On the eve of the general election last week, U.S. Sen. David Vitter was a passenger in a Mercedes-Benz that was involved in a minor car accident in Metairie. Before police arrived and charged the driver of the Mercedes with improper lane usage, the Republican gubernatorial candidate was quickly whisked away in another staffer’s vehicle.
Why did he make such a hasty escape even though he was the witness to a crash? Who knows?
Maybe he had a pressing engagement he felt was more important than waiting around to be interviewed by the police. Maybe he had to hurry off and change his diaper. Or maybe he didn’t want to be seen with the driver of the Mercedes, 36-year-old Courtney Guastella, and give the media reason to start asking questions about their relationship.
No, she’s not a prostitute. Remember: He likes driving home hookers, not the other way around.
Guastella is Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign finance director. She’s also married to Bill Callihan, a director for Capital One Bank. The two of them reside at 6048 Marshall Foch St. in the Lakeview area of New Orleans, which also happens to be listed on a 2014 campaign finance report as the address for the pro-Vitter super PAC Fund for Louisiana’s Future, which was responsible for a veritable shit-ton of negative ads against Vitter’s fellow Republican opponents Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle. It will likely pay for several more shit-tons of negative ads against John Bel Edwards.
Here’s what’s messed up about that.
In a just world, if a building contractor installed a literal firewall as flimsy as the metaphorical one between candidates like Vitter and super PACs like FLF, he’d be arrested for attempted arson.
Federal law forbids direct coordination between a candidate and any super PAC established on his or her behalf. That’s the supposed “firewall” between super PACs (officially known as “independent expenditure-only committees”) and the candidates they support, thus allowing super PACs to raise unlimited contributions from individuals, unions, and corporations. It was all made legal by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.
Basically, what the court said was, as long as an entity operated “independently” of a candidate, that entity was not subject to campaign finance laws and contribution limits.
Sadly, the word “independent” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing for D.C. insiders like Vitter as it does for the average American. In a just world, if a building contractor installed a literal firewall as flimsy as the metaphorical one between candidates like Vitter and super PACs like FLF, he’d be arrested for attempted arson.
Guastella is the finance director for Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign. She was also his finance director when he ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate. It says so on her LinkedIn account.
Thankfully, she hasn’t sent me a LinkedIn connection request. Please stop sending those to me. All of you.
According to campaign finance reports filed on Feb. 18 and April 27 of this year with the Louisiana Ethics Administration (I know, “Louisiana Ethics” makes as much sense as “Mormon coffee shop”), Guastella’s been on Vitter’s dole since Feb. 1, 2014. That’s when she started getting a monthly “fundraising consulting fee” of $5,000. Two days before Christmas, she got an apparent Christmas bonus of $10,000, and beginning in January of this year, the Vitter campaign gave her a raise to $8,000 per month.
Meanwhile, for practically an entire year in which she got paid quite handsomely by candidate David Vitter, Guastella got paid even more handsomely by the purportedly independent Fund for Louisiana’s Future.
Per campaign reports (also filed on Feb. 18 and April 27 of this year), FLF paid Guastella $10,000 on Jan. 30, 2014, and $50,000 on Jan. 16, 2015, for “fundraising consulting services.” In between those two expenditures, FLF paid Guastella an additional ten payments totaling $67,839.11.
It’s hard to imagine how someone could legitimately claim she did not coordinate with herself for an entire year. Thankfully, I have nothing if not a vivid imagination.
This means that for 12 months, Guastella worked on behalf of both gubernatorial candidate David Vitter and the pro-gubernatorial candidate David Vitter Fund for Louisiana’s Future. During that not-insignificant overlap period, Guastella was paid $73,000 by David Vitter and $127,839.11 by Fund for Louisiana’s Future. That’s over $200,000 paid to one person to raise funds for two entities that are prohibited by federal law from coordinating with each other.
Now, it’s hard to imagine how someone could legitimately claim she did not coordinate with herself for an entire year. Thankfully, I have nothing if not a vivid imagination, which is how I’m able to present…
Five Excuses to Explain How David Vitter’s Finance Director Courtney Guastella Didn’t Illegally Coordinate With Herself
- Vitter’s private investigator made sure Guastella didn’t coordinate with herself.
Vitter could have hired a private investigator to tail Guastella and record her conversations (especially when she talked to herself) to prove that she did not at any point, while on the payroll for both Vitter and FLF, directly coordinate with herself.
- Guastella is a typical “scatterbrained” woman.
Fellas: Women, am I right? I mean, sure, she earns more than 99% of the men in this country, but so do all the Kardashians. Like most women, she could just be inherently incapable of coordinating with herself.
- Guastella has multiple personalities.
Perhaps Guastella has dissociative identity disorder, once known as multiple personality disorder. One personality is Courtney, David Vitter’s finance director. Another personality is Courtney, fundraiser for Fund for Louisiana’s Future. Ask any psychiatrist, and I’m sure he’ll tell you it’s almost impossible for a DID sufferer’s split identities to coordinate with each other.
- Guastella is a victim of post-hypnotic amnesia.
Maybe during that year when she served two seemingly conflicting roles, Guastella actually performed the duties related to one of them exclusively while in a hypnotic trance, such that when she awoke from that trance to perform the duties for her other role, she was incapable of remembering what she did while in the hypnotic trance. The inability to recall events that took place while working for either David Vitter or FLF would preclude her ability to coordinate with herself.
- Guastella was raised a strict Catholic.
It’s possible Guastella was raised to believe that coordinating with oneself is a mortal sin.
Nevertheless, this wouldn’t be a genuine story about David Vitter if it didn’t involve at least a modicum of hypocrisy. Thanks to my friend Manny Schewitz, here you go…
This August, Vitter went after Jay Dardenne for allegedly coordinating with his own super PAC by circulating photos apparently taken by a private investigator (of course) from outside a restaurant where Dardenne’s advisers were dining with folks from the Now or Never Louisiana PAC.
One person getting paid over 200 grand to handle the finances for both David Vitter and his super PAC: No big deal. One meal at Little Village between Vitter’s opponent’s staffers and their friends who happen to work with Dardenne’s super PAC: Stop the goddam presses.