Jindal, Faircloth and their money-burning ruse

English: Governor Bobby Jindal at the Republic...

Governor Bobby Jindal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Elliott Stonecipher

It is now much easier to make the case that Governor Bobby Jindal knows his chances of winning the presidency in the 2016 election are securely in his past.  In fact, given the record he is now so feverishly and self-destructively building, it is difficult imagining the governor winning another – any – statewide election in Louisiana.  In making that case, Exhibits #1 through #50, at least, are on display in Jindal’s bafflingly deliberate and long-running defiance of orders issued by Baton Rouge state district court Judge Janice Clark in a key public records case.

Over five months ago, on April 25th, Judge Clark emphatically ruled in favor of plaintiff newspapers, the Advocate and Times-Picayune, and ordered the LSU Board of Supervisors to “immediately produce” the documents identifying all those who sought the combined job of LSU President and Chancellor.  F. King Alexander was selected for the job, and Jindal does not want citizens to know who the other candidates were.  Thus he directed his go-to lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, to burn a trainload of taxpayer money by stiffing the citizenry and Judge Clark … repeatedly … and proudly.

The rarity of observing such a months-long political train wreck was underscored by Lori Mince, the attorney representing the two Louisiana newspapers, in an article yesterday by Mike Hasten of Gannett News.  Ms. Mince noted, “This is the first public records case I’ve had when the public body refused to comply.”  No one else with whom I have spoken or emailed can remember another such instance, either.  Such makes sense because once a public records case goes all the way to court, and a judge orders the documents produced, public officials have every reason and need to, well, produce the documents.  That is precisely what happened when a group of us in Shreveport sued the highway department for documents, went up against Jindal/Faircloth’s initial opposition, and headed to Judge Clark’s court.  When our hearing came up, the requested documents appeared as Faircloth did the opposite.

To grasp how bizarrely foolish the Jindal / Faircloth / Board of Supervisors argument is, it began with Faircloth arguing that the only word in the related law which mattered was “applicant,” and that there was only one of those, the winner, F. King Alexander.  Note that Faircloth made this argument to Judge Clark even though Blake Chatelain, the member of the LSU Supervisors who led the search committee, said in his subject court deposition that he and his committee began their work with about 100 prospects, cut that to 35 keepers, then down to “six or seven,” before picking Alexander.  All of this was managed via a web portal belonging to a Dallas consultant hired for such purpose, a reported key in the Jindal plan to maintain secrecy throughout the process.  (Thanks to Gordon Russell, then writing for the Times-Pic, for his April report.)

It is anyone’s guess as to what Jindal is hiding – was/is Alexander qualified?  Was he the best candidate?  Who did Jindal really want and why didn’t that person get the job?  But those of us who have been down this road with the man and his team, especially Faircloth, know that the explanation may be much simpler: Jindal has never believed the rules and law and constitution apply to him.

As if it is not mind-bending enough to argue that there was only one “applicant” for the job, the one who got it, and that the other 99 were “contenders” or “candidates” or some other such label rendering them non-existent for Jindal’s purposes, Faircloth has confected a back-up crazoid:  according to him, nothing Judge Clark is doing is fair or just or right or legal because he/LSU/Jindal have not yet filed a “full appeal” of Judge Clark’s decision with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.  Now, take a moment to get this one:  yes, it is true and factual that both the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal AND the Louisiana State Supreme Court have already rejected LSU requests to overturn Judge Clark’s order, but that does not stop Jindal, et al, in their loud protestation that they have been denied what they deem a “full appeal.”  No independent legal source I have found confirms such a view, so this seems certain to be yet another Faircloth/Jindal time- and money-burning ruse.

For a bit more context, we should remember that other than its student member, members of the LSU Board of Supervisors “paid to play,” that is, contributed serious money – over $60,000 in one instance – to Jindal’s various campaigns to obtain those seats.  Most recently, even with 50 pages blank, the Board acted to approve the contract which hands the state’s LSU Medical Center in Shreveport to the Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF).  BRF is not in the hospital business, and never has been, but is well-wired into All Things Jindal, with its top officer, Dr. John George, also a member of – yes, you guessed it – the LSU Board of Supervisors.  (Thus, no one should be surprised if that deal proves to be a political insiders’ bacchanal rather than a continuation of the quality healthcare North Louisiana indigents and other poor have long been provided.)

As to Faircloth, we may remember that he was the legal guru Jindal picked to do the dirty deed in gutting the enforcement capability of the Louisiana Ethics Administration in 2008.  In a move only Rasputin could respect, Team Jindal named the op the “ethics gold standard.”  Faircloth joined key legislators with pending ethics cases against them already in the pipeline and raised the standard of evidence in such cases to the prosecutorial equivalent of criminal law.  No state’s ethics regime – a civil law code and process – is staffed or otherwise qualified to present cases within that standard.  The cherry on top for Faircloth and Jindal was putting an unclassified state employee who answers directly to the governor in charge of picking the administrative law judges who now adjudicate ethics cases.

Judge Clark has had enough.  As reported today by Joe Gyan and Ryan Broussard of the Advocate, and by Diana Samuels of the Times-Picayune, something has to give, or else.  Clark has threatened defendants with contempt charges, then ordered the parish sheriff to go get the list and bring it to her court.  Nothing has worked.  What she has gotten is a steady line of bullstuff from Faircloth, and she’s fed-up enough to order him to shut that up.  With word of a possible compromise in the makes for a Monday roll-out, the eyes of all who are interested remain focused on her honor.  With her political and judicial reputation at issue, it is difficult to believe she will not find a way to get the list of all candidates for the job and release it to the public as soon as possible.

