Louisiana Politics: Trump could show his hand on Louisiana fundraising case

President Donald Trump’s administration could potentially offer a filing in an appeal the Louisiana Republican Party is pushing before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case challenges the federal ban on unlimited donations to political parties.
Trump’s Justice Department has until March 13 to file its response to a ruling last year from a three-judge D.C. District Court that upheld the limits enforced by the Federal Election Commission.
That response could be an indication of whether the Trump administration wants to challenge or protect the campaign finance law.
It could also place the Louisiana GOP at the epicenter of what could become another national debate over political donations.
The state Republican Party argues that donations to its coffers are equivalent to free speech, which is an argument the Supreme Court warmed to in 2010 when it paved the way for super PACs, or political action committees, to raise unlimited dollars to support or oppose candidates.

AFP targeting session again
The Louisiana chapter of Americans For Prosperity is preparing to be just as involved in the upcoming regular session of the state Legislature as it was in the 2016 sessions.
That means targeted mailers, door-to-door operations and robocalls in legislative districts as well as digital media buys.
State director John Kay said AFP will be making a big push against any kind of gas tax and any effort to extend the additional penny sales tax past 2018.
“We could be interested in broadening the sale tax base if it’s coupled with a decrease in the sales tax rate or even an income tax change that moves us to revenue neutral,” said Kay.
AFP will likewise advocate for spending reforms in the regular session.
Tight timeframe for regular negotiations
Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to rollout his plan for the spring regular session toward the middle of this month, possibly before the Baton Rouge Press Club.
The final touches are currently being made to the governor’s plan.
On the surface, that will give lawmakers less than a month to digest the plan before the regular session convenes on April 10. The administration, however, appears ready to start talks sooner than later.
This week the governor will start bringing groups of legislators and other stakeholders into his office to begin — and in some cases continue — discussions.

Dems get national spot
Louisiana Democrats now have a player on the national party scene.
In Atlanta last week, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans, chairwoman of the state party, won an elected leadership spot on the Democratic National Committee.
She is the new vice chair of civic engagement and voter registration.
Peterson replaces political analyst and New Orleans native Donna Brazile.
As for the top national position, Tom Perez, the labor secretary under former President Barack Obama, was elected DNC chairman.
Luntz, governor connect in D.C.
During Gov. John Bel Edwards’ visit to Washington last week to visit with President Donald Trump and others, he made an unlikely connection.
He enjoyed a brief visit with Frank Luntz, the cable analyst and political consultant who handled the conservative messaging for “Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America.”
The two agreed to get together soon, possibly during Luntz’s next visit to Louisiana.

Political history: The
first governor to lose
This week marks the 187th anniversary (March 7, 1830) of the death of Gov. Jacques Villeré, who was the first to achieve three very important and very different statuses among Louisiana’s chief executives.
Villeré was the first gubernatorial candidate in Louisiana to lose a race. He actually lost to the state’s first governor, William C.C. Claiborne, who captured more than 70 percent of the vote on the first ballot following statehood.
Not deterred, Villeré ran again four years later in 1816 and captured a razor-thin victory over Joshua Lewis, a judge, by just 169 votes. There were 2,314 votes case for Villeré and 2,145 for Lewis.
There were sharp political lines at the time drawn between French residents and Spanish Creoles, with Villeré falling into the latter category. In fact, Villeré was the first Creole elected governor in Louisiana.
More importantly, though, Villeré was also the first Louisiana-born governor to take the office. He was born in what is modern-day Kenner.
Villeré was arguably one of the most important figures during Louisiana’s early statehood and even served as a member of the convention that penned the first state constitution.
He served only one term in office, but tried to make a comeback bid in an 1824 special election for governor. Villeré, however, never made it to the ballot; he passed away at the age of 68 just four months before the election.

They said it
“I’m optimistic, but I’m certainly not delusional.”
—Gov. John Bel Edwards, on the prospects for budget and tax reform this spring, in the American Press
“My (question) light has been on so long they’ve had to replace it twice.”
—State Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, finally getting to ask a question in the Senate Finance Committee
For more Louisiana political news, visit www.LaPolitics.com or follow Jeremy Alford on Twitter @LaPoliticsNow.

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