State Sen. Elbert Guillory is the first to make it official that he is a candidate for lieutenant governor for 2015 but not before he changed his party affiliation—a second time within a span of seven years—to fit what he must consider to be the state’s demographic profile the same way he changed the first time to fit the St. Landry Parish demographic profile.
Besides his chameleon-like political persona, Guillory is an object of some interest in a couple of other ways, including his abruptly leaving his post with the Seattle Human Rights Department under a cloud, a reprimand by the state attorney disciplinary board and the expenditure of his campaign funds in payments to apparent family members.
Seven separate payments totaling $10,000 were paid in 2009 and 2010 to Yvonne Guillory of Opelousas who happens to be Guillory’s ex-wife. Another payment of $1,000 was made in 2007 to Marie Guillory of the same address as Yvonne Guillory.
Another $2,500 payment was made in August of 2011 to Guillory Window Tinting of Eunice for campaign vehicle signs.
It is his repeated brushes with ethics problems, however, that might be Guillory’s biggest obstacle to being elected to statewide office.
A story in the Dec 31, 1981, Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that Guillory had dropped out of sight and his office had no word of his whereabouts after it was learned he was under investigation for ethics violations.
After only a little more than a year on the job as director of the Seattle Human Rights Department, Guillory was suspended without pay and subsequently resigned after being charged with five counts of violating the city’s ethics code.
Among the things the investigation found that Guillory had done:
- Awarded a $9,999 contract (one dollar below the $10,000 threshold requiring contracts to be publically bid) to the Seattle firm of LombardSyferd Communications. One of the partners in the firm, Mona Gayton, signed off on payment for contract work that was never done. She and Guillory took out a marriage license on Nov. 23, 1981 and they were later married.
- Billed the city for two weeks’ work while he was on his honeymoon in Tahiti (even though he had no accumulated vacation time);
- Allowed an employee to bill the city for time spent driving Guillory’s car cross-country from his former residence in Baltimore;
- Hired two friends from Baltimore to teach seminars to his human rights staff at $500 per day plus expenses.
Guillory later claimed he had compensatory time coming even though he was told he was not eligible for vacation. He said the employee who drove his vehicle from Baltimore on work time was attending a conference, though he did not say where the conference was.
He also said he had made Seattle Mayor Charles Royer aware of the potential conflict with the contract to his girlfriend but Guillory later resigned before the official ethics hearing could be held, saying he thought Royer would protect him but instead, turned his back on Guillory.
He later moved back home to Opelousas and in 2002, he was reprimanded by the Louisiana attorney Disciplinary Board for notarizing a succession document for his client, former Opelousas Police Chief Larry Caillier. It turned out there was a minor problem: some of the signatures on the document had apparently been forged.
Guillory admitted he was mistaken in relying on the word of his client that the signatures were valid.
Mistaken? Really? In that case, I have a title to the Atchafalaya Basin I’d like him to notarize.
He also served on the Republican state central committee until 2007, when he ran for and was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. Just in time for the election, he coincidentally—or conveniently—switched to the Democratic Party in heavily Democratic St. Landry Parish, explaining that fundamental differences with the Bush administration precipitated his move.
Two years later he was elected to the Senate in a special election to fill an unexpired term. As state senator, Guillory served as Chairman of the Senate Retirement Committee and authored the Senate versions of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ill-fated sweeping retirement reform bills, all of which eventually either failed in the legislature or were ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
He also raised a few eyebrows earlier this year when he shared his experience with a witch doctor he visited and cited that experience as a bewildering, convoluted defense of the Louisiana Science Education Act, the law that allows creationism to be taught in public school science classrooms through the use of materials that critique evolution.
Guillory explained last May that he would not wish to dismiss faith healing as a pseudoscience because of his encounter with a half-naked witch doctor who used bones in his healing ceremony.
Later that same month, not yet halfway through his first full term in the State Senate as a Democrat, he made the switch back to Republican, becoming the state’s first black Republican legislator since Reconstruction. He explained that he had come to disagree with the direction of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Specifically, he said he took issue with the Democrats’ positions on abortion, the Second Amendment, education and immigration.
Well, guess what? neither the national and Louisiana Democratic parties had altered their positions on those issues since 2007 when he pulled his first switcheroo from Republican to Democrat. So his reasoning for morphing back doesn’t quite pass the smell test.
Then earlier this month, on Dec. 12, 2013, he made the formal announcement that he was a candidate for lieutenant governor because, he said, it provides the best opportunity for him to help more Louisianians.
And of course, The Hayride couldn’t wait to endorse him. http://thehayride.com/2013/12/elbert-guillory-is-running-for-lt-governor-and-he-has-our-endorsement/
His announcement goes a long way in explaining why he suddenly decided he was again a Republican in a lopsidedly crimson state.
Another coincidence? How about political expedience and half-naked, unabashed opportunism?