Gov. Bobby Jindal, who promised a gold standard for ethics reform, has delivered anything but — and as a consequence landed a spot on the list of worst governors in the country. On Wednesday, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington noted Jindal’s poor record in ethics and government transparency — especially when it comes to his own office — as primary reasons for placing him on the list of the 11 worst governors in the U.S.
CREW noted that Jindal, who was elected governor in 2007 and is running for re-election in 2011: • Prevented the public release of government records and has fought legislation to make government more transparent • Weakened the authority of the state ethics board • Refused to accept federal stimulus funds to expand unemployment insurance and to fund other important programs • Rewarded campaign donors with government jobs and contracts • Has been fined for ethics violations
The report could be the ammunition Republican state Sen. Robert Adley and Republican state Rep. Wayne Waddell of Shreveport need in their fight to open up more of the governor’s records. “Just remember the country is looking at us,” Adley told his colleagues Wednesday, according to today’s Advocate. “Sometimes we need to show enough independence so our state will be looked at in a favorable fashion.”
Also on the list were Republican Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi (No. 1); Donald L. Carcieri of Rhode Island, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Rick Perry of Texas; and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. And the left-leaning watchdog group didn’t discriminate, including New Mexico’s Gov. Bill Richardson and New York’s David Patterson on the list.
CREW, which says its purpose is to “promote ethics and accountability in government and public life,” reviewed the job performance of all 50 governors to determine which are the worst. “We considered whether governors had violated ethics, campaign finance and personal financial disclosure rules as well as whether they had complied with state transparency laws,” the group noted in releasing the list. “It is nearly impossible to compare governors’ adherence to the laws because state rules and laws vary so widely. Each state has its own ethical rules and standards. Requirements regarding disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures and personal finances differ significantly as do state open records laws. Some states make much more information publicly available than others.”
CREW specifically noted Jindal’s hypocrisy is rejecting federal stimulus money. While Jindal declined $98 million in federal stimulus funds intended to help the state expand unemployment insurance, rejected $9.5 million in stimulus funds to temporarily expand Medicaid to families who left welfare for a job, turned back $55.3 million to provide health care for people without insurance and refused to apply for $300 million in stimulus money to potentially fund a high-speed rail line between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, he nonetheless accepted and dispersed one billion in stimulus money to shore up Louisiana’s budget, CREW pointed out. “The governor also publicly presented a $521,000 check he signed personally to the First Baptist Church in Anacoco, but failed to disclose its source: the much maligned federal stimulus law.”
Read the Jindal report here and the full report here.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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