ATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Republican Rep. Jeff Landry blasted his GOP opponent Rep. Charles Boustany for running ads that claim Landry's businesses didn't pay their property taxes on time, a claim disputed Friday by tax offices in both parishes cited in the congressional campaign attacks.
A Boustany TV ad says, "Six times in the last decade, Landry broke the rules and didn't pay his taxes." A campaign mailer echoes similar claims.
"The ad is fundamentally and factually false. We are literally calling to the floor his credibility," said Landry campaign manager Phillip Joffrion.
To back up the point, Landry's campaign on Friday circulated letters from the tax offices of the St. Landry and Lafayette parish sheriffs agreeing that the taxes on the properties at issue were paid "in full and in a timely manner."
Despite the letters, Boustany's campaign manager John Porter defended the advertising. He said on six different occasions, taxes on real estate owned by Landry's companies were paid in January when they were due on Dec. 31.
Porter couldn't explain why the sheriffs' offices said the taxes were paid on time.
In instances provided by Porter, the Boustany campaign said the taxes were paid anywhere from Jan. 4 through Jan. 23 in the two parishes, instead of before the end of the prior year.
"Louisiana law is very clear. Taxes are due on Dec. 31. Beginning on Jan. 1, you are delinquent," Porter said. "Each of these six instances, they were not paid on time. Therefore, our ads are factual."
Both Landry and Boustany are incumbent congressmen, forced into the same district when Louisiana lost a congressional seat because of slower-than-average population growth. The men are battling for the 3rd Congressional district seat representing southwest Louisiana.