Senator Landrieu’s Corrupting Lie

Moon and Mary. If home is where the heart is, she's probably OK.

Moon and Mary. If home is where the heart is, she’s probably OK.

This is a fact: Mary Landrieu, the Democratic senator from  Louisiana, doesn’t live in that state, hasn’t for years, and nobody believes she does.

She and her husband, who, unlike the Senator, doesn’t even pretend to live in the Bayou State, live in what the Washington Post calls “a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.”  The problem, or what should be a problem, is that Louisiana, by law, requires its U.S. Senators to really and truly live there. Louisiana’s Election Code states that a U.S. senator must be “an inhabitant of Louisiana when elected,” and Landrieu is hoping to be elected, which in her case means re-elected in November.

They are clever in Louisiana, so Landrieu, wink-wink-nudge-nudge, claims that she resides in the New Orleans neighborhood of Broadmoor in the home where her  parents, Moon (yes, Moon) and Verna live.  The Post explains that Verna Landrieu jointly owns the house with Nineland Partnership, a limited liability corporation the family set up for the estate planning purposes. Senator Landrieu and her eight siblings, who all grew up in the house, have equal stakes in the partnership.

She does not, in fact, live there. The other families ion the neighborhood all admit that they have never seen her.  Yet when she signed papers, under oath, establishing that she was running again for U.S. Senator, though Senator Landrieu’s  statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission  listed her Capitol Hill home as her address,  she listed her parents home as her residence to qualify for the ballot in Louisiana last week.

That was a lie and a criminal one, because it was under oath. Lie or not, she does not qualify to run for the Senate under the state’s law. It says, you will note, that she must “inhabit” the state, not merely have a legal address in the state. The law was written that way for a purpose.

Landrieu is still lying. “I have lived at my home on Prieur Street most of my life and I live there now, when not fulfilling my duties in Washington or serving constituents across the state,” Landrieu said in a statement. Really! Without your husband? Without ever sleeping there? What exactly does living there mean, in this context?

Obviously what it means is “This is Louisiana, home of the Big Easy, and big shots getting away with breaking the law is a tradition: Back off!”

Robert Mann, a professor of political communications at Louisiana State University, got the memo. He told the Post that the Landrieu family name is so ingrained in Louisiana politics that “no one will think that Mary is not a Louisianan.” “Saying Mary Landrieu is not really a resident of New Orleans, doesn’t really live in New Orleans — I don’t think will go very far,” he said. “Nobody but the most partisan Republican will grab that flag and run with it.”

All of which avoids answering the question of whether she is breaking the law, and lying under oath. She is. “Nobody cares” and “Accusing her of breaking a alw she is breaking won’t fly down here,” is not an answer. Great political science department they have at LSU! The answers are yes and yes.

This has to be taken seriously, even if Louisiana Democrats want to characterize it as just more “right wing partisan warfare.” She is a U.S. Senator. If Louisiana want slimy, lying, smug law-breakers to represent them in-state, that’s their self-corrupting choice, but U.S. Senators represent the nation. U.S. Senators cannot be permitted to flagrantly, openly violate the law like this because, well, come on! She’s a U.S. Senator! They get to break laws!*

No they don’t…not if the government is to have any integrity at all. U.S. Senators have to obey laws, and if they don’t, they should resign or be thrown out of office. A Senator who ignores laws when it’s inconvenient signals that laws are for the poor, the powerless and the chumps with ethics, and its all who you know. Such a message is poison to the nation and the culture.

Republican opponent Rob Maness has asked Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler—a Republican, so watch the question of whether Landrieu should be permitted to run when she is no longer a Louisianan be spun as just partisan warfare—to  investigate; now it looks like he may be blocked because the request didn’t happen on time. I would suggest, then, prosecuting her for lying on an official document, and declaring her application void.  I know nothing about Maness; maybe he’s a nut. It doesn’t matter: a U.S. Senator must be required to obey laws, and not be allowed to blatantly lie, under oath and to the public. This isn’t a technicality, or a question of definitions. This is a U.S. Senator corrupting the process.

It’s important.

* Landrieu is not the only U.S. Senator with unseemly residential status, but the others that I’m aware of, like Kansas Senator Pat Roberts (R), are taking advantage of lenient state laws, not breaking them and lying about it.

19 thoughts on “Senator Landrieu’s Corrupting Lie

  1. I know you hate it when I say this, but “politics as usual.” I used to get up in arms about this widespread practice myself — but after a couple of decades I gave up because I realized no one cared. Well, I guess except you and me. (I don’t count pundits who selectively get angry depending on party affiliation of the offender.)

    • I don’t think most people are aware of it, or the extent of it, Beth. I’ve just been catching up myself. And Landrieu has taken it to the next level, as would be predicted by her state.. She’s just blatant about the fakery. Change the law. Hell, hire consultants to be Senators. But our officials have to obey the laws we have.

