Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell on Thursday characterized as “garbage” U.S. Justice Department allegations that two state agencies have not done enough to register people to vote.
“That lawsuit is total garbage. There’s not one scintilla of truth to it,” Caldwell told a meeting of the East Baton Rouge Republican Roundtable.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state last week claiming that Louisiana violated the National Voter Registration Act by not routinely offering those seeking food stamps, disability payments and Medicaid health insurance, the opportunity to register to vote.
The efforts of the state Department of Health and Hospitals and Department of Children and Family Services in voter sign-up were called into question by Justice.
The Justice Department lawsuit came on the heels of one filed by the NAACP, the civil-rights organization, in federal district court in New Orleans, making similar allegations.
“I went to every single one of those (agencies) and asked ‘What are all of you doing?’,” Caldwell said. He said he found out through his own independent investigation that “it’s being done right and correctly and people are being notified.”
Caldwell answered a question about the lawsuit following a wide-ranging speech before the Republican group.
Among his subjects Caldwell spoke of the state’s BP oil leak disaster litigation, saying he was on top of it; how the pathologist “totally botched” the Casey Anthony murder case; and said he has pushed for more state money to shore up a northeast Louisiana Mississippi River levee before “it breaks next year.”
Caldwell, a recent Republican convert, reviewed his personal background, activities of his office, and his philosophy as attorney general — the state’s chief lawyer.
“I’m not a politician. I have to have a political system to get elected, certainly,” said Caldwell.
“As far as my philosophy — espousing certain political philosophy — that’s the last thing I do.”
“I’m a prosecutor,” said Caldwell, a former longtime district attorney. “I’ve never asked a rapist … an armed robber what party they are.”