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Cassidy Gave to Campaigns for Landrieu, Democrats, Records Show
As they campaign for the GOP nod to challenge U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu next fall, Congressman Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness will be pulling in plenty of contributions. But a look at Cassidy's recent past shows that he's been generous with campaign dollars to many other political campaigns, like those of Democrat Mary Landrieu.
While Cassidy has been plenty generous in doling out campaign contributions to fellow Republicans like U.S. Senator David Vitter, Gov. Bobby Jindal and former state commissioner of elections Suzanne Haik Terrell, the former state senator and current third-term Congressman from Baton Rouge has also given plenty to the other side of the aisle.
That includes a contribution to the woman he might face in next year's general election in Sen. Mary Landrieu. Federal records show Cassidy gave $500 to the Friends of Mary Landrieu campaign in June, 2002.
The Baton Rouge resident also threw support in the form of dollars to former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. In October of 2003 and January of 2004, Cassidy gave a total of $2000 to the one-term governor amid her campaign against Bobby Jindal. A decade later, the Senate hopeful has put his support behind the Gov.
Cassidy also gave to the state Senator who sponsored the Louisiana Science Education Act, which many have argued opens the door for creationism to be taught in schools. Cassidy gave $1,000 to Ben Nevers, the conservative Democrat from Bogalusa, October of 2009. Despite his conservative stance, Nevers drew fire from the state Republican Party as he faced a re-election challenge in 2011 from Beth Mizell.
At least one New Orleans Democrat has also benefitted from Cassidy's generosity. He gave $100 to City Councilwoman Stacy Head's campaign in May of 2006.
Cassidy has also taken his political giving beyond the Bayou State. In 2010, the physician's Continuing America's Strength and Security PAC gave to the Congressional campaign of Ami Bera, a liberal Democrat from California who opposes offshore oil and gas drilling, and thinks Obamacare didn't go far enough in reducing health care costs.
Those positions run opposite of some of Cassidy's views, which have him supporting offshore oil drilling off the coast of Louisiana and the jobs it create, as well as calling for a repeal of the president's health care law.
The diverse contributions may not point to a specific narrative on issues, but the giving to Democrats shows a willingness to spread the money around to the other side of the aisle. A lack of conservative purity has already been raised as a potential liability for Cassidy, who is facing a Tea Party challenge from Maness, a retired Air Force colonel from Madisonville.
Maness spokesman James Hartman played on that theme.
"Congressman Cassidy's fondness for liberal Democrats – including Sen. Landrieu and Gov. Blanco -- and his flip-flopping on issues are well-documented by the press and in the record of his campaign contributions," Hartman said.
Maness also gave to a Democrat in 2011. Retired Air Force general Jonathan George was seeking the Democratic nomination for Indiana's 9th Congressional seat. George ended up losing the bid, but Maness gave $2,500 to the effort, records show. Maness was a colonel in the Air Force, ending a 32-year career with his retirement in 2011.
"The candidate to whom Col. Maness donated is a friend, a fellow veteran and, although a registered Democrat, is a constitutional conservative who shares the Colonel's values and ideals," said Maness spokesman James Hartman. "Unlike Congressman Cassidy, Col. Maness has never donated to candidates with fundamentally different viewpoints, nor has he abandoned his principles to run against an entrenched politician he once supported.
Maness also raised $2,000 for Mitt Romney's presidential bid in 2012, federal records show.
A Cassidy spokesman was contacted a week ago about the Landrieu campaign donation, and again on Monday about the other donations to Democrats. NoDef did not receive responses to either request for comment.
-B.E. Mintz contributed reporting
UPDATED 3:30 p.m. 9/18 The story was updated to reflect that Cassidy's PAC gave to Congressman Ami Bera's campaign, not Cassidy personally.
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