Friday, October 06, 2006


"The Message is Political, and That's the Bottom Line"

Republicans assail Blanco's role in ads
Critics say she's putting politics in Road Home

By Robert Travis Scott

BATON ROUGE -- Some Republican lawmakers are seeking an opinion from the state attorney general about whether a federally financed $2.3 million advertising campaign for the state's Road Home recovery program is actually a "blatantly partisan and political" maneuver by Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

In a Sept. 12 letter to Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti, state Rep. Peppi Bruneau, R-New Orleans, asks if public money paid for the commercials, "can the governor use her name as this being 'her Program'?"

"It seems somewhat untoward to me as I have never seen a public service announcement this blatantly partisan and political," Bruneau's letter said.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general said the agency would answer the request but could not say when an opinion would be completed.

Kim Hunter Reed, Blanco's deputy chief of staff, said "Clearly we see these as public service advertisements."

"It may be a campaign finance issue, it may be an improper use of public funds," Bruneau said. "Certainly the message is political, and that's the bottom line."

The Legislature plays a role by holding hearings and signing off on the plans of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, a broad-based panel handpicked by Blanco to design and promote the Road Home program.

The advertisements can be seen on the program's Web site,

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