In A Flash

Louisiana PAC supporting Sen. John Kennedy returns donation from nursing home owner

By: - September 9, 2021 7:05 pm

The Conservative Louisiana political action committee (PAC) is run on behalf of supporters of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

The Conservative Louisiana political action committee (PAC), which supports Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, returned a $25,000 donation from nursing homes owner Bob Dean last week, after media reports that Dean was housing nearly 850 of his nursing home residents in a warehouse during Hurricane Ida.

Seven of those nursing home residents died after being moved to the Tangipahoa Parish warehouse from Dean’s facilities. Dozens more were hospitalized. The Louisiana Department of Health eventually had to move hundreds of the medically-fragile people out of Dean’s warehouse and transfer them to more appropriate accommodations.

Health officials said Dean’s warehouse smelled of urine and feces during inspections, and nursing home residents were lying half-naked on mattresses on the floor. They concluded the facility was unsafe for the hundreds of people it housed — and effectively shut it down toward the end of last week. 

Charles Spies, Conservative Louisiana’s treasurer, confirmed the PAC had returned the money to Dean, but declined to comment on why the donation was given back.

Legally, PACs are not allowed to coordinate with the campaigns of the candidates they support. This means Kennedy is not supposed to be involved in PAC’s fundraising efforts or direct how it spends its money. Spies — who previously worked for former U.S. Sen. David Vitter — runs the PAC on behalf of Kennedy supporters.

With Dean’s donation, the PAC raised $100,000 during the first six months of 2021, according to its latest federal campaign finance report.  Three other Baton Rouge businessmen — Mike Wampold, Art Favre and Daniel Heard — also donated $25,000 each. They made the donations in May and June, shortly before the campaign finance reporting period closed. 


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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.