Rarely will you see a politician so obviously try to save their own skin — and fail so publicly.
On Nov. 12, Sen. Mary Landrieu walked onto the floor of the U.S. Senate and demanded that Congress approve a bill green-lighting the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Her transparent hope was to have a “victory” to bring home to Louisiana before voters decide whether to give her a fourth term in the Dec. 6 runoff election.
She got the vote she demanded on Tuesday — only to see the bill go down in flames. This, after making her “clout” in Washington a central theme of her re-election campaign.
Ironically, that clout may have worked — but against Louisianans’ interests.
Analyzing the final vote reveals an unsettling truth: Many of the senators who opposed the bill have received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Landrieu. From 2004 to 2014, her Jazz PAC — a political action committee that she can use to fund other candidates — doled out $364,000 in campaign funds to 35 of the 41 senators who voted against Keystone XL.
On the day of the vote, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said, “Every dollar that we spend today on developing and using more fossil fuels is another dollar spent in digging the graves of our grandchildren” — Landrieu gave him $10,000. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., also weighed in, “I call it the Keystone ‘Extra Lethal’ Pipeline” — Landrieu chipped in another $10,000. And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a prominent energy opponent, summed it up: “I have to say I am just as passionate as (Sen. Landrieu) in opposition to this bill” — Landrieu sent $15,000 his way. These senators don’t just oppose Keystone XL. They oppose Louisiana’s way of life.
This isn’t the first time Landrieu has undermined Louisiana’s interests by financing anti-energy candidates. In 2012, she supported Sen. David Vitter’s amendment to allow additional drilling leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. This would have created well-paying jobs for middle-class Louisiana families.
Just like Keystone XL, however, Landrieu’s vote was offset by her financial support for the bill’s opponents. She contributed over $300,000 to 37 of the 48 Democrats who voted against the amendment. It ultimately failed by 12 votes.
This is the record Louisiana voters should focus on before the Dec. 6 runoff. Landrieu’s failure to pass a Keystone XL bill that would be a boon for our state not only belies her claims of clout on Capitol Hill, but also illustrates how she’s undermined Louisianans’ interests — helping re-elect politicians who oppose our way of life. We deserve a senator who puts Louisiana jobs first, rather than her own.
director, Americans for Prosperity