A cornerstone of Bobby Jindal's campaign for Governor of Louisiana in 2007 was a push for tougher ethics rules in Louisiana's government. Yeah. He wants to set the "gold standard" (his words) for ethics on his watch. Well wouldn't ya know it. Not long after getting elected, the guy gets fined $2500 on charges by the Board of Ethics. Apparently his campaign failed to disclose third party funding on time and that violates Louisiana campaign finance laws. Ironically, campaign finance will not be a focus of Jindal's ethics reform. Maybe it should be, eh?
Several Republican sheep and henchmen are letting this slip by as a simple oversight. Well then why even bother standing up for ethics at all? Come on now. The second you start down playing a violation as a simple oversight, we'll fall back into letting business as usual continue. State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere is saying this was just a misinterpretation of an accounting rule. If you're not at least skeptical about how unconcerned officials are over this, shame on you. Any politician chasing after the moral high ground has no excuse when he or she steps in it. Voters are not happy when politicians behave unethically, regardless of party affiliation. An ethics violation is still an ethics violation.
The story, as I understand it, was that someone who works for Jindal was supposed to disclose the amount of money raised which might lead people to let him off the hook. However, the responsibility in any campaign goes right to the top. You're responsible for your campaign. Period. To make it look like they're not trying to hide anything, they filed the party expenditures after the due date. He's really trying to put this one behind him. By paying the $2500 slap on the wrist fine, he admits to wrongdoing and avoids a hearing on the violation.
If you want to go after ethics violations, you have to include campaign finance reform. If you want to clean up politics, you have to follow the money. You must stand up for ethical behavior.
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Were you hoping to find something about the ties Jindal has to Jack Abramoff? You can do a Google search on that one.
With regard to ethics reform, Jindal has made steps toward handling ethics issues related to local government, but he has also made it much more difficult to convict those brought up on ethics violation charges. Little thing called burden of proof. The "reform" creates a situation where the statistics become misleading. Ethics convictions will decrease because convictions will be more difficult to win, giving Jindal a positive talking point, yet in reality, ethically questionable activity can continue under the radar without punishment. Louisiana is still going to have corrupt politicians as a result. Throw in Jindal's legislation to remove his office from public records and he's made a straight shoot for getting away with whatever he wants. Good guy you've got there, Louisiana.
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