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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APR 24 In addition to the billion-dollar hole predicted for Louisiana's budget in the next couple of years, there's another billion-dollar bill coming due, blogger CB Forgotston tells us. Turns out the state funds that Gov. Jindal's budgets have been raiding over the past several years are owed another billion, he says.
APR 24 Hey, she knew how to throw a party. NOLA Defender tells us about the last hurrah of diva Mickey Easterling in this post. But really, to get the whole effect you need to see the pictures, and here they are. If you want to read a more personal obit about the lady herself, read this one in Gambit, written by Clancy DuBos.
APR 24 Blogger Ian McGibboney is remembering his college days in this post about politics. Although he was voting liberal, he was assured it was something he would grow out of (well THAT wasn't an accurate prediction). The Right seems to see all votes against it as evil at worst, and ignorant at best, he writes.
APR 24 The internet trolls (those people who will post the most hateful, vicious things as comments on articles and social media posts) are so out of hand that some publications have shut comments down. So how does the younger generation feel about them? This editorial in the LSU Reveille tells us one student's view, and it might surprise you.
APR 24 State Sen. Elbert Guillory has a plan to help teachers "take control" of their classrooms - he's written a bill that would allow teachers to call the cops anytime they felt a threat in their classroom, without involving the principal of their school, columnist Jarvis DeBerry tells us in his post. While the need for this bill is unconfirmed, DeBerry predicts it will just dump more kids into the prison pipeline.
APR 24 Magazine Street is "the" place to shop in NOLA, according to some people, but it is starting to look like a mall. This post on The Lens takes a look at the issue of chain stores moving in and the resulting increase in rents that is making it impossible for locals to operate there.
APR 24 Here's an interesting article in the Atlantic about a U.S. Supreme Court review of the way we handle jury verdicts here in Louisiana. The non-unanimous murder verdict, it could be argued, allows prosecutors to put minority jurors on a panel - and not have to worry about their decisions. The Court decides Friday if it will hear the case.
APR 24 Here's a comprehensive roundup of the numbers from recent polls in the pivotal Senate races across the nation, from the Los Angeles Times. There's also some analysis of some governors' approval ratings, and it includes quite a bit about Gov. Jindal, Senator Landrieu and the Medicaid expansion.
APR 23 Blogger Tom Aswell has good news for parents who don't want the private information of their offspring sold/provided to corporations: inBloom is shutting down. He's certainly right when he claims the lion's share of the credit for bloggers -- most of the mainstream media, certainly here in Louisiana, didn't do stories on our DOE's agreement with this corporation until months after the bloggers had started reporting on it.
APR 22 Louisiana politics is entertainment, nothing more than a comedy routine that writes itself, blogger Dayne Sherman says. But while we're chuckling at the wizard between the sheets and the kissing congressman, our higher ed system is collapsing, and nobody's doing anything about it, he says.
APR 23 Look out! The Buzz Feed blog has busted Senate candidate Bill Cassidy in this post. Cassidy, a physician who is campaigning on how horrible it would be for people to have health insurance, once campaigned on a plan that sounds suspiciously like (you guessed it) Obamacare. Woops!
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