When the smoke clears, regardless of what happens with the list, Governor Jindal will have drawn a bright line under, through and around his inexplicably open willingness to act contrary to law.  Some of us remember the “government of laws, not of men” posit by John Adams, and the importance of a balance of governmental powers among and between the three branches.  A fair inspection of Jindal’s actions as Louisiana’s executive will find much which suggests he has only passing, if any, respect for such governmental niceties.  Since a quick internet search brings up national news coverage of this and all Jindal stories these days, the governor’s ways and means are now much, much easier to identify and analyze than in the past.

Though Governor Jindal may harvest some semblance of a political crop by merely keeping up a presidential candidate act, it is indeed difficult to believe he still sees himself a viable candidate for President of the United States.  Even nowadays.

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17 Responses to Jindal, Faircloth and their money-burning ruse

  1. Fredster says:

    Excellent Mr. Stonecipher. Could we indeed see a perp walk as a result of this?

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  2. Butch Gautreaux says:

    It would be interesting to know how much tax money Jindal has spent in appeals in cases he lost. Faircloth should have been paid on results, it would have been a lot cheaper.

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  3. Gerald Ingram says:

    “With word of a possible compromise in the makes for a Monday roll-out,” Compromise? WTF? Just release the names or go to jail.

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  4. Mkmarks@mmcc.com says:

    Excellent!

    Marion K. Marks MMCC Forensic, LLC (318) 424-0880 Please excuse my spelling as the computer changes my typing… Sent from my iPad

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  5. Reblogged this on The Daily Kingfish and commented:
    From

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  6. Insider says:

    What’s this about? I think that the new LSU prez agreed as a condition of his employment that he would sign the contracts to privatize the public hospitals, no matter what those contracts ended up containing. Why would he agree to that? Just read thugthebook.blogspot.com to get some idea about that one. Why so desperate to keep the other applicants’ names out of the sunshine, then? Because some of them would have been asked to agree to cooperate fully in this scam of the century but refused. Understandably, the applicants who did not get agree and therefore did not get the offer are keeping quiet because they really don’t know enough on an individual basis to put it all together. But if the list of names gets out, the media will begin asking them questions and the house of cards will fall.

    And then Diaper Dave will become the next governor.

    Sorry…..

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  7. Will Wyeth says:

    One of Jindal’s favorite cliches is “we have to do more with less”. It seems Faircloth does very little with too much. Much too much tax payers dollars going to a failed cause.
    I’m sure the deputies would have found what they were searching for on one of the board members computer. Come on Judge Clark you are going to have to be more clever to corner the fourth floor fox.

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  8. earthmother says:

    Question – do the members of the LSU Board of Supervisors have fiduciary responsibility? Meaning that when they willfully act outside the law, they are personally responsible for the financial consequences, Thus the $60K fines would be their personal responsibility, not that of the taxpayers. We the People did not elect these self-important sycophants to anything and we should not be responsible for their criminal acts. Let’s be honest, when people break laws they are criminals, The public records laws are, after all, LAWS.

    Judge Clark should collect the fines – from the board members’ pockets – and put them all in orange jumpsuits for a few days. Faircloth, too. It would be interesting to see the rich and powerful sleeping in the same place as the poor and powerless.

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    • Stephen Winham says:

      True. If a law can be willfully ignored and there are no consequences for the people ignoring it, what good is it to even have the law?

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  9. Insider says:

    Cal State Long Beach is currently engaged in a secretive search for the successor of the current LSU prez. Here is a an interesting perspective on such secrecy from their newspaper yesterday.

    “When you hire a candidate through a secret search, that candidate often comes with the orientation to do backdoor politics,” Celsi said. “Based on personal experience, the result of this environment becomes unpredictable, unstable, and hard to work in … the result is stifling to faculty.” – See more at: http://www.daily49er.com/news/2013/09/11/a-transparent-csu-presidential-search-concept-is-gaining-momentum-with-faculty-but-not-students

    And, of course, another result can be backroom deals that redirect public funds to private pockets. No sane person simply accepts a needless $60,000 fine and so much bad national press (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/us/louisiana-judge-orders-seizure-of-papers-in-lsu-president-search.html). Especially if one could get out of the jam in a minute by e-mailing some PDF files to a judge. Not, that is, unless complying with the court order risks even greater negative consequences…much greater consequences would be my guess….

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  10. G. V. FOREMAN says:

    The LSU boards refusal to release the court ordered documents is a direct reflection of and a result of Jindal’s attitude toward government and transparency. As such, Jindal, as Chief Executive of the State, by his refusal to release court ordered documents, is in contempt of the court order, guilty of obstruction of justice. Unfortunately, because of the “separation of powers doctrine”, an active state governor can not be found in contempt nor legally sanctioned by the state judiciary. To do as much would require a bill of impeachment. Jindal’s refusal to release the court ordered documents, raises the legal bar to that of “high crimes and misdemeanors”. The legal bases for impeachment. One can draw a comparisons between this situation and Nixon’s refusal to release the WATERGATE TAPES. Such a legal stance failed for Nixon, it certainly will not work for Jindal. Of course, this particular situation would be the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”. Once the dust has settled, other questionable actions on Jindal’s part would reinforce whatever legal action the legislature should produce. However, the political reality of the situation would indicate a Jindal controlled legislature would be less than willing to go through with an impeachment process against him. Politically, Jindal owns the legislators and as such the legislature.

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  11. Butch Gautreaux says:

    Watch what’s going on at Nicholls State. The search for the new President is completely open to the public. All hearings have the Nicholls community including students invited. All records are open. It called sunlight, it’s a public university using tax dollars. Leave it the Harvard on the Bayou to get it right.

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