Magnum JD goes into syndication. Slabbed repeats “Magnum breaks out the curry for Jindy and others with Naan” but first a word from our sponsors….

Given the circumstances, this may just be the second dumbest campaign commercial Diaper David Vitter has ever run, especially since he tried to carry water for BP after the spill via limiting their liability for the damage they caused.


I’ve come to realize the danger of ideology when ordinary folks allow themselves to become unwitting dupes to those with higher personal aspiration that inhabit the political world, especially those that hold elected office.  As a young CPA I was privileged to be broke in by a guy who not only held the credential but was also a superlative businessman and of all the lessons he taught me, the why he was in business instead of politics was the one that stuck with me forever.

…..some people like money and some people like power. I like money because money rents power……

Without knowing when he spoke those words, a man who by all appearances was a simple county CPA was explaining what academia now terms Public Choice Theory.  I view it as a branch of behavioral economics, a topic of which I’ve written extensively about here at Slabbed. There are two points about Public Choice Theory I need to make:

  1. Politicians and high level government officials are self-interested agents like everyone else. Recognizing that fact explains how they react or interact with the social system. Along those same lines those that perceive their interaction with government as key to their own self interests are the type that become involved in the process. We know that group as “special interests”.
  2. Whenever the actors are motivated by self interests and benefits are to be had at little to no personal costs you can bet your sweet bippy the concept of “dispersed costs/concentrated benefits” comes into play. Here is a blurb from a libertarian think tank which explains that concept within what they call the “welfare state”:

Besides being able to hide what they are doing, the policymakers and their clients have other advantages too. As the public-choice theorists have long taught, in the political arena the small, well-organized group almost always can have its way over the mass of citizens. That seems paradoxical in a democracy, where votes are supposed to count. In a country where sugar consumers far outnumber sugar producers, why is there a sugar program designed to keep sugar prices artificially high? That same question can be asked about any number of products and commodities. Why don’t the users outvote the producers?

The paradox is resolved by the concepts of “dispersed costs” and “concentrated benefits.” The price of any single government program, such as the sugar program, is small for any individual consumer. If he could compute the additional amount he has to pay because of the program, it would probably seem too small to justify active opposition. Most people are busy making a living and raising their families. The opportunity costs of organizing against the sugar program would outweigh the benefits even if there was a good chance the program could be abolished. A fully informed citizen would probably shrug his shoulders with regret and a sense of futility. That is the effect of dispersed costs.

While the expense to any individual is small, the total cost for all citizens is huge. That reverses the incentives for the relatively small group on the receiving end of the program. Those large benefits are divided among that small group. Since each member of the group stands to gain a great deal, it is worth his time to actively lobby for the program, or more precisely, to pay dues to a trade association that will set up shop in Washington, D.C., and look after his interests. That is the effect of concentrated benefits.

It is no mystery, then, that special interests prevail over the vast majority of citizens. Most of us have too little to gain materially from trying to stop individual welfare-state programs. Maybe that’s what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he said that there is a natural tendency for government to grow and for liberty to yield.

The logic is clear cut here and very applicable to the Jefferson Parish River Birch landfill, for instance. When the actors are self interested all sorts of whacky stuff can happen and that brings us to Magnum and the recent soirees he hosted for GOP stalwarts Billy Nungesser and Bobby Jindal. You see folks, cavorting with trial lawyers is like cavorting with whores used to be with the GOP: strictly prohibited. In the GOP world, trial lawyers are the bad guy and trial lawyers like Magnum JD are of the kind that gives the entire profession a bad name. In fact the demonization of the consumer side of the legal profession got so bad the trials lawyers even changed their name. Even worse for the local trial lawyer bar is that as a group they do not consider Magnum to be one of their number despite the first sur name listed on Magnum’s firm because he has little to no court room experience. My experience is those that knew the late, legendary litigator/trial lawyer Wendell Gauthier seem to harbor the most animus for Magnum as they could not be more different professionally but that is a different post.

So what in the hell is Jindy and his boy Nunny doing rubbing elbows with Magnum? There is no ideology here folks because the color is green and the rea$on $o $traightforward no one $hould have been $urprised.  Going a step further I’ll add if Magnum had stepped up for David Vitter he too would be taking campaign checks from trial lawyers just as he does from the corporate defense bar.  Ideology is well and good but political campaign$ run on ca$h, which ironically is the reason GOP stalwarts hate trial lawyers as they give overwhelmingly to Democrats.  Our readers should notice that no where in here is the public interest being served.

That said the more idealolgically pure of heart on the political right immediately cried foul at Jindy including our own IMA who was the earliest of innovators since we broke the news.  Next up is John Maginnis over at Louisiana Politics who wrote:

Business supporters of Gov. Bobby Jindal are questioning why he is raising money from trial lawyers, their traditional adversaries in politics. Invitations have gone out for a Sept. 29 fundraiser for Friends of Bobby Jindal to be hosted by the Gauthier Williams Houghtaling law firm, which handles major class-action cases. The New Orleans firm was established by the late Wendell Gauthier. The event will be held at the Brown Mansion on St. Charles Avenue, the site of frequent GWH firm fundraisers, held for Democrats mainly. “Governor Jindal is seeking support from everyone in Louisiana,” says Jindal’s press secretary Kyle Plotkin. “Contributors to the governor support his agenda for reforming Louisiana and moving our state forward—not the other way around.

