POLITICS: PennAve

Mary Landrieu shot Senate committee re-enactment in Louisiana statehouse

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When Sen. Mary Landrieu needed to re-enact a congressional hearing for a recent television ad, her campaign turned to a capital closer to home.

To comply with Senate rules, which prohibit the use of government video for campaign purposes, Landrieu recreated the scene with the close-enough backdrop of a Louisiana Senate committee room, sources in the state Capitol confirmed to the Washington Examiner.

But Landrieu's campaign wasn't able to receive approval for the project without some difficulty. An aide first approached the Louisiana House a few weeks ago with the request to use a committee room for filming — but the House speaker's office rejected them, adhering to an unwritten but strict rule that committee rooms not be used for such political purposes.

"It doesn't matter who it is. It could have been the Pope," said Cindy Mancuso, executive council to Republican Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley. "That's just the rule."

"We just feel that that space is for the public," Mancuso added. "We don't want to turn it into one person versus the other."

Landrieu's campaign then turned to the Louisiana Senate president's office, which decided to allow filming -- a courtesy regularly extended to former state elected officials in particular. Landrieu served in the Louisiana legislature and, later, as state treasurer.

Because Landrieu's campaign's use of the committee room did not cost the state Senate any money, there was no fee for using the facilities, an aide to Louisiana Senate President John Alario confirmed.

But the filming location, easily identified by media as a non-U.S.-Senate committee room, might have cost the Landrieu campaign some political capital.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee called Landrieu's re-enactment of a committee hearing in the ad "deceptive," and a third-party group, Keep Louisiana Working, attacked Landrieu as an "actress" in a television ad of their own.

Landrieu's portrayal of the committee hearing, which presents her as a staunch defender of energy interests against the Obama administration, was true to her statements made during a July 2013 meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“They have to sit here and listen to the federal government say, ‘We can’t share a penny with you,’” Landrieu says in the ad, a statement she also made during the hearing. “I will not rest until this injustice is fixed.”

Landrieu now chairs the committee and frequently invokes that position of power on the campaign trail in Louisiana.

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