duckweed30bp.jpgDuckweed belongs to the family Lemnaceae and is small, free floating green plants that form large blankets on the surface of sheltered water. The body of duckweeds is composed of a simple floating disc of photosynthetic tissue often with roots attached. It is not differentiated into stem and leaf tissue. All species of duckweed supposedly produce minute flowers, but these flowers are seldom observed. Reproduction is generally vegetative and its growth rate is tremendous, A thumb-sized planting will cover 1.2 acres in 55 days if uninhibited.

Slimy or not, it’s what’s happening in Louisiana Politics

BOUSTANY TO INHERIT MCCRERY’S LEADERSHIP PAC … Second-term U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s stock is on the rise with the pending departure of the state’s two more senior Republican Congressmen. Both Richard Baker of Baton Rouge and Jim McCrery of Shreveport are stepping down from their Congressional seats this year to move into private sector jobs. The Shreveport Times reports that McCrery plans to bestow his leadership Political Action Committee, called the Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism, to Boustany. Leadership PACs are set up by senior congressmen to both raise money and then filter funds to other congressional colleagues and organizations, helping the congressman to boost his stature in party ranks. “I’m going to make [Boustany] as senior as he can be,” McCrery told the Shreveport newspaper. “It will give him a head start at leadership.”

According to reports from the Federal Elections Commission, The Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism raised about $624,000 and spent about $616,000 in 2007. It currently has approximately $368,000 funds on hand. Its contributions have come from a wide variety of industry lobbying groups, with some of the heaviest donations coming in from drug manufacturers as well as physician and other medical industry groups. Source:

The Independent Weekly noted last month in our story “Charlie at the Plate” that Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon is positioned to gain politically from the recent upheaval in Louisiana’s congressional delegation — meaning the retirements, prostitution scandal and federal corruption investigation involving various members. In the midst of the turmoil, two-term Congressman Melancon has become a superstar in the state Democratic Party
practically overnight. He’s led the House leadership on tours of his district, has a spot on the influential Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired Louisiana’s fabled D.C. Mardi Gras this year and is a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention. Now others are noticing Melancon’s surge as well., a nonpartisan system, placed Melancon in the No. 144 position among the House’s 439 members in its annual power rankings. More impressive is the fact that Melancon was at No. 418 just two years ago. The big question is whether all the attention on Melancon will convince the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that he’s the man to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in 2010.

The list is based on 2007 performance, so Republican Gov. Jindal’s still included, as is now-retired Republican Richard Baker. Clocking in dead last — No. 439 out of 439 — is none other than Louisiana Democrat and albatross Bill “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, the only Congressman to earn a negative rating for power and effectiveness.

IS MCCOLLISTER’S SACRIFICE A POLITICAL DONATION? … During a sometimes-touchy hearing last week, a Senate committee surmised that a bill co-sponsored by lawmakers from Thibodaux and New Orleans had everything and nothing to do with Gov. Bobby Jindal. House Bill 89 would only allow the individuals who have been charged with violating campaign finance or ethics laws to pay the related fines. On paper, it was just another ethics reform bill for the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, but the political back story may have played a role in its defeat.

After Jindal’s campaign failed to timely report an $118,000 donation from the Louisiana Republican Party last year, Baton Rouge Business Report publisher and Jindal campaign treasurer Rolfe McCollister Jr. offered to personally pay the pending fine, which could reach as high as $2,500. Under the proposed legislation by independent Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard and Democrat Karen Carter Peterson, such third-party payments would be prohibited.

New wrinkles surfaced during the debate about whether McCollister’s payment of Jindal’s fine would constitute a political donation. If it would, then McCollister might be prohibited from paying the fine if it exceeds the personal donor cap in state law, says Sen. Mike Walsworth, a Republican from West Monroe. A review of Jindal’s campaign finance records indicates that McCollister, at least personally, would be in the clear under these circumstances.

Still, one question remains: Is it a donation? Richard Sherburne, administrator of the state Ethics Board, said his office would take the check regardless, but he wasn’t sure if the money would count as a donation and would have to be reported as such. “I think the board would have to take a closer look at that,” he says.

While Jindal appears to be at the heart of the issue, speaker pro tem of the House Peterson disagrees. She says she was “incredibly offended” by media reports suggesting that the governor was the primary target of her efforts. “There have been accusations made that this is an attempt to embarrass someone or to make someone look bad,” Peterson says. “That’s not how I operate.”

The bill’s still alive in some respects. Peterson also amended three other bills moving through the special session with her proposal, meaning the issue could potentially reach the Senate floor without another committee hearing.

Louisiana’s Super Delegates

(From the Washington Post)
“Democratic Super Delegates Super Delegates are not elected through the normal primary and caucus process. They are designated by party rules and include high elected officials (members of Congress and governors), party committee members and some former office holders. Unlike delegates awarded through primaries and
caucuses, super delegates are not required to stay pledged to a specific candidate. In 2008, the Democratic Party has designated 796 super delegates. An estimated 4,049 total delegates will vote at the national convention, including super delegates. A candidate needs a total of 2,025 delegate votes to win the party’s nomination. “

State’s Total Number of Super Delegates: 9
Patsy Arceneaux
Baton Rouge
Patsy Arceneaux of Baton Rouge is a DNC committeewoman and was a delegate to both the 2000 and 2004 conventions. She has pledged her vote to Hillary Clinton. Supposedly Arceneaux chose to announce her allegiance following a personal phone call from Bill Clinton who gave her husband a job during his presidency. She donated $1000 to Chris Dodd.

Renee Gill Pratt
New Orleans
Renée Gill Pratt is from New Orleans and a protégée of Democratic U.S. Representative William “Bill” Jefferson. Pratt served as state representative from 1991 to 2002 and as a New Orleans city council member for District B from 2002 to 2006. Pratt lost her bid for re-election in 2006, against Stacy Head, another Democrat. In the weeks following her defeat, Pratt faced criticism for driving a $28,266 Dodge Durango that she had donated to a nonprofit organization before she left office. The
organization subsequently hired her and assigned her to the vehicle. She also was blamed for renting office space from a company formed by Mose Jefferson, the brother of U.S. Representative Bill Jefferson, at the rate of $1,800 a month, for her satellite council office.

Ben L. Jeffers
Baton Rouge
Jeffers of Baton Rouge fills the Member-at-Large position. He ran against Jim Brown for Secretary of State in 1988.

Buddy Leach
Lake Charles
Anthony Claude “Buddy” Leach, Jr. is a wealthy lawyer, businessman, farmer, and politician who resides in his native Leesville as well as Lake Charles. Leach served two stints in the Louisiana House of Representatives (1968-1979 and 1984-1988). Leach was defeated by his fellow Democrat John Smith, also of Leesville, in the 2007 general election for the District 30 state senate seat. Leach was elected to the Democratic National Committee in 2006. He donated $1000 to John Edwards.

Chris Whittington
Baton Rouge
Whitington is a resident of Baton Rouge and is the Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Mary Lou Winters
Mary Lou Winters of Metairie is 1st Vice President of the state democratic party. She donated $2100 to Clinton’s campaign.

Mary Landrieu
New Orleans

Bill Jefferson

New Orleans

Charlie Melancon

4 thoughts

  1. Thanks Ryan and Lamar.

    This was a kind of quick throw together so the format will improve with future posts.

    I’m hoping Duckweed will become a regular weekly feature (or bimonthly depending on how much news is happening).

    I’m basically trying to pull as much content as I can about what’s going on with politicians and politics in the state — not so much the government stuff but the potentially slimy back room stuff (thus the green slime connection).

    If you guys have any leads or ideas please let me know.


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