(Special to LouisianaVoice)
By MARK JOYCE
The Fund for Louisiana’s Future (FLF) is funded by David Vitter and his supporters. FLF shares staff and resources with the Vitter election committee. FLF has spent the bulk of its funds trash talking other Republicans.
- FLF is a political organization registered with the Federal Elections Commission as a federal independent expenditure-only committee, commonly referred to as a “Super PAC,” and also registered with the Louisiana Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure as a state “political committee.” 
- FLF is supporting David Vitter by bashing his opponents. The PAC produces no ads telling voters why they should vote for Vitter, only ads trying to damage the reputations of anyone running against him. (Note: The single exception is $3,000 for media buys for the Insurance Commissioner. This is the single instance of FLF saying something nice about a Republican.)
- The single biggest contributor to FLF was “David Vitter for US Senate” to the tune of $950,000.
- Charles Spies, the lawyer, who founded FLF and is now the Treasurer of FLF, is employed by Clark Hill in Washington, DC. Clark Hill has received more than 10% of all FLF expenditures to date or over $400,000. In 2014, Mr. Spies swore that:
- FLF does not and will not make contributions to, or coordinated expenditures on behalf of, candidates or political party committees that all decisions concerning expenditures of FLF’s funds are made independent of any candidate, campaign, party committee, or their agents.
- Joel DiGrado, executive director of FLF is also Vitter’s communications director and the owner of Briefcase Strategies LLC. Briefcase Strategies LLC has received $96,357.03 from FLF so far in 2015.
- Courtney Guastella (Callihan), ex-Finance Director for “David Vitter for US Senate,” is the current Finance Director for Vitter and the go-to person for various fundraisers for Vitter. Her home address is 6048 Marshall Foch Street, New Orleans. That just happens to also be the mailing address and registration address for FLF. Courtney has received $205,000 from FLF in the last few years for “fundraising consulting” as well as $145,000 from Vitter’s campaign. That comes to a grand total of $350,000 from the two organizations over the same period. Courtney is FLF’s highest paid individual consultant. (Remember that the FLF PAC and Vitter (campaign) teams are supposed to be independent and not collaborate. Yet the highest paid FLF staff person is also a six-figure consultant to Vitter’s campaign).
- In April 2015, Nicole Licardi joined FLF and is now FLF’s Finance Director. Licardi has a long history with and is still a fundraiser for Bill Cassidy. Since April 2015, FLF has paid her $78,111.62 or about $12,000 per month.
- As of November 1, FLF (Vitter’s hatchet boys and girls) spent one-third of all contributions to date or $2,342,343.71 on media across the state to belittle and trash talk Republican candidates Dardenne and Angelle (who, many agree, were the much better candidates). Vitter is now asking for their support. Breaking that down a little further and assuming their spending patterns continue:
More than half the $6 million contributed to FLF went for:
- Lining staff pockets (Spies, DiGrado, Guastella, and Licardi – $1 million.
- Trash talking other Republicans (Dardenne and Angelle) – $2.3 million.
FLF spent seven times the money slamming Republican candidates as opposed to slamming Democrats and others.
Does it make sense for good Republicans to contribute to an organization that spends the majority of their funds slamming other Republicans?
The bottom line is that obviously, sleazy money is corrupting the system and not giving Louisianans the choices they deserve. What ex-supporter of Dardenne or Angelle would vote for Vitter now?
This is no way to run our state.
Louisiana taxpayers were forced to contribute $70,000 in legal fees to FLF to help Vitter raise the cap on amounts of money from out-of-state interests. That amount was the legal fees awarded FLF after it won its lawsuit against the Louisiana Board of Ethics. FLF uses that money to denigrate good Louisiana public servants. Republicans contributing money to be passed to people to beat up on Republicans. In what world does this make sense?
This is the first in a series of three articles as we pull back each layer and trace each link. To demonstrate openness, next week we have decided to release our complete databases – the entire contents of all our databases – in machine-readable form, all the results, all the tools & techniques for, a user’s guide, a guide to contributors and expenditures entities and all our results free of charge to anyone who wants them. One week from today. Complete unfettered access and they can download the entire data set. No charge. No registration.
Anyone can do his or her own research.
This information was gleaned from publicly available federal records, Louisiana Ethics Board reports and other publicly available sources. Corrections and comments are welcome. The authors believe in a fair and open debate based on the facts. What could be easier?
 The Fund For Louisiana’s Future v. Louisiana Board of Ethics et al, No. 2:2014cv00368 – Document 38 (E.D. La. 2014)