In the overall scheme of things, it’s a relative minor point but nevertheless one that the Director of the Disclosure Division for the Louisiana Board of Ethics should know better than to do.
After all, the rules are laid out quite specifically with allowable and prohibited activities clearly delineated in periodic bulletins sent out to all state employees—particularly during the election cycles every four years.
State Civil Service General Circular Number 2015-027, dated July 15, 2015, says, “This general circular is being issued to remind classified state employees of the “do’s and don’ts” of political activity because of the upcoming election cycle. It is important to remember that the following restrictions apply to ALL elections, local, state and federal.” (emphasis theirs)
There followed a list of seven activities allowed under Civil Service and a list twice as long (15) of prohibited activities.
We call attention to Item “o,” or 15th on the list which says state classified employees may not “‘Like’ or ‘follow’ a candidate or party on Facebook, Twitter or other form of social media.” DOS AND DON’TS OF STATE ETHICS CIRCULAR 2015-27
But yet, there it was, a Facebook “like” for gubernatorial candidate David Vitter by Robin Falcon Gremillion who earns $80,500 per year in her classified position as the Disclosure Division Director for the Board of Ethics. STATE ETHICS ORGANIZATONAL CHART
No biggie, except for the uneven application of the rules.
For instance, a supervisor for the Office of Risk Management, before it was privatized by Bobby Jindal, received an unsolicited ham from a vendor for Christmas. Because it was mailed and not delivered in person, she did in fact receive it and was promptly fined $250. Did we mention it was unsolicited?
Troopers’ Association’s first endorsement ever
On the other side of the ledger is that unprecedented endorsement by the Louisiana State Troopers Association that has much of the association’s membership more than a little rankled.
“It’s not that I don’t support (John Bel) Edwards, because I do,” said one member. LSTA Executive Director David Young said the endorsement is “rare.” “That would have to be rare, as in never, since this is the first time the LSTA has ever endorsed a candidate and the membership was not consulted on this action. I don’t know of a single member who was consulted,” he said.
He told LouisianaVoice that he felt the endorsement was made at the express
wishes direction of State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson. “He wants to be appointed for another four years and this was his way of playing up to the front-runner. If (David) Vitter had been ahead in the polls, I can promise you the endorsement would have gone to him. This was an overtly transparent move to put Edmonson in the good graces of the projected winner. He is desperate. He is the only one who could have done this. He had to know the general membership would be furious.”
He went on to say that the endorsement is not allowed because it is a “blatant violation of LSP policy and should be investigated.”
LSP policy provides that No commissioned officer of the State Police shall participate in political activity by:
- Soliciting votes or contributions for any political candidate, organization or cause;
- Making political contributions.
- Making a public political statement or address
- Wearing a campaign badge, ribbon or insignia.
- Distributing political campaign cards, posters or buttons.
- Attending a social function which is designed as a fund raiser where a contribution or ticket is required, even if a ticket is offered to the employee free of charge.
- Becoming a candidate for office, serving as a member of any political committee or taking part in the management of a political party or organization.
- Publicly displaying political literature, placards, bumper stickers or signs in or on any personal property (except by non-civil service employed spouse on community property).
- Actively participating in an effort to recall from office an elected official (other than by signing a recall petition.
- Becoming a candidate for any state, parish, municipal or other political office (other than position of classified employee serving on state civil service commission).
Shot at LouisianaVoice
On Sunday (Nov. 15) Edmonson sent a lengthy “feel good” email message to all Department of Public Safety commissioned personnel in which he said he looked forward “to continuing to lead State Police through the election, the transition, and into the new administration.”
He also urged DPS personnel to “ignore internal political ‘noise’ and rumors that will characterize the next month.” He acknowledged that there were decisions he might reconsider but said, those were “few in number.” But then, in a direct shot at LouisianaVoice, he said, “I cannot dwell on those who would criticize the content of what we have done nor the means used to accomplish our goals.”
Earlier, in an address to state troopers, he characterized blog posts by LouisianaVoice about LSP as “B.S.,” and that those who commented on the posts without giving their names were “cowards.”
Fanning refugee phobia, courtesy of Vitter and Jindal
And speaking of cowards, Vitter wasted no time jumping on the anti-Syrian refugee bandwagon—much like Bobby Jindal and all the other hysterical neocons who are convinced that New Orleans is being overrun as this is being written by 10,000 Syrians bent on blowing up the Superdome. (Note: There are no plans to import 10,000 and to date, only 14 refugees have entered Louisiana. Also, of the seven identified Paris attackers, none were from Syria; they were all Europeans).
Both Vitter and Edwards have called for a halt to immigration of the refugees to Louisiana but that hasn’t stopped Vitter from trying his best—by lying through his teeth, of course—to tie Edwards to President Obama’s policy of accepting the refugees, though Edwards had zero to do with the decision.
As pointed out by Robert Mann, if Vitter is truly concerned about the non-existent “influx” of Syrian refugees, he should probably discuss the issue with wife Wendy. She is the general counsel for the Archdiocese of New Orleans which oversees Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities is the volunteer agency that assists refugees in settling in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas. http://bobmannblog.com/2015/11/16/vitter-doesnt-want-syrian-refugees-in-louisiana-he-should-talk-to-his-wife/
But Vitter’s only objective, indeed, his only hope, is interjecting fear and loathing in the race. That’s what losers do. If he is really so concerned about the threat from the imaginary “influx” of terrorists from Syria, he may wish to explain his whereabouts during two of three Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the volatile situation in Syria from 2012 through 2014. http://bobmannblog.com/2015/11/16/vitter-absent-from-2-u-s-senate-armed-services-committee-hearings-on-syria-2012-14/
He would have had plenty of time to ask all the right questions at those hearings—had he only been there.
Vitter’s and Jindal’s fanning the flames and hatred have been effective. Catholic Charities in Baton Rouge has been receiving death threats after it was learned that a single refugee was settled in the Capital City. And that refugee has since moved on to Washington, D.C.
Thank you, Bobby. Thanks Vitter. You lived down to our expectations.
Bye-bye Bobby party starts early
Perhaps it is only fitting that following his hysterical executive order to suspend that dreaded “influx” of refugees, Jindal suspended his hopeless quest for the Republican presidential nomination, with the ego-laced comment that “This is not my time.” Well, Bobby, you surely got that right. Want a clue as when will be your time? Hint: Think never.
Of course, Jindal won’t go simply away. He just had to pose one more threat to our weary psyche. “One of the things I will do is go back to work at the think tank I started a few years ago—where I will be outlining a blueprint for making this the American century,” he said.
Whoo boy. Just what we need: More harebrained ideas to save American exceptionalism from little Booby.
To paraphrase the title of Joe Namath’s autobiography, I can’t wait until tomorrow ‘cause it gets crazier every day.