Attorney general's office questions Dardenne attack on car allowance request

By Claudia Balthazar | Sep 8, 2016

BATON ROUGE – Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office called Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardene’s recent attack on Landry “false,” after the governor’s office denied Landry’s alleged request for a car allowance and mileage reimbursements, accusing him of “double-dipping.”


“Mr. Dardene’s attack is false. Attorney General Jeff Landry has continuously gone the extra mile to save taxpayers money,” Landry’s spokeswoman Ruth Wisher told The Louisiana Record. “Attorney General Jeff Landry purchased a vehicle with his own money and receives mileage reimbursements. He chose this method because it is the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”


The Attorney General’s Office denied any allegations that Landry has animosity toward Dardene, despite what the top budget official said in previous news conferences. Dardene said Landry has had an issue with him denying his car allowance request although he gave Landry an alternative.


"As you know, you are entitled by statute to have a state-owned vehicle assigned to you, which would allow for home storage and fuel," Dardenne wrote in a letter to the Attorney General's Office. "You may still exercise this option.”


Landry refuses to use state-owned vehicles in order to save taxpayer money.


“This is in direct contrast to other public officials like the governor who uses multiple state-owned vehicles with an unlimited gas allowance paid for by Louisiana’s taxpayers,” Wisher said.


The latest car allowance dispute is said to be a stunt by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration, in order to direct the public’s attention elsewhere.


"It is obvious the governor and Jay Dardene are trying to distract the press from the largest tax and spend plan passed in the history of this state with suggested innuendos," Landry said in a statement. "While I remain committed to fighting crime, corruption, and abuse of Medicaid — they remain committed to liberal tax and spend policies."


Wisher continues to support Landry’s efforts in using a private vehicle, keeping the greater interest of the public in mind.


“Politicians have long used state vehicles to run up costs to taxpayers; however, since day one, Attorney General Jeff Landry has looked at more efficient ways to conduct the people’s business,” Wisher said.


Landry’s office says he did not ask for $700 a month for a car allowance and for reimbursements on mileage. Instead, he has been working on issues in Louisiana and has only requested and received reimbursements for work travels.


Although Landry denies the allegations, speculation is the attorney general will run against Edwards in the 2019 gubernatorial race.


Landry succeeded Buddy Caldwell and took office Jan. 11.

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