BATON ROUGE – While Tom Schedler celebrates his recent appointment to a ceremonial position with the National Association of Secretary of States, it’s important to reflect on his actual record as an elected official here in Louisiana.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler has been a strong ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal for the past eight years, aiding and abetting a failed leader who put our state on a path to financial ruin. Coinciding with the rapid deterioration of Louisiana, Schedler has served as either first assistant to the Secretary of State or as Secretary of State himself during Jindal’s two terms as governor.
Just as Jindal forced taxpayers to pay $2.2 million for state troopers to accompany him on his vain presidential run, Schedler forced taxpayers to pick up a $1.3 million tab on lawsuits that resulted from his failure to comply with the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA). In one of the lawsuits, two courts cited that Schedler’s office was not in compliance with the NVRA because of, among other things, mismanagement and poor training. That is what Schedler’s failed leadership looks like.
Schedler’s self-serving decision to challenge the lawsuits is costing Louisiana taxpayers $1.3 million and counting, money that could have been better used updating voting machines, opening museums for more than one day a week or enabling Louisiana to hold a presidential primary. The lawsuits’ only real benefit was to the lawyers who represented Schedler, both of whom had made extensive donations to his previous campaigns. Schedler’s campaign contributors ended up taking between $600,000-800,000 each for their work defending his failures.
Schedler has whined that he was the target of the lawsuits because he was a Republican and likened it to actions taken by the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police. His hysteria conveniently ignores the facts, however— that of the three states sued by the Department of Justice for violating the NVRA since 2000, two had Democratic Secretary of States. Hardly the witch-hunt Schedler describes.
It is hard to remember a time when our state was in such dire financial straits. As Secretary of State, Schedler has been an integral part of Jindal’s leadership team that has put the governor’s presidential ambitions ahead of the needs of his constituents.
“Tom Schedler has been a part of the numerous problems caused by the failed leadership of our state,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The citizens of Louisiana have witnessed firsthand the horrible effects of this failed leadership. That is why we desperately need new leadership that doesn’t have a connection to the disastrous policies of the past eight years.”