Public Records requests flying in Edmonson Amendment caper Friday, Jul 25 2014 

Sgt. Schultz

Lege leadership

In case anyone thought that Tom Aswell, who broke the story about the “Edmonson Amendment,” was going away they don’t know Tom. Here’s an update on his latest efforts to get to the bottom of the matter.

Tom also includes some poignant comments from a retired teacher about the matter. Mr. Fred Aldrich refutes much of what Colonel Edmonson said on the Jim Engster radio show on Monday. If one listened carefully, Edmonson refutes/contradicts much of what he said himself.

Benefit has increased

As you will recall, the Superintendent of the La. State Police Mike Edmonson received from the leges a retirement gift compliments of the taxpayers of an additional $55,000 a year for the rest of his life.

No, the $55k is not a typo.

Originally, we heard that the extra benefit were $30k per year, but even Edmonson admitted that was a guesstimate. The $55k figure was calculated by Steve Winham who served as the State Budget Officer beginning with Buddy Roemer and subsequent governors until he retired.

If anybody knows numbers, it’s Winham who prepared the state budget, annually, for a couple of decades.

Leges staying mum

Unfortunately, everyone directly involved in this sneak attack on our wallets is remaining mum. That is, except to throw a senior Senate staffer under the bus.

Speaker Chuck Kleckley turned down Rep. John Bel Edwards request for an internal investigation by the House of Representatives. Kleckley’s reasoning is that it is a Senate matter.

My question is, how does Kleckley know that it is a Senate matter until he investigates to make sure nobody on the House side was involved?

Three Representatives (Bryan Adams, Jeff Arnold and Walt Leger) were on the conference committee wherein the amendment was inserted.

Zurik now on trail

With Lee Zurik of WVUE-TV beginning his own investigation of the Edmonson Amendment, you can rest assured that all the facts will ultimately be revealed.

Where Lee goes the Federal Prosecutors are not far behind. Lee is the “pointer” and the Feds put the pointed in prison.

Stay tuned folks, as I said before, it’s just getting started.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

Rep. Edwards asks investigation of “Edmonson Amendment” Thursday, Jul 24 2014 

John Bel Edwards

Rep. Edwards

Monday, at the Baton Rouge Press Club, Rep. John Bel Edwards called for a lege investigation into how an  unconstitutional amendment to SB 294 by-passed all the lege safeguards during the 2014 Regular Session. (See video here.)

For background on the amendment go here .  This amendment has implications far beyond the LSP Retirement System.  It threatens the solvency of all the state pension plans unless it is declared unconstitutional by the Judiciary.

Questions that need to be asked and answered by the lege investigation:

1) Which member(s) of Edmonson’s staff requested the amendment?

2) Which lege(s) requested the lege staff to include the amendment in the Conference Committee Report on SB 294?

3) How can such gross violations of the state constitution, statutes and public trust be prevented in the future?

Kudos to John Bel for stepping up to the plate in an attempt to protect the integrity of the lege process, the state constitution and the state retirement systems.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill

Red flag in Edmonson caper missed Wednesday, Jul 23 2014 

redflag

Warning signs were there!

Another issue has arisen, that should have waved a red flag to the six conferees (Senators JP Morrell, Neil Riser, Mike Walsworth and Representatives Walt Leger, Bryan Adams and Jeff Arnold) on SB 294 of the 2014 Regular Session.

With the exception of Adams, all are veteran leges. Two of the leges are attorneys and should know the law, especially the Speaker Pro Tem who should also be very familiar with the specific laws governing the lege process as he is often called to rule on them.

SB 294, if you recall, is the legislation that provided State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson a gift from the taxpayers of an extra $30,000 a year for the rest of his and his family’s life.

Red flag

The leges have admitted knowing that the amendment affected the state retirement systems. Therefore, they should have noticed that there was no Actuarial Note attached to the Conference Committee Report and thus could not even be considered by the committee.

La. R.S. 24:521(A), in part, states:

Every bill, joint resolution, and simple or concurrent resolution introduced in the legislature proposing any change in the law relative to any state, municipal or parochial retirement system, funded in whole or in part out of public funds shall have attached to it at the time of its consideration by any committee of either house of the legislature a brief explanatory statement or note which shall include a reliable estimate of the financial and actuarial effect of the proposed change in any such retirement system. (Emphasis Mine)

After-the-fact

The note from the Lege Actuary that purports to comply with the above referenced law was not provided until June 5, 2014, THREE DAYS AFTER THE 2014 REGULAR SESSION ENDED.  See note here.

Gross incompetence or conspiracy

Either the Edmonson Amendment is the result of numerous lapses by Edmonson’s staff (Who according to him, asked for the amendment.) the leges, the lege staff, the lege actuary, the governor’s executive counsel (Who failed to point out the illegalities to the governor before it was signed into law.) or there was a conspiracy among some or all of them in order to surreptitiously guide this benefit through the process.

Having dealt with the lege process for over 40 years, a breakdown of this magnitude by so many different individuals is impossible for me to comprehend.

Cloud over lege

Numerous state laws, including the constitution, have been violated in the course of enacting the Edmonson Amendment.   Whatever was the cause of this breach of the lege process, an internal investigation by the lege needs to be launched immediately.

The public has the right to know.  This type of activity cannot be tolerated by those who represent us in the process of making our state laws.

Finally, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill:  This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, this is merely the beginning of uncovering the facts behind this lege scandal.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

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