Question: What’s worse than being a publicity whore?
Answer: Being a publicity whore with a double standard.
Attorney General Jeff Landry has been unabashedly running for governor ever since he was inaugurated as Attorney General in January 2016 and he obvious subscribes to the same theory as Donald Trump: any publicity is good publicity—maybe even this post itself.
And he’s certainly not above picking the low-hanging fruit in his quest for ink if it will lead him to his ultimate goal: the fourth floor of the State Capitol.
Here is his latest press released ginned out by his dutiful public information office (PIO):
Attorney General Jeff Landry today announced the arrests of two women on Medicaid Fraud charges, whose alleged crimes costed (sic) the State over $10,000.
“My office will not rest in our pursuit of those who rob much needed services from our State’s most vulnerable,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “Our award winning fraud detection and prevention unit remains committed to uncovering, investigating, and arresting those who attempt to defraud the system.”
Amanda Hollins, 31 of Ruston, was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on four counts of Medicaid Fraud for allegedly submitting timesheets and service logs for services not rendered.
Erica French, 34 of New Orleans, was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on three counts of Medicaid Fraud for allegedly falsifying official records which indicated she had seen a number of patients who she actually had not.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled.
His PIO personnel must be exhausted from following him around as he personally rounds up Louisiana’s miscreants and personally places them under arrest as and personally slaps on the cuffs (well, all his press releases do say that he made all those arrests). Move over, Wyatt Earp, Sgt. Joe Friday and Walker Texas Ranger: there’s a new sheriff/prosecutor in town.
In fact, the old Richard Boone TV western Have Gun, Will Travel has been supplanted by Landry’s 2.0 version, Have Writers, Will Pander.
One can almost imagine him standing at a busy intersection holding a sign that reads: “Will Grandstand for Votes.”
So where is the double standard?
For openers, he is such a vocal opponent of fraud that, in a classic Let’s Make a Deal (apologies to Monty Hall and Wayne Brady) bargain, he placed a woman who pleaded guilty in 1999 to three counts of credit card fraud in the attorney general office’s Fraud Division. She was hired solely for the purpose of securing the endorsement of her mother (the third-place finisher in the 2015 attorney general’s race) in Landry’s runoff election against incumbent Buddy Caldwell.
How’s that for irony?
And even though one reader suggested (perhaps correctly) that it was time to move on and quit beating up on former State Trooper Ronald Picou, it’s difficult not to wonder where our attorney general is on this case.
Or in the case of this report by the Legislative Auditor’s office which showed that Sandy Edmonds was not only illegally accruing annual, sick and compensatory leave as the part-time executive assistant for the Louisiana Auctioneers’ Licensing Board which “costed” the state more than $11,000 but, according to a second report by the Office of Inspector General, was found to be claiming to be at work at the same time she was vacationing in New York, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Jersey and Orange Beach.
Or this one.
Or this one:
Or even this obvious case of intimidation by an attorney in the case of Landry’s former client, Billy Broussard, who was cheated out of about a million bucks in a cleanup project in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita way back in 2005.
Yeah, we know all about the statute of limitations on the Sandy Edmonds and Billy Broussard cases. And we know the attorney general is constitutionally prohibited from infringing on the local district attorneys as concerns non-state employees, but we threw those in to illustrate a point:
The scales of justice don’t always tilt toward the just and Lady Justice may be blindfolded but that doesn’t mean she’s impartial.
So sit back and resign yourself to two more years of daily news releases about Jeff Landry personally arresting slackers, losers, hustlers, and enemies of the people—on a very selective basis, all calculated to shore up his gubernatorial bid.