|Attorney General of Louisiana|
|2007 - Present|
|Years in position||6|
|Predecessor||Charles Foti (D)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 19, 2011|
|High school||Tallulah High School (1964)|
|Bachelor's||Tulane University (1968)|
|J.D.||Tulane University (1974)|
|Birthday||May 20, 1946|
|Place of birth||Columbia, Louisiana|
James David Caldwell was born May 20, 1946, in the town of Columbia in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, the fourth of seven children. His family are direct descendants of the Caldwells for whom the parish was named. In 1949, Caldwell's family moved to Madison Parish, where they have lived since.
Caldwell attended Tallulah High School in the city of Tallulah, the seat of Madison Parish, where he played baseball, football, basketball and ran track. Throughout grammar and high school, as well as into his college years, he worked in his mother's drug and dry good store. In 1964, Caldwell graduated from Tallulah High, moving on to Tulane University, where he received a B.A. in experimental psychology in 1968. He received his J.D. from Tulane in 1974 and opened a private practice.
In 1978, Caldwell was first elected district attorney for Louisiana's 6th Judicial District, encompassing East Carroll, Madison and Tensas Parishes. He was subsequently re-elected in 1984. In 1983, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Louisiana District Attorney's Association, serving there until 1996. Caldwell won his third term as district attorney in 1990, when in a low-turnout election he defeated Democrat Samuel Thomas, 6,711 (61 percent) to 4,277 (39 percent).  He was unopposed in 1996. Caldwell secured a fifth term in 2002, when he defeated Democrat Raymond "Ray" Cannon, 4,987 (56 percent) to 3,931 (44 percent) in another low-turnout election. 
- Tallulah High School (1964)
- Bachelor's degree, Experimental Psychology, Tulane University (1968)
- J.D., Tulane University Law School (1974)
Attorney General of Louisiana (2008-present)
- See also: Attorney General of Louisiana
First elected in 2007, Caldwell assumed the office of attorney general in January 2008, defeating his Republican opponent Royal Alexander by a margin of 33 percent. As attorney general, he is the chief legal officer of the state and represents the state in litigation. In addition, he provides legal advice to state agencies and employees.
As attorney general, Caldwell supervised the state's response to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, during which he sued Transocean, owner of the destroyed Deepwater Horizon rig. He also investigated progressive activist group ACORN over potential embezzlement within the organization and brought suit against 18 drug companies that he claimed overcharged the state's Medicaid program.
Caldwell was the only Democrat out of 26 state attorneys general to challenge President Obama's Affordable Care Act in March 2010. (He became a Republican since joining the suit.) Caldwell justified his participation in the lawsuit on the grounds that the law's individual mandate, which requires every American to purchase his/her own healthcare plan from a private insurance company, is unconstitutional. He stood behind his co-plaintiffs who argued that Congressional powers to regulate certain economic activities reserved under the Constitution's commerce clause do not extend to forcing citizens to purchase anything from a private company referring to them as, "market bystanders." Amid the U.S. Supreme Court hearings, which began in March 2012, Caldwell spoke out regularly to the press on the specific issue of the individual mandate. He believed that Obamacare would not survive the assessment of the majority of conservative-bending Supreme Court Justices, and explained why he believed the safer approach to expanding healthcare on a federal level would see Congress exploiting its explicit authority to tax and appropriate was passed over in favor of inflammatory, divisive reform: "If they want a tax, they can sustain that (in court), they just can't get it passed" through the House and Senate, he said on March 27, 2012. In homage to his Democratic roots, he told the liberal publication ThinkProgress the same day that his mistrust of private insurance companies, not the government, weighed heavily on his decision to challenge the individual mandate, saying, "If the government wants to put forth a policy where they will pay for everything and you won't have to go through an insurance policy, that'd be a whole lot better."
Caldwell was the only Democrat to receive the lowest rating, a letter grade of F+, from the June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by the liberal political organization, ACORN. The report was published in an effort to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," according to the group.  Austin King, ACORN Financial Justice Center Director, argued that, "like a few other offices, his was incredibly difficult to work with, refused to return the questionnaire and didn't even send a form letter declining to respond,"  and that they have no bone to pick with him.
Caldwell was one of the very few Democratic state top law enforcers who vigorously sought criminal charges against the political action group. In September 2009, an inquest conducted by the Pelican Institute revealed that ACORN and its related groups owed more than $1 million in state and federal taxes. Around the same time, the Louisiana Attorney General admitted that his office was launching a full-scale inquiry into the matter.  He announced in October 2009 that "an internal review by the board of directors of the community organization ACORN determined that the amount allegedly embezzled"  by Dale Rathke, brother of former-president Wade Rathke, exceeded $5 million. A month later, Caldwell issued a search warrant to conduct a raid of ACORN’s offices in New Orleans in which dozens of computers were seized.
