Sunday, August 24, 2008

Landrieu Delivers Change While Kennedy Delivers Defeat

Original Link:

Treasurer "was nowhere in the Capitol...when a House committee stalled the bill."

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana House of Representatives today defeated a bill sponsored by state Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish that would require legislative projects added to the state's budget to include details about the organizations receiving state funding. As reported by the Associated Press, the bill's sponsor believes it failed in part because Treasurer John Kennedy and his associates turned the important legislation into a campaign issue, despite the fact that Kennedy has absolutely no control over bills debated in the state legislature.

According to the AP, "The sponsor of the proposal, Senator Dan 'Blade' Morrish, says the ads supporting Morrish's bill and featuring Kennedy may have actually hurt the bill's chances of passage. Morrish says some lawmakers tied Kennedy's support as a type of campaign tactic."

Despite making earmark reform one of his primary priorities on the campaign trail, Kennedy was absent when the bill was being debated. The AP reports that "Kennedy, who is running for the U.S. Senate this fall, was nowhere in the Capitol on Tuesday when a House committee stalled the bill."

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., has been working hard for earmark reform and transparency in the Senate, and she has actually delivered. She co-sponsored Republican Senator Tom Coburn's 2006 legislation to create a free, searchable database for all recipients of federal grants and contracts -- including earmarks.

Sen. Landrieu also supported an ethics reform package last year that required the names of earmark sponsors to be made public.

"John Kennedy doesn't even have a vote in the legislature, and he still killed this bill," said Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider. "This issue demonstrates clearly the difference between Sen. Landrieu and John Kennedy. Senator Landrieu has fought for and delivered spending transparency in the Senate. She has secured essential funding for the state while making serious progress in ensuring public scrutiny for federal appropriations. John Kennedy, on the other hand, talks about reform, but rarely delivers. He uses his office to further his political career, even at the expense of sabotaging legislation that would help put Louisiana on the path to reform."

Below are several examples of Sen. Landrieu's effectiveness in delivering earmark reform:

Co-Sponsored Measure To Increase Transparency In Federal Funds: In 2006, Landrieu co-sponsored legislation that was introduced by GOP Sen. Tom Coburn to create a free searchable database for all recipients of federal grants and contracts including earmarks. The measure became law in September 2006. (S 2590, Co-Sponsored 8/1/06; Public Law 109-282; Obama Release, 9/8/06; Chicago Sun-Times, 9/21/06)

Measure Backed By Leaders Of Anti-Earmark Movement In Congress: The measure was also co-sponsored by earmark reform leaders Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. (S 2590, 2006; Roll Call, 7/31/07; Human Events Online, 11/15/07)

Landrieu Supported Ethics Reform That Increased Earmark Transparency: In 2007, Landrieu voted for ethics reform package that required disclosure of earmarks. The measure required earmark sponsors to be identified and allowed lawmakers and the public a chance to review bills before they are voted on. The measure also prevented lawmakers' families from being the beneficiaries of earmarks. (S 1, Vote #19, 1/18/07, Vote # 294, 8/2/07; CQ BillAnalysis)

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