(That Plotkin name is familiar to me from way back. Perhaps our readers can fill in that blank for me.)

With due respect to Maginnis it was conservative media vet Scott McKay who took this topic to an entirely new level with his post on this subject over at the Hayride, which copiously linked Slabbed and ironically, some of the posts on the old Folo blog about Calvin Fayard and his role with Charlie Foti when Foti was AG. Fayard is a compelling character in Louisiana politics (almost exclusively mainly behind the scenes) who used to frequently team up with now convicted felon Hugh Sibley, a Denham Springs lawyer who plead to laundering money for mexican drug cartels here in the US.  I’ve seen enough to be convinced there is a much larger story on Fayard, who is currently class lawyer in Consolidated Canal Breaches (CCB) along with his longtime friend, Judge Stanwood Duval, who is presiding over the case.  I’ve seen enough of CCB to ascertain that the class council will make good money but the folks whose houses were flooded due to the engineering problems with the NOLA area levees that failed during Katrina are probably SOL IMHO. I’ll add such is part of the reason we stopped covering the case here on Slabbed.

I for one hope Scott keeps digging on Magnum and Calvin Fayard as it is fertile ground.  For our part we’ll continue to highlight how the problem with a corrupt judiciary as illustrated by the recent impeachment trial of Tom Porteous cuts across party lines.  I hope I’m right when I say that it appears Scott gets it as he ran with our tip on Orrin Hatch and added a good bit of meat to that Porteous bone. It is so good we’ll repeat it here:

To be donating to Jindal all of a sudden seems more than a little strange; what’s stranger still is a $1,000 donation to Orrin Hatch from 1999. We noticed in yesterday’s research that both Calvin and Caroline Fayard had made donations to the Utah Republican, and we found that peculiar as well.

Turns out that Hatch’s vote on legislation affecting tobacco lawsuits may have had something to do with that. At least that’s one theory. Another turned up at the Slabbed blog – looks like there was a connection with a bunch of trial lawyers, John Breaux and Hatch with respect to the appointment of one Thomas Porteous to the federal bench. Porteous got confirmed, Hatch landed a huge windfall of donations from Louisiana lawyers – including nine different $1,000 donations from members of the Fayard family – and everything went swimmingly until the judge turned out to be one of the most famously corrupt in the history of corrupt judges and ended up getting impeached this year.

We’ll talk ideology once the entire swamp is drained, not just the portion which benefits one political party as both parties drink from these toxic waters. Operators like Rowan Drilling outside lawyer Dick Chopin is just as bad as Fayard and Magnum IMHO. They all exist because the system insures hogs like Tom Porteous end up on the local federal bench here in the deep south.


23 thoughts on “Magnum JD goes into syndication. Slabbed repeats “Magnum breaks out the curry for Jindy and others with Naan” but first a word from our sponsors….”

  1. SOP, while you and I may, from time to time, not see on eye level in our politics, this is one helluva a post. Your “drain the swamp” concept is one that should catch on here in Lousyana. In fact, I may start just such a political party for the disillusioned Blues, Reds and Tweeners. Wake up, Mr. Jindal, Magnum, Nunny, and your ilk. The populace is weary of your false politics.

  2. That “drain the swamp” phrase comes straight from Scruggs blogging and was the mantra of the hang ’em high crowd. For my part I’m still waiting for the swamp to be drained on this side of the line.


  3. Unquestionably the dumbest political commercial I have ever seen or heard. If the trial lawyer “profits” by necessity so do the injured parties (those impacted by the spill).

    What is a person like a fisherman or oysterman supposed to do, navigate the court system by him or herself?

    As a lawyer himself, although not a very competent one, Vitter should have more decency.

    As a Republican, I am ashamed of Vitter and so should all other Republicans.

  4. Also, I think everyone knows this already, but the “great” federal court judge Kurt Englehardt was Vitter’s campaign manager before being appointed to the court.

  5. One day, before I publish my book, someone with “brass balls” will print and comment upon the allegations of Civil Action No. 08-4728 on the Eastern District docket, which got me disbarred, and which drew a bead at the heads of the “DisHonorable” Duval-Daley-Fayard and his “close personal friend of long-standing” Calvin Fayard, among others. PISS ON ALL OF THEM! Ashton O’Dwyer.

  6. For the record Ashton my balls aren’t brass they’re titanium. 🙂

    The larger question to me is with all the eyes on Consolidated Canal Breaches why is it we’re the only ones who seem to grasp the significance of Fayard’s role in this vital litigation involving the Army Corp of Engineers and the levee failures? Didn’t I hear you say Fayard lives in the “Wedding Cake House” down the street from you?



