Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter registers as a lobbyist for Louisiana GOP mega-donor

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) leaves the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington May 7, 2015. The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a bill giving Congress the right to review, and potentially reject, an international nuclear agreement with Iran. REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTX1C06F

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).

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 11.23.20 PM.png

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.

 

Previous articleDay 2, and It’s Already a Zoo
Next articleCon-Con Game: Who Do You Trust?
Lamar White, Jr.
Lamar White, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Louisiana, a resident of New Orleans, a product of the state public education system, and a graduate of Rice University in Houston and Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Prior to launching the Bayou Brief, Lamar published the award-winning blog site, CenLamar, and worked for more than five years as an executive assistant for his hometown mayor. Lamar's investigative reporting has been referenced by every major news publication in the country, and he has been the subject of profiles in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Advocate.