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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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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