney Guastella Callihan—Callihan’s wife—is listed on invitations as the contact person for the Bayou Weekend.
She also served as Vitter’s campaign financial director, a dual role that blurs the distinction between her function with the Super PAC and Vitter’s Senate campaign.
Citizens United legalized independent groups raising unlimited funds but it did not legalize politicians establishing dummy organizations to evade campaign finance laws.
So the question now becomes is Courtney Callihan on the payroll of both Vitter’s Senate campaign committee and FFL?
If so, that could conceivably bring real legal problems with the FEC.
Now, having said all that, here is a real zinger we came across in the rumor mill. Mind you, everything is speculation at this point, but the report appears to have a certain validity that warrants a mention here.
Even if it proves to be untrue, it’s still interesting to speculate.
It is no secret that Jindal and Vitter are not the best of friends. Jindal even refused to endorse Vitter in his re-election campaign three years ago even though Vitter, in an apparent effort to be the better man (that being a relative term), did endorse Jindal for re-election the following year.
But it is also true that politics makes for strange bedfellows and this would rate right up there with the most bizarre of them all.
Should Vitter be elected governor in 2015, he would take office in January of 2016 with still a year left on his Senate term.
He would have to vacate his Senate seat, of course, and as governor would name his successor.
Sources say that the two have buried the hatchet and talk already has Jindal moving into the Senate office for the duration of Vitter’s term, thus providing him a stepping stone, so to speak, for his anticipated longshot run for the GOP presidential nomination. (should we have bold-faced, capitalized, underlined and italicized longshot?)
Of course, if Public Service Commissioner and former Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Scott Angelle should run, that in turn would create a dilemma for Jindal. Would he throw his Protégé under the bus for a shot at a U.S. Senate seat?
Stranger things—including outlandish political marriages—do occur in politics (see JFK/LBJ, 1960).