- Elliott Stonecipher
Saturday, January 5, 2019 … 3:08 P.M.
Throughout my career, I have written and publicly spoken about the corrosive, often outright illegal, election-day “street money” in our solidly black communities. In my related November 17th article (SEE Link #1, below), I put it this way:
“For decades, Louisiana election-day practices and costs were infamous… and unlawful. Until subject laws were on the books, these expenses were known as ‘street money,’ related exclusively to election campaigning in then-minority communities.”
At their worst, these activities have long been the core of vote-buying.
Some readers likely remember this political criminality in the 1978 indictments and trial of offenders working in the election of one-term 4th District Congressman Buddy Leach.
Clearly, these practices are alive and well elsewhere in Louisiana, if not here. Last summer, the Baton Rouge Advocate did impressive reporting of possible such lawbreaking in Tangipahoa Parish. (SEE Link #2.)
Strikingly visible in that reporting are Governor John Bel Edwards and his brother, Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards.
The governor has acknowledged paying $8,750 to a noted seller of “get out the vote services” there, Louis Ruffino, in Edwards’ 2011 state representative campaign.
To my knowledge, no such allegations are being made about the election of new Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins. However, required financial reporting of his December 8th run-off with former Mayor Ollie Tyler is incomplete.
The most recent such reports of “Election Day Expenditures” were filed on December 9th by Tyler and December 18th by Perkins. (SEE Links #3 and #4.) Notable facts include these:
Total spending on election-day “activities” by Tyler was $25,935, almost two-thirds of which, $15,975, was paid to election-day workers. The $9,960 balance went for classically typical radio campaign costs for that day.
Among the total of 135 election-day workers, most were paid $100 or $125. Jerry Bowman, Sr. was paid $200, Michael D. Jackson was paid $300, and Cozette Jones $700.
The decidedly different election-day spending by Perkins must be considered in light of the fact that he was cruising toward an easy win over Tyler, including in campaign fund-raising. So, he spent $20,046 on election-day activities … almost $6,000 less than Tyler.
Unlike Tyler, Perkins spent no money for paid air-time on radio stations. Too, his (reported) total on “workers” is $5,380, about half that of Tyler’s $10,595.
Among Perkins’ 54 reported “workers,” almost everyone was paid $100. Exceptions were Sharon Braggs, paid $250, and Caddo Parish Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts.
Commissioner Gage-Watts was paid $150 as a “worker,” and another $1,000 for a “live remote.” Presumably, that refers to a radio live remote. Perkins’ report, however, specifically includes “$0.00” entries for spending on radio, television and newspaper election-day costs.
How the airtime necessary for the Caddo Commissioner’s “live remote” was not paid for by Perkins is an important question.
Of Perkins’ total election-day spending, more than 60% went for his victory party that evening.
© 2019 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
1. Elliott Stonecipher article, November 17th :
2. Baton Rouge Advocate article, June 30th :
3. Ollie Tyler campaign finance report #73172:
4. Adrian Perkins campaign finance report #73321: