Senators Landrieu and Enzi
April 30, 1997
in this forum:
Is the pace of the Senate right? Should the Senate have signed the Chemical Weapons Treaty? Is Congress addressing the big issues? What about America's poor? SEN. LANDRIEU: What is the status of the investigation into your election? SEN. ENZI: What does it mean to be the "Cyber Senator"?
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A question from Louis St. Claire of Baton Rouge, LA:
First of all I am glad to see Louisiana's newest Senator participating in this forum. I wanted to let you know we are listening back home.
How frustrated are you by the Senate investigation into your election? Are you concerned it will become a highly-charged political issue?
Senator Landrieu responds:
I am very frustrated for the people of Louisiana, and for the hard working election officials in our state who run fair and honest elections because for six months they have been the target of ridicule by radical outside interest groups who are trying to steal an election they could not win honestly.
The race was tough, hard fought and close. My campaign was out spent by more than five to one by the same extreme outside groups now trying to change the outcome six months after election day.
We are now facing the third investigation of this election. The losing candidate has investigated, two election experts one republican and one democrat looked at the case, and still there is no evidence to support the claim the election was stolen.
One Louisiana journalist after reviewing the facts in the case came to the conclusion that my opponent in the race, 'Easily equals tailgunner Joe McCarthy in his ability to tarnish and destroy for his own selfish political ends - without having to prove anything.'
The one thing everyone seems to agree on is the fact that neither I nor my campaign did anything wrong. The Senate is using a double standard when it comes to this case. Since this nation's earliest days the Senate has viewed election challenges with a very high standard. The Founding Fathers knew that such challenges should be devoid of politics and should be based only on the merits of each individual case. For the first time in history, the Rules Committee ignored the report of bipartisan lawyers which said my former opponent failed to present enough evidence to warrant a full-fledged investigation.
Several decades ago one man tried to split the nation apart by making wild allegations about political opponents by charging them with communism but providing no evidence. This election challenge is remarkably similar to witch hunts conducted by Sen. Joe McCarthy, long on rumor and innuendo but void of any facts.
For the good of the nation and for the future of the Senate it is imperative that this not degenerate into grade school partisan politics, there is too much at stake.