Louisiana’s Governor Ignores Growing Budget Deficit to Make Political Speeches in Europe
BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal hasn’t announced he’s running for president (yet), but he’s heading to London to deliver a speech bashing Hillary Clinton — and he’s using taxpayer-funded resources to help promote what appears to be an entirely political speech.
“We’ve known for a very long time that Governor Jindal spends most of his waking moments advancing his political future, rather than doing the job that Louisiana taxpayers are paying him to do,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “Now it’s becoming clear that Jindal has no problem with using state employees and resources to advance his political future. Despite all of the crises facing Louisiana right now, Jindal is jetting off to Europe to burnish his foreign policy credentials. There is simply no acceptable reason why the governor’s official press office should be working overtime to promote what is essentially a campaign speech.”
According to a Tweet from NOLA.com reporter Julia O’Donoghue, Jindal’s official press office today sent out an email blast to reporters touting a preview of his London speech. The preview indicates the speech is entirely about foreign policy — which may be helpful for a 2016 presidential contender, but has nothing to do with Jindal’s gubernatorial portfolio.
— Julia O'Donoghue (@JSODonoghue) January 14, 2015
Jindal’s political travel isn’t limited to international destinations, however. Louisiana’s governor has been spending significant time in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states. Jindal’s out-of-state travel from 2008 to 2012 cost Louisiana taxpayers more than $175,000 to cover the governor’s security detail. While Jindal may be using campaign funds to cover some of the costs of his political travel, some have suggested using state campaign dollars for a nascent presidential campaign could violate campaign finance laws.
Jindal’s European jaunt is happening even as Louisiana is facing a billion-dollar budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year. The Jindal administration recently announced it is planning to slash higher education funding by up to $300 million. Louisiana has already cut funding for public colleges and universities by nearly $700 million during the Jindal administration. Jindal is also demanding a $3.8-million cut to administer Louisiana’s elections.