Politics

Political Appointees Make It Rain For Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The political appointees of Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal have showered him with contributions exceeding $1.8 million, according to the Times-Picayune.

The newspaper and local news channel WVUE Fox 8 investigated Jindal’s campaign finance reports, focusing on in-state contributors. At least 317 Jindal appointees to boards and commissions across the state and their companies have donated generously to Jindal’s campaign in the last four years.

For a small group of people, their contributions made up more than 13 percent of the total $13.3 million the governor raised.

Jindal has received nearly three times as much money from political appointees than his predecessor, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) in a similar period of time.

According to the report, there were several cases in which money showed up in Jindal’s campaign just days after the contributor’s appointment.

Robert Heitmeier, a river pilot and brother of state Sen. David Heitmeier and former Sen. Francis Heitmeier, wrote Jindal a check for $1,400 in 2011. Eighteen days later, he was tapped to chair the board that investigates reported misconduct of river pilots.

Critics of the report say that it’s expected that the governor would appoint allies who see eye to eye with his low regulation, low taxes, public school voucher agenda. They say it’s reasonable that these allies would also contribute to his campaign.

However, some appointees sit on boards that have a major impact on state policy, including the doling out millions in tax incentives to businesses and setting the tuition of public university.

“Appointments to boards and commissions are made, and the senate confirms them, based on a person’s experience and whether it’s in the best interest of the state,” said Jindal’s office in a statement. “Contracts are determined by individual agencies and typically have to be vetted through a competitive bid process.”

Sources: NOLA.com, WVUE