In the midst of this investigation, Caldwell's office blamed Governor Bobby Jindal's "opposition to a fee that would have raised money to hire more investigators" for the prosecution's slow progress.  Jindal fired back that the division of the attorney general's office in charge of criminal investigations is allocated a budget of over $12 million, more then sufficient, he said, to do what was necessary to expediate the case.
Former Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle of Baton Rouge, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for insurance commissioner in 2003, emerged as a leading critic of Caldwell's attorney general candidacy. In 1997, Kyle reported that Caldwell "spent $1,529 in D.A. office funds to pay for personal items, including clothing and golfing expenses."  The expenses included air fare to Montana and golf fees in Alabama.  Kyle claimed that Caldwell tried "to quash release of parts of the audit . . . and used foul language and threats in an unsuccessful attempt to block the audit." He then accused Caldwell of having blamed his own secretary for the questionable spending: "Caldwell also said the spending problem in the 1997 audit was a mistake by his secretary, adding that he personally brought it to the auditor's attention." 
Three years later, Caldwell accused Kyle's investigators of "an array of questionable activities ranging from improperly bugging conversations to having sex with witnesses in audit investigations" in testimony before the Legislative Audit Advisory Council. Caldwell "told the council...that state auditors working in north Louisiana had suppressed evidence, secretly tape-recorded interviews with witnesses, and compromised the credibility of witnesses in possible criminal investigations."  Caldwell subpoenaed two of Kyle's investigators before a grand jury in Tallulah. Kyle later claimed that Caldwell was trying to indict Kyle or the investigators. Caldwell said after the Legislative Audit Advisory Council meeting that he "might reopen a grand jury investigation of Kyle's office." 
District Attorney, 6th Judicial District (1979-2008)
According to his official biography, as district attorney Caldwell "[participated] in the investigative assistance to law enforcement and prosecution of the cases in his district where practicable." His official biography as attorney general claims he tried "most major felony cases in his three-parish district," and advised police juries, school boards, law enforcement and other organizations on legal matters. In addition to Caldwell's duties in the courtroom, he administered offices in the three parishes that compromised his district.
In December 1994, Caldwell married for the third time in Las Vegas. A few months later, he was served with divorce papers by his new wife. Four days after that, she was terminated as the "confidential assistant" to Louisiana Secretary of State Fox McKeithen. Caldwell testified that he arranged for his third wife's hiring with the help of an employee of the attorney general's office. "I've known Fox ever since we were children," Caldwell said. The third Mrs. Caldwell testified that McKeithen called her into his office on May 12, 1995, and they discussed her divorce case: "I was terminated from my job. I was upset. I was crying. I have a child to support. I could not survive without a job."  Amid the divorce proceedings, Caldwell dropped a bid for lieutenant governor that year on the grounds that his position as district attorney would not allow him time to campaign. The lieutenant governorship was instead won by outgoing Governor of Louisiana Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Lafayette.
While he was District Attorney for multiple parishes, Caldwell repeatedly refused to investigate and indict family members. In repeated audit findings from the Louisiana Board of Ethics and Legislative Auditors, Carolyn and Ray Caldwell, as well as their children, other family members, and friends, were discovered to be inappropriately profiting from Madison's Office of Clerk of Court finances. 
Shortly before the three-candidate primary for attorney general on October 20, 2007, it was revealed that Caldwell's son, David Caldwell, was employed by former Attorney General Foti. Caldwell was himself a Foti supporter in the 2003 election.
Caldwell sent strong signals he would run for re-election in 2011, raising over $400,000 in 2010 for his re-election campaign. He also formally switched his allegiance from the Democratic to the Republican Party in February 2011, a move the Louisiana Democratic Party suggested was an opportunistic play for conservative votes. Following the withdrawal of his only opponent, former Republican U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, Caldwell won re-election unopposed in the October 22 blanket primary.
