The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s misleading new attack ad attempts to hide perennial candidate John Kennedy’s history of pay-to-play politics. The NRSC is the same organization who four years ago accused Kennedy of “furthering [his] career through state funds.” Unleashing his partisan attack dogs against Sen. Landrieu does nothing to hide John Kennedy’s record of taking campaign contributions from people with business before his Bond Commission. The NRSC’s new ad is an overt attempt to mislead Louisiana voters into thinking Sen. Landrieu has taken money from Jack Abramoff. She has not. But the NRSC’s chairman, John Ensign, has taken $4,000 from Abramoff. In fact, the NRSC — which is funding John Kennedy’s campaign — has accepted more than $430,000 from Jack Abramoff’s clients.
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Friends of Mary Landrieu
DATE: September 30, 2008
RE: NRSC’s Dishonest Attacks
Throughout her career, Senator Landrieu has fought for reform and transparency in government. She has taken on Washington interests to deliver for Louisiana. And she supported ethics reform legislation that restricted gifts to lawmakers and their staffs and increased lobbyist and earmark disclosure.
On the state employees’ retirement board, John Kennedy supported allowing corrupt politicians to keep their taxpayer-financed retirement benefits. The Republican sponsor of the legislation said “We should not have an entitlement program for corrupt officials…I think this is a tremendous deterrent.” Kennedy would gamble away Louisianians’ Social Security on Wall Street but protect retiree benefits for his politician friends convicted of corruption.
Not only that, his own party accused him of using state taxpayer money to further his political career.
Every member of the Louisiana delegation received campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff. Senator David Vitter held an event at Abramoff’s restaurant that he failed to pay for until April 2005.
Landrieu Has Taken On Washington Interests To Deliver For Louisiana
Senator Landrieu Has Taken On Washington Interests To Deliver For Louisiana: In the U.S. Senate, Landrieu has been a tenacious fighter for Louisiana, taking on powerful interests to get things done for the state.
Landrieu Record Of Reform
Landrieu Honored As Legislator Of The Year By Alliance For Good Government: In 2007, Senator Landrieu was honored by the Alliance for Good Government as Legislator of the Year. The group was started in 1967 by a core group of six people affirmed their dedication to the need for good government in the city of New Orleans by starting the Alliance for Good Government. They have enlarged their commitment and ideals with active chapters in Orleans, St. Bernard, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. (Times-Picayune, 9/9/07)
Landrieu Supported Ethics Reforms & Led Efforts To Increase Transparency In Government: Landrieu has fought in the U.S. Senate to increase ethics in government. She led the fight to make federal spending more transparent. Her record includes:
- Supporting Tough, New Ethics Standards For Washington Lawmakers: In 2007, Landrieu voted for many new ethics provisions as part of the Democrats’ ethics reform package. The changes Landrieu supported included the establishment of an independent Office of Public Integrity, harsher penalties for failing to comply with lobbying laws, denial of pensions to lawmakers convicted of white collar crimes, and stiffened penalties for falsified financial disclosures. Landrieu also supported a provision prohibiting lawmakers from paying family members with campaign funds. (S 1, Vote #18, 1/18/07; S 1, Vote #9, 1/12/07; S 1, Vote #8, 1/12/07; S 1, Vote #2, 1/10/07; S 1, Vote #4, 1/10/07)
- Pushed For Greater Earmark Transparency And Disclosure: In 2007, Landrieu voted several times for greater transparency and disclosure of federal earmarks. In August, Sen. Landrieu voted for an ethics reform package that required earmark sponsors to be identified and allowed lawmakers and the public a chance to review bills before they are voted on. Landrieu voted for two similar provisions in January of that year. (S 1, Vote #19 & Vote # 294, 8/2/07; CQ BillAnalysis; S 1, Vote #5, 1/11/07; Vote #11, 1/16/07; S 2349, Vote #82, 3/29/06)
- Supported Efforts To Limit The Influence Of Lobbyists: In 2007, during the passage of landmark ethics reform, Landrieu supported a number of efforts to limit the influence of lobbyists. Senator Landrieu voted to extend the period that former lawmakers must wait before becoming lobbyists, to prohibit lobbyist-funded parties at Party conventions, and to require legislators to pay full market price for flights on private planes. Landrieu also supported strengthening penalties for violating lobbying laws. (S 1, Vote #19, 1/18/07; S 1, Vote #16, 1/17/07; S 1, Vote #13, 1/17/07; S 1, Vote #12, 1/16/07; S 1, Vote #15, 1/17/07; S 1, Vote #9, 1/12/07)
Kennedy’s Ethical Challenges
Kennedy Voted To Allow Public Officials Convicted Of Corruption To Keep Taxpayer-Funded Pensions: In 2006, Kennedy voted on the state employees’ retirement board to oppose legislation to take retirement benefits away from public officials convicted of bribery, embezzlement or other corruption charges. Under the legislation, affected officials could retrieve money they contributed toward their retirement but would lose a pension largely financed by government money. (LASERS Board Meeting Minutes, 4/28/06; Advocate, 5/2/06; SB 59 & SB 60, 2006)
- Republican Sponsor – “We Should Not Have An Entitlement Program For Corrupt Officials”: The Republican sponsor of the legislation, state Sen. Art Letini said, “We should not have an entitlement program for corrupt officials…I think this is a tremendous deterrent.” (Baton Rouge Advocate, 5/2/06)
