Landrieu nominates rescuers
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., on Friday nominated two Braithwaite residents who helped rescue more than 100 people during Hurricane Isaac for the congressional Citizen Service Before Self Honors award.
Jesse Shaffer III, 53, who lost his home in the flooding, and his son Jesse Shaffer IV, 25, stayed behind to rescue friends, neighbors and others in Plaquemines Parish as floodwaters rose to rooftops.
While police and fire department officials were unable to reach some stranded residents, both Shaffers reportedly used a boat and saved a combined 120 people in 12 hours.
“Both of these men have shown an extraordinary amount of courage, sacrifice and selfless service,” Landrieu said in the announcement. “Mr. Shaffer and his son are shining examples of citizen heroes who deserve to be recognized nationally for their bravery.”
A panel of Medal of Honor recipients will select three individuals to receive Citizen Service Before Self Honors at a national awards ceremony on March 25, 2013.
Cassidy pushes House vote
Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is pushing for a House vote this week on the Improving Security for Investors and Providing Closure Act in the aftermath of the Robert Allen Stanford fraud that victimized thousands of investors in Louisiana and worldwide.
The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has filed notice that it will appeal a recent ruling that permitted a financial industry-funded insurer to deny coverage to the victims.
“This is the right decision,” Cassidy said of the appeal. “However, it also continues a protracted legal fight. This fight could leave Stanford victims without compensation for years.”
Cassidy added, “We know that SIPC previously made an offer to the SEC to partially compensate Stanford victims. That offer would have helped many victims preserve their retirement plans. This bill allows SIPC to make such an offer directly to Stanford victims. It provides an opportunity for SIPC to avoid a long, ugly court fight which will cost millions for all parties involved.”
Stanford, 62, is serving a 110-year prison term on charges that he directed a scheme that defrauded $7 billion from investors.
Vitter named as corrupt
The non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Sen. David Vitter, R-La., among the “Most Corrupt Members of Congress.”
Vitter is the only member of the Senate on the list, which also includes 11 members of the U.S. House.
CREW specifically calls out Vitter for his stoppage of an annual pay hike for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Vitter argued Salazar’s department was not issuing offshore drilling permits quickly enough after the BP oil leak and the six-month drilling moratorium.
A Senate ethics committee chastised Vitter earlier this year for his actions but did not punish him.
CREW said Vitter’s actions bordered on bribery and that, if he blocks another pay raise for Salazar as he has threatened to do, his actions may officially violate federal bribery statutes.
Vitter’s camp in the past has referred to CREW as a “hack, left-wing organization.”
Out of the 11 House members, four were Democrats. CREW has previously targeted Landrieu and former Democratic New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson, who is serving prison time.
Landry wants foreign aid cut
Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, unsuccessfully asked the federal government to cut all foreign aid to Egypt and Libya after violent protests and the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and others.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Landry said he finds it “unconscionable for this body to consider any legislation that provides funding to these nations.”
Despite the request, the U.S. House moved forward in approving a six-month federal spending extension that continues the foreign aid spending.
When asked about Landry’s request, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reportedly responded, “I don’t know who that is … Who’s that?”
Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.