    “…You see folks, cavorting with trial lawyers is like cavorting with whores used to be with the GOP: strictly prohibited…”

    Words written by someone who, obviously, knows what the hell is going on…and I for one am glad for that cuz my little brain can’t keep up w/yours!

    shirley heflin

  8. Many many years ago when sop and puppet and iamangry were still in short pants, a friend and I were returning from a junket to D.C. We as the junior partners we were, were sitting in the cheap seats. Being the junior partners that we were , we were YOUNG,CUTE and unbeknownst to certain folks, harder than steel. Billy Tauzin strolled through the velvet curtains separating the Haves from the Havenots, and proceeded to perch on the back of the seats in front of us regaling us with his ‘exploits’. Tauzin was at the time a junior Representative from the great state of Louisiana. His biggest line that long flight home was ” …so I told the Washington DC newspaper man that I was insulted by his insinuations in his column that I could be bought!!! Rented , yes, bought , no.” True story.

  9. Steve Plotkin, Judge, man about town. BIG MONEY. RICH WIFE. Don’t know relationship to Kyle. Very Jewish. Knew him back in the day. Small of stature but pretty sharp intellect.

  10. Plotkin was married to Jacob Karno’s sister? Karno was a 24th JDC judge. He and Wally Lebrun and Butch Ward got the Nursing Home Certificates of Need. As my memory is jogged I will return.

  11. I remember a very nasty political campaign involving Steve Plotkin and some other gent. This goes back to the late 70s or early 80s.


  12. Shirley what a treat to have you show up, especially on a Diaper Dave thread.

    NRB, folks like you are the reason I do not think Vitter will win. Vitter’s worst commercial is the Diaper one from the 2004 campaign, as seen with the benefit of hindsight.


  13. Hatch was pushing legislation in ’98/’99 aimed at limiting the attorney fees in the tobacco litigation. Many of the Louisiana attorneys making the same donation to Hatch list their occupation as “Castano Litigation PSC”, etc. That was the Gauthier/Fayard group of lawyers. I wonder if any of them were straw donors, or if they billed the donations as an expense to the case?

  14. Thinking back I believe Karno and Plotkin were married to sisters. Yep sop something about a REALLY nasty race. But nasty in those days doesn’t hold a candle to nasty these days.

  15. NAAS I was told that during the Clinton years Hatch was flown to NOLA for a reception/party and the chosen judicial candidate was in. I have a source at two of the events.

    I’m picturing something like Magnum’s evening with Jindy: $1,000 a head to get in and hob nob.

    I’m not saying the other does not play into the interest in the Tobacco litigation legislation. Our readers versed in some of the old Scruggs blogging know every political angle was played including Scrugg’s use of PL Blake, who had connections to current VP Joe Biden, a likeable but otherwise corrupt politician.

    Money was made on both sides of the aisle on Tobacco.


  16. Sop:

    Was one of those reception/parties held at the Windsor Court? Was Tuppy there? Were there large cocktail shrimp and a small bar?

    You’re proibably right on the Porteous contributions. It’s just strange to me they waited 5 years after Porteous was on the federal bench before contributing to Hatch. It may have just been the opportune time to disguise a payoff for his Porteous vote as a payoff for his tobacco help. Stranger things have happened.

  17. Didactic, Sop…that what this cogent power post was…didactic ! Echoing Sock Puppet…you’re the “enfoncer l’homme”…without a doubt…

  18. Sock:

    I can see how that group would like to kill 2 birds with 1 stone – money for Porteous and Tobacco. Did Joe and Stephanie allow everyone to go into the house, or was the event held outdoors?

    Did you ever see a memo circulated by the tobacco attorneys where they rationalized how it was “permissible” to bill the campaign contributions to the case as costs of the litigation?

  19. So, a friend of mine flies for Netjets and he was the one who piloted that bitch Hillary Clinton in for the big shindig at the home of Calvin Fayard, up north of the pond. In attendance at that shindig were all of the “evil trial lawyers” along with none other than (formerly alive) Senator Orrin Hatch. What strange bedfellows does money make amongst the politicians. By the way, Hillary lived up to her rep.

    On the other hand, he has flown Tiger Woods (B.W. – before whores), and he stated that he was a first class act, a real gentleman. Just goes to show you that power corrupts….oh, nevermind.

  20. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeee Sop, I didn’t know there was a sociological explanation for political corruption, especially of the wide spread, contagious, bold and arrogant type we are experiencing of late in JP. Now please don’t stop here and tell us in a later post, Corruption Cure 101, what the modern sociologists have theorized to be the 21st century cure for the Public Choice Theory, or would one possibly be the unamerican, crude but effective,Taliban/Chinese off with the hand that steals from the public trust theory? Personally, I wish the Microsoft and Goggle founders would work on a super computer model to run the management of government with all contract bids having numbers without names then we would not have to listen to the JP Council chair say 80 times a Council meeting: ‘Secretary madam, Hearing no Objections, APPROVED 7-0′.What a AAA,rated,Heisman Trophy “good ole’ boy network” it is! OOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeee

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