  2. I’d say that a 2.5 million dollar mansion is a pretty permanent kind of residence… unless you’re Queen Elizabeth! It’s true that this sort of thing has been more or less accepted for a long time, due to senators serving long terms. But it also speaks volumes as to the near permanence of a sitting senator once elected. You don’t buy a house like that if you plan on moving out anytime soon! But it also calls attention to the fact that these residency requirements are there because a senator should also represent the state to which they are accredited. Those ties need to be kept fresh. They can only be so if the official in question actually lives in that state from time to time, not just visiting for an occasional election time fundraiser.

  3. Remember when Mitt Romney voted in the Scott Brown election, despite having a residence in Massachusetts? Yeah, a man worth half a billion dollars is going to have his primary residence in his son’s basement. Isn’t voter fraud a felony?

    I looked back at your old posts, and couldn’t find any mention of it.

    If you are going to slam one, you have to slam them both.

    • No, I don’t, and it is a lazy, uninformed and defensive claim for you to make. I don’t have to provide a history of an issue to comment on it, and when a particular issue reaches the red zone level for me depends on the circumstances. The usual residency flap involves accusations that a candidate is “out of touch” (Richard Lugar) or a carpet-bagger (Hillary.) That’s old, and obvious. What attracted me to Landrieu was her blatant lying, and the wording of the La. statute that goes beyond requiring technical residence to the word “inhabit,’ which means that you are really and truly living there. AS I WROTE. The ethics alrms alos sounded with the professor’s ridiculous “Well, making Senators abide by the law won’t go down well here because this is an old political family..” WHAT? How embarrassing and irresponsible.

      Democrats are playing the same game you are, defending Landrieu’s dishonesty by pointing to Republicans who are possibly doing the same. Fine, if they are doing the same, nail them, shame them, arrest them, whatever: THAT DOESN’T EXCUSE MARY LANDREIU, now does it? And she’s a sitting U.S. Senator, which makes it worse. You, tellingly, dredge up dubious (indeed, incomprehensible) examples involving national GOP candidates. I have no idea what Cheney “shenanigans in 2000” you are talking about—do enlighten me. Again, too lenient state residency requirements is a different issue than what I was writing about—it’s a policy choice, more than anything. La. has a tougher law, and regardlees of what other states may allow, La.’s senator is obligated to follow the laws of her own state. Massachusetts (I’m from Massachusetts) allows you to establish legal residence where you don’t physically live—state laws like that are lucky for people like the Romneys and the Bush (Sr.) family, which as far as I could tell didn’t really live anywhere for years. Fortunately, Bush was not from Louisiana.

      The Post did a nice retrospective on all of the past residence controversies. None of them are comparable to what I wrote about, or involved absolute lying under oath by a sitting Senator.

      I write about what I assess as the most interesting issues of a particular day, and the choice is mine to make. Don’t impugn my motives again, or tell me what I have to do to avoid your partisan attack dog defenses of an unethical Democrat. Last warning.

      • Here we go again.

        Cathi Anderson is banned, and here is why: I just wrote, “I write about what I assess as the most interesting issues of a particular day, and the choice is mine to make. Don’t impugn my motives again, or tell me what I have to do to avoid your partisan attack dog defenses of an unethical Democrat. Last warning.”

        If I say “last warning’ and make it clear the conduct I am warning against, then there is no further negotiation or wiggle room on the matter. Yet Cathi responded by writing..

        This is at essence an ethics question, as it speaks to your teachings. The Washington Post article doesn’t address the controversy in question, which is whether Mitt Romney committed felony voter fraud when he voted for Scott Brown when he wasn’t living in the state.

        You can be as partisan as you want to be. But you keep teaching us that “it’s the optics.” If “it’s the optics” that Obama is playing golf while the ME burns, then why isn’t it “the optics” if you are brutal on Democrats, but go easy on Republicans?

        Imagine how silly it would be for a lecturer on ethics to say
        1. These are the rules of ethics.
        2. These aren’t rules that I follow, but
        3. These are the rules of ethics?

        I know you are a partisan, and I don’t care. You can be a partisan and still run a “non-partisan” blog, but to do so, you ought to be conscious of and even fight your partisanship. You took Peter King to task for the “tan suit” comment (I’ll call it stupid, and leave it at that) and rightfully so (as it plainly trivialized the matter), but if it is the optics, then it isn’t it always the optics?

        1. You will note that Cathi didn’t bother to explain what she was talking about when she took a classic cheap shot against Dick Cheney. Strike One. Don’t through in innuendos without back-up, and then refuse to give the back up, or withdraw the cheap shot, when asked directly. But Cathi was interested in “gotchas”, not debate.

