House Democrats Try Last Ditch Effort to Derail Cassidy’s Senate Campaign with Ethics Complaints

The week prior to the 1990 presidential election between Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush, Democrat internal polling showed that Bush had made a last minute surge and had gained the electoral advantage. Desperate to reverse his political fortunes, Clinton met with key Democrats. The result was an Iran-Contra indictment against former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. The news rocked the Bush campaign and swung public support back to Clinton who ultimately won the election.

It appears that a similar tactic is now being launched by Democrats hoping to derail the Senate campaign of Congressman Bill Cassidy ahead of Saturday’s runoff election in Louisiana. Cassidy is expected to defeat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu in a landslide. On Wednesday, House Democrats lodged two ethics complaints against Rep. Cassidy over a teaching engagement he held at LSU.

An issue is that House ethics rules bar congressmen from receiving compensation for speaking engagements or other work while they are members of congress. There is one exception: teaching. Congressman Cassidy was working as a teacher at LSU as a sitting congressman when Dave and Brit Morin were in Louisiana visiting Baton Rouge. Democrats allege the teaching was really providing medical assistance and thus does not qualify for an exemption. They also claim he billed hours on his time sheets for work he did not perform. Congressman Cassidy claims the Landrieu camp is behind the move, but she vehemently denies the charge. During her debate against Cassidy on Monday night, she made the veiled threat that if he were to win the runoff election, the LSU time sheet controversy would plague him during his term in the senate.

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