Charles Boustany ‘has explaining to do’ after staffers accidentally broadcast private conversation on Facebook _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette announces in December his candidacy for U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senate candidates who were criticized by the staffers of fellow Republican candidate Charles Boustany in an unintentionally broadcast Facebook Live stream fired back Wednesday with one raising ethical questions.

“It is very disappointing that Congressman Boustany would break congressional ethics rules by mixing his taxpayer-funded office with his political operation. Congressman Boustany has a lot of explaining to do,” said Matt Beynon, spokesman for the Senate campaign of U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden.

It is unclear where the conversation took place and who exactly was involved. The flub has hit the national media.

The snippet starts off with talk about state Treasurer John N. Kennedy, another GOP candidate in Louisiana race to replace U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who is stepping down at the end of his term.

An unidentified Boustany staffer opined about Kennedy, “You can’t knock Kennedy off message. He’s dogged. We’re not going to win even with gaffes.”

The other staffer said that verbal mistakes may help Boustany’s chances with Fleming, another Republican opponent.

“Well, Fleming has made some big ones,” a staffer said.

One staffer then talks about a conversation he had with Kennedy.

“I was just really hoping he would say something dumb in private.”

The other replies, “That would be awesome. I would email every reporter I know.”

Kennedy said Wednesday: “I agree with whoever said I am dogged when it comes to doing my job and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

Calls, texts and an email to Boustany’s congressional office and campaign went unanswered Wednesday.

But Roll Call, The Hill, and The Blaze have picked up the story that began when a Dallas Morning News reporter happened upon the live broadcast and tipped off nola.com, which reported the incident Wednesday morning.

In addition to Fleming and Kennedy, Boustany, a Lafayette congressman, faces fellow Republicans Rob Maness, of Madisonville; Joseph Cao, of New Orleans; and Abhay Patel, of New Orleans. The Democratic Party contenders include Foster Campbell, of Bossier Parish; Caroline Fayard, of New Orleans; Josh Pellerin, of Lafayette; and Peter Williams, of Lettsworth. Troy Hebert, of Baton Rouge, also has said he would run without party affiliation.

Congressional Quarterly contributed to this report. Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCNB. For more coverage of government and politics, follow our Politics Blog at http://blogs.the advocate.com/politicsblog/.