        2. She refuses to accept a premise of the blog that I write on what I want to write about. I take suggestions very seriously, and am grateful for them. I do not accept accusations that I am avoiding topics to cater to conservatives and the GOP. This has been vetted here before–on the Ethics Scoreboard, which wound down around 2009, I was very critical of Republicans, because they were setting new slime records in Congress. I work very hard at balancing the commentary here, but we have only one President at a time, and the current one is a) a Democrat, and b) epically inept. That does lead to the appearance of imbalance, inevitably. I actually kill ethics critiques about Obama, Holder and the administration frequently, almost daily, perhaps when I shouldn’t, to avoid the appearance of imbalance.

        That doesn’t even apply here—I had literally never heard of the alleged voter fraud Cathi was talking about in regard to Mitt. A non-rude, collaborative reader would send me a link and ask my opinion on it, not accuse me of ignoring it when I never had heard of it before. Again, I have hardly avoided criticism of Mitt Romney, far from it, so the accusation is flat out unfair: See here, here, here, here,here , here and here. Enough for you, Cathi? (there is more.) Well, I don’t give a damn if it is or not.

        Now, again, I had never heard of this controversy about Romney’s vote in 2010 for Scott Brown. It was raised by Mother Jones, the same, Far Left, slimy publication that sent a spy to unethically tape Romney’s campaign speech that yielded the “47%” statement, and I missed it because I give MJ the same degree of attention that I give Alex Jones and Brietbart—they are untrustworthy and biased to the hilt. Had I heard of it, I a) would have analyzed it at the time, and b) would have compared it to Landrieu’s situation. There is a major difference, and it is material: Romney, unlike the La. Senator, never signed two documents simultaneously stating that both places were his residence. Thus the County Clerk in Belmont, Mass, who decides who is a resident, told the media in 2011 that Mitt was in fact a legal voter, and that makes his vote legal, and rules out fraud. For all we know, he checked with her first. The key point:

        “Since he meets all the requirements to vote in the country – he’s over 18, an American citizen and a resident of the town – he is and has been registered to vote in Belmont,” she said.

        Cushman noted that as long as Romney isn’t trespassing in someone’s home and hasn’t requested to become a resident of another town anywhere else in the country, he is considered a resident of Belmont.

        “And since he is an active voter, he proves that this is where his residency is,” said Cushman.

        Nor does it appear Romney has attempted to change his official residency since 2008. According to Rosemary Norling at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Romney is not and never has been a registered voter in San Diego County. Romney owns at $12 million home in the tony La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego.

        While Ronmey is reported to spend considerable time in his other homes and traveling, that is not unusual for many fellow Belmont residents, said Cushman.

        “We have quite a number of ‘snow birds’ who live half the year in Florida or down South and there are residents who use the town as a home-base since they are traveling on business for most of the year,” said Cushman.

        In fact, many older resident will pick up absentee ballots before heading South so they can vote in Belmont elections, said Cushman.

        And the Secretary of the Commonwealth is not only backing Cushman in her ruling that Romney is a valid resident and voter in Belmont but throws a large bucket of ice water on Krager’s claims.

        “(Krager) sent us and the Department of Revenue, for some reason, only a letter asking us to conduct an investigation,” said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin, then adding, “There will be no investigation.”

        “The time to challenge a person’s residency is before the election, not after,” said McNiff.

        The article also points out that the Mother Jones hit man never talked to the clerk, which is where the inquiry should have begun.

        Which brings me back to Cathi. I do this blog as a public service: I don’t have to put up with this crap, or unfounded insults, or attacks on my integrity or fake stories designed to undermine my credibility. I warned her to stop, and she immediately persisted. That’s it. Gone. She’s banned.

        If Cathi wants to be re-instated, because I can be a forgiving sort, she can do so by sending me an e-mail that has the subject line “I apologize” and then include an admission that 1) she was out of line and unfair 2) is sincerely sorry and 3) will do better. Then she will be on probation for as long as feel like keeping her there. If the subject line doesn’t comply with these directions, I will delete the message with out reading it. I’m not reading any more nasty kiss-off notes from banned commenters who won’t play by the rules.

        I was afraid we were tending down this road, with the tone of her early comments. I warned her. I meant it. It’s a shame, because the two posts she made since I banned here were substantive and useful. But she was warned. And damn her for making me prove that MY red lines cannot be crossed with impunity.

        • Follow up—As no longer surprises me, Cathi lied in her email to me –she placed a fake “I’m sorry” in the subject line–and then provide more one-sided spin.And insults of course Shameless.To hell with her.

