GOP Senate Candidate Bill Cassidy Says LSU Part-Time Job Is a 'Non-Issue'

His opponent suggests double-dipping, but Cassidy sees 'service to humanity.'

ByABC News
November 27, 2014, 5:04 AM
Senate candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., speaks at a campaign stop at VFW Post 5951in Bossier City, La., Monday, Oct. 13, 2014.
Senate candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., speaks at a campaign stop at VFW Post 5951in Bossier City, La., Monday, Oct. 13, 2014.
Gerald Herbert / AP Photo

— -- Was Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is locked in a bitter battle for a U.S. Senate seat runoff, getting paid by taxpayers for work he didn't do?

That's the allegation raised after the release of new documents about the GOP candidate's part-time job as a professor of medicine at Louisiana State University during his time in Congress.

The documents, first published Tuesday by the Louisiana news website The American Zombie, have become a late campaign issue for Cassidy just two weeks before he heads to a runoff election against incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. Among the documents released is a collection of timesheets that indicate Cassidy worked as few as seven hours in one month for his part-time teaching job that earned him $2,000 a month in addition to his Congressional salary.

But in an interview with ABC News, Cassidy brushed aside the notion that he has been getting paid for work he hadn’t done.

“I don’t earn more money by recording hours, I am on salary,” Cassidy told ABC News. “All I am trying to do is let LSU know what I am doing, I get the same no matter what I do.”

Cassidy, who worked as a doctor for two decades before being elected to Congress in 2008 and was employed by LSU at the time of his election, obtained permission through the House Ethics Committee to continue working part-time as a professor on the condition that his additional earnings not exceed $25,000 a year.

A series of emails among LSU employees, also obtained through the document release, detail that Cassidy would be expected to carry 20 percent of his previous workload and hours for 20 percent of his full-time salary, amounting to about 30 hours of work for $2,000 a month.

Landrieu’s campaign has seized on the new documents, suggesting that Cassidy may have been double-dipping with his two taxpayer-funded jobs.

“Congressman Cassidy may have taken home over $100,000 in taxpayer funds for work he never did,” Landrieu campaign Communications Director Fabien Levy said in a statement. “Most people don’t get paid enough for the work they do, let alone for the work they don’t do. But it seems Congressman Cassidy got a pat on the back and a check in the bank.”

But Cassidy said his detractors have a “non-issue” with this new line of attack.

“They’re trying to make something out of a service to humanity,” Cassidy said. “There’s a guy in New Iberia, Louisiana, who has a brother who is alive because I am allowed to do this.”

Cassidy has been on a leave of absence from LSU since April, as he focuses on his Senate campaign, but said he hopes to pick back up his teaching role if elected on Dec. 6.