Louisiana Secretary of State refers potential website abuse by Jindal to Attorney General, District Attorney

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By Robert Mann

Here’s an update to this post from May 30, in which I shared my email to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office and my request that its Election Compliance Unit investigate Gov. Bobby Jindal for possibly using his official state website for unlawful political purposes.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler has referred the case to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore.

On May 27, Jindal issued a press statement, posted on his Governor’s Office website, attacking Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul as unfit to serve as president. Paul is a candidate for the GOP nomination.

The state Constitution and Louisiana law say: “No public funds shall be used to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition, or be appropriated to a candidate or political organization.” The prohibition has been placed in statute La. R.S. 18:1465 and the law spells out the potential penalty: “Whoever violates any provision of this Section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or both.”

To be clear, Jindal is free to attack Paul as unfit to be president. He just cannot do so using his official Governor’s Office website. Jindal may also use his official website to critique Paul’s policy positions. Where he may have crossed the line was using his press secretary and his press office to say Paul, a candidate for president, is “unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief.”

I received on Monday copies of official referrals “for further investigation” by Schedler sent to Caldwell and Moore. The letters included not only my complaint but the opinion of state Inspector General Stephen Street, which was critical of Jindal’s official statement.

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10 Responses to Louisiana Secretary of State refers potential website abuse by Jindal to Attorney General, District Attorney

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Good. At least they did something.

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  2. So the complaint is now in the hands of two publicly elected officials who have shown zero interest in policing our states election laws. I’m sure Secretary of State Schedler’s referral “for further investigation” will end up in the “oh that’s interesting” file (also known as a trash can) under the desks of both Caldwell and Moore.

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    • Stephen Winham says:

      I didn’t want to say that, but I agree and Caldwell might even take the standard position that he is supposed to defend the state and its officials, not go after them.

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      • earthmother says:

        There is a glimmer of hope. AG Caldwell did opine that OGB and the administration wrongfully failed to follow LA law when it made all the plan changes last fall.
        If he does not care to rule on this, wonder if the Feds would weigh in?

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      • The OGB represented thousands of potential votes for AG Caldwell. This matter brings no glory or votes to Caldwell. I wish it wasn’t so but I think that whats going to be counted when the referral is reviewed by EBRP DA More and AG Caldwell. As for as the feds go I’m not sure what law Jindal would have broken. There are many more protection of speech at the federal level.

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  4. tonyg2 says:

    Ethics complaint, anyone? Jindal came in on ethics reform; he goes out with ethics violation.

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    • Tony, I think that would have been the appropriate place to start. Unfortunately board oversight is not option as long as the Jindal administration holds office. The Louisiana Board of Ethics was made impotent years ago when Jindal first took office. As many of you will recall Gov. Jindal’s pushed though a select package of ethic reforms that ironically exempted the very branch where these new laws were written. Several board members, including then chairman Frank Simoneaux, were push out and replaced with Jindal appointees when several board members balked at what was clearly “for show” reforms. It is no secret that this board has shown zero interest in enforcing what still stands as Louisiana ethic laws.

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  6. jfitzmorris2@cox.net says:

    And he’s your man?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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