Furthering His Career Using State Funds: A research report produced by the Republican Party in 2004 highlighted legislation introduced to stop lawmakers from using state funds to pay for advertisements featuring themselves. The research report stated, “A fellow Democrat introduced legislation to stop Kennedy from politically capitalizing on state programs.” (NRSC Research Report, 2004)
- Bill Was Named After Kennedy: The bill’s author, State Sen. Joe McPherson, called his legislation the John Kennedy bill, not for the late president but for the incumbent state treasurer. McPherson said that Kennedy was getting free publicity in television advertisements promoting the return of unclaimed property to rightful owners. (NRSC Research Report, 2004 citing Associated Press, 4/19/01)
The new ad released by the National Republican Senate Committee repeats a false 2-year-old Washington attack that has been debunked by Factcheck.org and called a “distortion” and “patently and demonstrably false” by unbiased news organizations. Sen. Landrieu has never voted to give illegal immigrants Social Security benefits. This low-road attack has been debunked by numerous nonpartisan organizations. It should be noted that this is the same organization that just four years ago called John Kennedy ineffective, inefficient and not ready for primetime. They were right then, but their new attack evades the truth for cheap political gain.
John Kennedy’s new ad uses a widely debunked news story to make false claims about Sen. Landrieu’s fight to help schoolchildren. Kennedy is attacking Senator Landrieu for securing funding seven years ago to help children learn how to read. It’s a program requested by local school officials in Louisiana and across the country to address high illiteracy rates. Sen. Landrieu will continue to work in the Senate to improve the lives of schoolchildren and give them more opportunities. John Kennedy’s campaign attacks have been called ‘gross distortions’ and ‘patently false.’ He’s truly one confused politician.
Perennial candidate John Kennedy has released another baseless negative attack against Senator Mary Landrieu. Despite distortions by the Kennedy campaign, Sen. Landrieu has been a leader in the Senate fighting for new domestic oil drilling and energy independence: she passed the only bill in the last 25 years that increased domestic drilling, and is working with Democrats and Republicans to open 120 million more acres on the outer continental shelf to drilling — a measure John Kennedy opposes. He has stood up against new drilling, against lowering gas prices and against the interests of Louisiana families. Sen. Landrieu has a long record of supporting domestic oil production. She supports responsible oil shale development, and she voted to create pilot projects to make oil shale technology viable.
Despite the best efforts by some partisan politicians to turn America’s energy crisis into an election year issue, momentum is building for a bipartisan plan to expand drilling, promote conservation and transition the country toward alternative energy sources. Six senators – three Republicans and three Democrats – today joined the Gang of Ten’s fight to lower gas prices and achieve energy independence. Now the “Gang of 16,” the group is pushing to get the plan passed and signed into law next month. Today’s report by the Associated Press is encouraging news – Senator Landrieu’s bipartisan coalition is gaining strength. Read more here.
It’s Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention, and Senator Landrieu has secured meetings with members of the Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina delegations to discuss her efforts to expand domestic oil and gas production. In order to break our dependence on foreign oil and lower gas prices, we need to produce more energy right here in America. Senator Landrieu passed the first bill in 25 years that expanded drilling on the outer continental shelf, and now she is working to open another 120 million acres to production. America faces and energy crisis, and Senator Landrieu believes that we shouldn’t let election year politics stand in the way of lowering gas prices. Read more about Senator Landrieu’s efforts here.
Senator Landrieu is in Denver this week at the Democratic National Convention. She is using her time there to build support for her bipartisan energy proposal to increase domestic drilling, expand conservation measures and transition America to alternative energy sources. The Senate still has a lot of work to do in September, and Senator Landrieu hopes to get a head start by getting more of her colleagues on board with her plan to lower gas prices and move toward energy independence. Read more about her efforts here.
Senator Landrieu believes that the only way to lower gas prices and secure American energy independence is to pursue a comprehensive policy of domestic drilling, conservation and alternative energy. When she worked with five Republicans and four other Democrats to write a new plan, John Kennedy called the idea “outrageous.” Louisiana needs smart policies that lower gas prices and create more jobs. We don’t need more partisanship. Click here to watch our new ad that highlights the differences between Senator Landrieu’s plan and John Kennedy’s political posturing.
Perennial candidate John Kennedy’s new television ad is yet another attempt to distort Mary Landrieu’s record and to hide the truth about his own. Sen. Landrieu has supported efforts to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security benefits, while Mr. Kennedy has embraced a privatization plan that would cost trillions of dollars and cut benefits almost in half.