McAllister admits to vote for contribution
LOUISIANA – The Ouachita Citizen -- By Zach Parker -- June 6, 2014
(reprinted in Kentucky Legislative Ethics Newsletter)
Congressman Vance McAllister of Louisiana admitted to voting against legislation in the U.S. House, anticipating he would get a political contribution for his vote.
The Congressman from Swartz spoke about the matter as an example of how “money controls Washington” and how work on Capitol Hill is a “steady cycle of voting for fundraising and money instead of voting for what is right.”
McAllister said he voted "no" on legislation related to the Bureau of Land Management though he did not identify the bill. McAllister said a colleague on the House floor told him he would receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage Foundation if he voted against the bill. He would not name his colleague since he “did not want to put their business out on the street.”
“I played dumb and asked him, ‘How would you vote?’” McAllister said. “He told me, ‘Vote no and you will get a $1,200 check from the Heritage Foundation. If you vote yes, you will get a $1,000 check from some environmental impact group.’”
McAllister said he voted against the bill but did not receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage Foundation. Federal law prohibits public officials, including members of Congress, from directly or indirectly seeking, accepting or agreeing to receive anything of value in return for the performance of any official act such as voting.
“I voted no, and I didn’t get a Heritage Foundation check but he did,” McAllister said. “I went back and checked with my friend, ‘I didn’t get a check, man. What were you talking about?’ He told me, ‘Well, I got one. Why didn’t you?’”
McAllister said he was not surprised he did not receive a contribution from the Heritage Foundation since the group and Gov. Bobby Jindal were “upset with me,” referring to Jindal’s call for McAllister’s resignation. Jindal asked McAllister to resign after The Ouachita Citizen and its sister newspapers exposed McAllister’s extramarital affair with a member of his congressional staff.
Heritage Foundation is a think tank based in Washington, D.C. It conducts research of issues and legislation before the Congress. Heritage Foundation does not make political contributions in any manner, according to James Weidman, spokesman for Heritage Foundation.
“In case you didn’t know, the Heritage Foundation is upset with me and so is our governor,” McAllister said. “They are always trying to throw bullets at me. Once I told my friend about Gov. Jindal being mad at me, he said, ‘Well, that’s why you didn’t get a check.’”
Weidman said McAllister did not receive a $1,200 contribution from Heritage “because we would never do anything like that.”
“If he (McAllister) is wondering why he didn’t receive a check from the Heritage Foundation, which does not make political expenditures of any kind, it is because we do not do it,” Weidman said. “The Heritage Foundation is a think tank and does research and education, but does not get involved with political bills at all.”
“He was just badly misinformed,” Weidman added.
Editor's Note: Rep. McAllister is listed as a "departing" GOP congressman on Wikipedia. He's the first term congressman from Louisiana that ran as a Christian conservative, then admitted having an extramarital affair. Fox News reported on 6/18/14 that he's considering a run for re-election.