La. Sen. Kennedy asks revenue department to collect unpaid taxes from former state police superintendent

La. Sen. Kennedy asks revenue department to collect unpaid taxes from former state police superintendent

A Louisiana senator is asking the IRS to collect unpaid taxes from a former state police superintendent who stepped down following controversies involving luxury travel and overtime scandal.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy sent a letter to Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson to collect unpaid state income taxes from former State Police Supt. Mike Edmonson for benefits he received while serving as a cabinet secretary.

In the letter, Kennedy says it is clear the state's auditor's report that Edmonson received taxpayer-funded perks that constituted taxable income. Some of the perks Kennedy listed in the letter were free housing, utilities, cable television, electricity, meals, and dry cleaning.

The Louisiana senator went on to highlight Edmonson as a member of Gov. John Bel Edward's cabinet. Kennedy said that Edmonson is not above the law "merely because he was a member of Gov. Edwards' cabinet." Kennedy says Edmonson shouldn't be held to a lower tax obligation when Louisiana, both for individuals and businesses, are struggling with a higher tax burden.

Kennedy closes the letter by calling attention to Edwards' requests for tax increases, both last year and this year, and says it couldn't come at a worse time for the state. "As you know, the Edwards administration convinced the Legislature to raise well over $1 billion in new taxes and fees last year," Kennedy said in the letter. "And Governor Edwards asked for another tax increase this year, all at a time when our oil and gas industry is in a depression and we have one of the highest unemployment rates in America. The least you can do is demand that his cabinet appointees pay their taxes."

Gov. Edwards responded to Sen. Kennedy's comments on Wednesday saying Kennedy is not one to "pass up an opportunity to get a headline" while also highlighting Kennedy's role in the current budget crisis the state finds itself in.

In the statement Edwards said:

Sen. Kennedy is not one to pass up an opportunity to get a headline. We welcome any interest in making government more transparent and strive to protect and honor the taxpayers. However, it is worth noting that Sen. Kennedy was treasurer under Gov. Jindal for 8 years when this agreement was put into place, but said absolutely nothing. This indicates that he's not interested in protecting taxpayers, but rather playing politics as usual. With so much going on in Congress, like the reauthorization of CHIP that expired under his watch, you'd think he'd be focused on his own job. Our administration will follow the law, and we'll await the final audit report.

This isn't the first time Sen. Kennedy has had his sights on Col. Edmonson. In February, Kennedy called for Edmonson's resignation following an investigation that detailed a pricey conference trip that included a stay in the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas for four troopers.

In March, Edmonson stepped down from his post. "It was not the result of any one particular thing. it's a decision I made at this time. Is there a best time to make this? I don't know that. I think it was the right time," Edmonson said.

A copy of the letter can be found attached below:

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