          • She did leave this handy link regarding Mass. Residence, which as with everything, she cherry-picked to “prove” Romney committed voter fraud, even though the official in the matter charged with making that determination found otherwise. What this means, you see, is that if Cathi had been the clerk, Mitt would have committed voter fraud. But she wasn’t.

            Her own link also supports the Clerk’s decision, in that it specifies that each case of residency is different, and should be evaluated on the particular facts of it. Which is what happened, and whether Cathi (or I) agree with that call is irrelevant.

  4. This is not a political blog…it’s a baseball blog. Duh!

    I would never tell you what you should write about…however, if you ever want to write another story on the knuckleball…that would make my day.

  5. Just an FYI, the Cheney thing came from a residence he had in Texas. Apparently, there is either a statutory or Constitutional requirement that the President and Vice President live in different states. This confused me a bit, since the original, unamended Constitution said that when a Presidential election was held, the winner was President, the runner-up, Vice President.

    • I no longer feel any remorse at dumping Cathi, who was unscrupulous, obviously.

      The two links together 1) show that ABC was wrong about the restriction, which is hardly a surprise, 2) That Cathi, as she did multiple times in her brief tenure here, injected dubious or outright false information into the debate, usually taken from far-left talking points off the internet. There were no Cheney “shenanigans”, but to certifiable progressive kamikazes like Cathi, the claim is another useful obstacle to throw in the way of objective inquiry…and if it further smears Cheney–I’m not a fan, but the Left’s demonization of the man is unconscionable—it furthers the cause.

      Who are these people? What kind of warped education, experience and upbringing creates them, and how do you combat the harm they do with their unprincipled political warfare over everything? They are backwards, completely backwards, deciding on what the truth is based on the objective they want to achieve with it, rather than following facts to a fair conclusion. Ethics Alarms has introduced me to more of these people than I want to know.

      • The warped education of which you speak is the good old ends justify the means embraced by everyone from Satan to Marx to Alinsky and on to the current administration’s spokespeople.

      • Thanks for those two links. I learn something new from you virtually every day. And, I attempted to simplify what I knew was a complicated process (leaving the Electoral College out altogether…by the way, you’d be surprised how few people know about them).

        About Cathi…here’s my theory. These are people who are so indoctrinated by schools, parents, friends, propaganda web sites, etc. that they believe that everyone who does not believe exactly as they do IS the enemy, and, hence, must be destroyed. Now, obviously, you are not a Conservative…in fact you are, imho, one of the few, true independents around, deciding your stance on any issue based on the merits and ethics of the issue rather than a dogmatic political philosophy. However, because you do not fall automatically in line with the Party guff, you have been placed in the roles of the enemy. Ethics Alarms now has, I believe, a large enough audience, although not all comment, that you must be watched, and whenever possible, or possibly on specific issues, you must be trounced and shown to be the ideological idiot they believe you to be. Therefore, you have gotten a series of liberal dunderheads, all marching in lockstep, doing their pitiful best to shred you and some of the more erudite conservatives and/or independents on the board. Note that this is not just a disagreement between political philosophies such as exists between Beth and Tex. This is, I think, an effort to destroy you, your audience (or most of it) and the more clear thinking and speaking (well, writing) commenters on the blog. And if “destroy” is too harsh a word, certainly to see that all of the above get their comeuppance.

        Anyway, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. Fortunately, I will never be confused with the better commenters so I, personally, have little to worry about.

        • I dunno, I’d say that was a pretty good comment.
          This is in the fascinating area of people projecting the way they think on others. I do NOT begin every post by considering what conclusion will advance the fortunes of a particular party, politician or policy. It wouldn’t be an ethics blog if I did. If my criticism falls more heavily on one side of the spectrum than another, a rational, objective and non-ideological individual might begin, at least, with the assumption that says something about which side is screwing up right now, and not that it results from a heavy thumb on the scale. I have never been invested in any leader, party or policy position, so I can only attempt to guess what it must feel like to pour one’s hopes, aspirations and money into a leader or a philosophy that proves to be a flop. We are currently watch formerly blindly passionate supporters of President Obama desperately wriggling like worms impaled on a hook to avoid the painful confrontation with truth: they were wrong. One lazy wriggle is to claim that those who are describing the truth are intentionally twisting the facts.

        • Thanks, dragin_, I like your theory; it goes along with some “vibe” I kept getting from reading Cathi’s comments which caused an inner voice to shout at me: “Don’t waste your time with her.” Elections are nearing. Gotta sniff-out the spinmeisters and brace for invasions of hack-y lackeys.

          Dragin_, I rate you a far better commenter than myself. Like you, I think, I have learned to trust Jack more and more over time. I might take issue with his “I have never been invested in any…policy position,” but only if I thought he had set back my trust of him. I won’t claim to be ideology-free, but I do appreciate how Jack points out ideologies’ ethics deficiencies.

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