When former Gov. Edwin Edwards was released from federal prison in Oakdale, La., early on the morning of Jan. 13, it was contingent on several requirements laid down by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP). Edwards will serve out the remaining six months of his sentence in home confinement at his daughter Anna Edwards' house in Denham Springs; he will have to check in regularly at a halfway house; and, according to FBP regulations, he must get a job.
That job, however, will not be leading the Pelican State. A Jan. 10 article by Christopher Tidmore in The Louisiana Weekly said unnamed "insiders" were wondering if the four-term governor might challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal in the October 2011 gubernatorial election. Tidmore quoted former secretary of state and insurance commissioner Jim Brown: "[In Louisiana], if you are convicted of a state crime, you cannot run for state office. But not so federally. There is nothing to stop him from running for governor, if that's what he wants."
Actually, according to the Louisiana Constitution, "A person who desires to qualify as a candidate for or hold an elective office, who has been convicted of a felony and who has served his sentence, but has not been pardoned for such felony, shall be permitted to qualify as a candidate for or hold such office if the date of his qualifying for such office is more than 15 years after the date of the completion of his original sentence." In short, Brown's statement that there's "nothing to stop [Edwards] for running for governor" would be true only if President Barack Obama were to pardon Edwards — or if EWE decided to run in 2026, when he would be 99 years old.
Brown, an attorney and publisher, may have a vested interest in keeping the public buzzing about The Silver Zipper. Leo Honeycutt's recent biography, Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana, was authorized by Edwards and published by the Baton Rouge-based imprint Lisburn Press — which, according to records filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State, is owned by Brown. Lisburn's first big title came out in 2004, after Brown was convicted of lying to an FBI agent and spent six months of his own in Oakdale. The title of that book: Justice Denied: How the Federal Justice System Failed Former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown. — Kevin Allman