Earlier today, former two-term U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R- LA) registered with the state of Louisiana as an executive and legislative lobbyist for Cajun Industries LLC, a construction company founded and largely controlled by Lane Grigsby, a prominent conservative activist and one of a handful of mega-donors to Republican candidates and conservative causes. (A few years ago, Grisby sold much of his ownership stake to his son and son-in-law, though he is still serves as the company’s chairman).
Since 2006, Grigsby’s company and its affiliates have received approximately $4.2 million in state tax incentives, including a $2.4 million incentive just last year under the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP); in addition, he has also received $443,500 through the state’s Quality Jobs Initiative, according to research conducted by the non-profit organization Together Louisiana. Click to zoom in:
The ITEP incentives have recently become the subject of intense scrutiny. Many contend that ITEP is a wasteful and bloated program that rarely demonstrates a return on investment and predominately benefits wealthy corporations. Critics argue this money would better be used elsewhere, particularly in light of the state’s impending budget deficit, estimated to be anywhere between $400M to $994M this year.
In recent years, Cajun Industries has taken in annual revenues between $317M and $476M, making it one of the most successful and profitable companies in the state of Louisiana, and its chairman and founder, Lane Grigsby, has invested his own personal fortune in promoting conservative politics.
Just recently, Grigsby paid for the controversial Fox News personality Laura Ingraham to be the keynote speaker at the annual luncheon of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), even providing his private plane to ferry Ingraham to Baton Rouge. According to well-placed sources, Grigsby plays an outsized role at LABI and is known to interview legislators in order to gauge their willingness to pledge broad opposition to any and all tax proposals.
“He is the Grover Norquist of Louisiana, as if we needed another Grover Norquist,” one source opined on the condition of anonymity.
Grigsby also spent nearly a half a million dollars in 2011 to support a roster of his preferred candidates for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and is known to spend thousands to sponsor polling.
Since 1985, Grigsby has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to several political candidates, almost all of whom are Republicans, including massive donations to the campaigns of David Vitter, his newest employee, and the Republican National Committee.