- 2007 General Election
- Caldwell won the general election for attorney general with 67% of the vote.
|Attorney General of Louisiana, 2007|
- 2007 Open Primary Election
|Attorney General of Louisiana, Primary Election, 2007|
|Democratic||Charle C. Foti, Jr.||0%||0|
Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of James D. "Buddy" Caldwell's donors each year. Click [show] for more information.
|James D. "Buddy" Caldwell's Campaign Contributions|
Louisiana Attorney General
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$746,385 (Rep.)|
|Top 5 contributors||James D. Caldwell||$290,000|
|Louisiana Democratic Party||$16,038|
|James D. (Buddy) Caldwell||$11,274|
|Henry Dart Attorneys at Law||$10,000|
|501 Property LLC||$10,000|
State Executive elections
| Kentucky • Louisiana |
Mississippi • West Virginia
|Gubernatorial • Lt. Governor |
Attorney General • Secretary of State
Down ballot offices: (KY, LA, MS)
|News • Calendar|
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Buddy + Caldwell + Louisiana + Attorney"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- HAYRIDE INVESTIGATES: The Curious Buddy System Of Louisiana AG ... - Bayoubuzz (subscription)
- The WWL Piece On Buddy Caldwell You Simply Won't Believe - The Hayride - The Hayride
- The Morning Wrap - The BLT: Blog of Legal Times (blog)
- AG Buddy Caldwell won't carry on probe of chimp death - Shreveport Times
- Concealed handgun law could get Louisiana attorney general's scrutiny - NOLA.com
- Attorney general won't commit to defending ticketed red snapper anglers - NOLA.com
- Zachary women identified in Medicaid fraud - Zachary Plainsman
- Nine arrested in child porn investigation - The Advocate
- After receiving national award, Louisiana State Police boss defends his record ... - NOLA.com
- Caldwell asks judge to block CNSI request - The Advocate
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Caldwell currently resides in Madison Parish, with his wife, Pat. The couple has seven children and six grandchildren together. In addition to his political work, Caldwell is an accomplished singer and published songwriter.
Office of Louisiana Attorney General
1885 N. Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 326-6705
Fax: (225) 326-6793
- Attorney General of Louisiana
- Governor of Louisiana
- Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana
- Louisiana Secretary of State
- Official Louisiana Attorney General website
- Buddy Caldwell for Attorney General Campaign website
- Project Vote Smart - Buddy Caldwell biography
- Campaign contributions: 2011, 2009, 2007
- Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell on Facebook
- Follow La AG on Twitter
- Louisiana AG Caldwell on YouTube
- ↑ New Orleans Times Picayune, "Attorney General Buddy Caldwell switches to Republican," February 3, 2011
- ↑ KADN.com, "Joseph Cao gets back on the campaign trail", April 13, 2011.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Office of the Attorney General, State of Louisiana, "Biography," accessed May 17, 2011.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 6th Judicial District, accessed May 17, 2011.
- ↑ Louisiana Secretary of State-Multi-Parish Elections Inquiry
- ↑ Louisiana Secretary of State-Multi-Parish Elections Inquiry
- ↑ Nola.com, "Attorney General Buddy Caldwell sues Transocean over Gulf Oil Spill," September 15, 2010.
- ↑ The Times-Picayune, "ACORN embezzlement was $5 million, La. attorney general says," October 6, 2009.
- ↑ The Times-Picayune, "Attorney General Buddy Caldwell sues drug companies, alleges price manipulation," November 1, 2010.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 The Times-Picayune "Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell sees no chance that Supreme Court will allow health-care law to survive," March 30, 2012
- ↑ ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
- ↑ Legal Newsline "ACORN: AG Caldwell should have returned questionnaire" 16 June, 2008
- ↑ Big Government "ACORN’s Tax Problems" 1 Oct. 2009
- ↑ Big Government "Breaking: Louisiana Attorney General: Rathke Embezzled $5 Million From ACORN" 5 Oct. 2009
- ↑ The Advocate "Jindal blocks resources, AG says" 23 Sept. 2009
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Advocate "DA criticizes auditor's office" 6 Oct. 2000
- ↑ New Orleans Times-Picayune "Spending Problems Cited By State Auditor" 2 April, 1997
- ↑ New Orleans Times-Picayune "District attorney blasts auditor" 6 Oct. 2000
- ↑ State News Shot "The Louisiana Buddy (Caldwell) System" 15 Oct. 2007
- ↑ Madison Parish Clerk of Court Compliance Audit 2005
- ↑ Nola.com, "Attorney General Buddy Caldwell raised $400k last year," February 15, 2011.
- ↑ BestOfNewOrleans.com, "Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell flips to GOP," February 2, 2011.
- ↑ U.S. Election Atlas "2007 Attorney General General Election Results-Louisiana," November 18, 2007
- ↑ Follow the Money.org
- ↑ Office of the Attorney General of the State of Louisiana "Biography-Buddy Caldwell," accessed April 2, 2012
Charles F. Foti, Jr.
|Louisiana Attorney General
| Succeeded by|