Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Jay Dardenne has slammed Governor Bobby Jindal over having Louisiana taxpayers to pay for his out of state travel for his presidential campaign. Much of the expense is for Louisiana State Police protection.
Here’s the letter Dardenne sent Jindal that was attached to a press release:
Dear Governor Jindal,
Louisiana taxpayers should not pay for any part of the costs of your travel while you campaign for president. That includes the cost of your protective services detail provided by Louisiana State Police. In March, LSP officials told a legislative committee that protective services for your out-of-state trips cost the Louisiana taxpayers well over $2,200,000 in the 2014-2015 fiscal year up until the end of March. Despite repeated requests, my office has not been able to obtain any updated numbers from LSP on those costs since March. The legislature saw fit to require reimbursement of these expenses by amendment to HB1, but you line item vetoed this language.
One of your competitors, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, started off his campaign by making sure the costs of his protective services detail while campaigning for President were reimbursed to the state by way of his 527 political organization, Our American Revival. Since you’ve officially entered the presidential race, your out-of-state travel has become even more frequent. Already this year, you’ve been out-of-state 75 days. In 2014, it was reported that you spent 165 days, or 45% of the year, out-of-state.
I call upon you to follow Governor Walker’s lead and use your campaign funds to pay for this protective service expense and to reimburse Louisiana taxpayers for the hundreds of thousands of dollars your campaign for president is costing our state. I respectfully request that you reimburse the amount spent by LSP since the beginning of this calendar year and that your campaign or your Super PAC assume all future costs incurred by state police for your campaign appearances out of state.
Since, pursuant to the Louisiana Constitution, I am “acting governor” when you are out of state I am entitled by law to collect a $57.96 per day salary supplement for each day you are out of state. I have not requested and will not request or accept such compensation.
The fiscal mess we’re in requires solid solutions. We need conservative, structural budget reforms. It should start with us, as elected leaders in Louisiana. You can help by taking this important and responsible step.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne
Dardenne is taking a cheap shot at Jindal. We assign Louisiana State Police protection to Governor Jindal because it’s not unheard of for Louisiana politicians to be assassinated. Dardenne is playing politics with the safety of Governor Jindal, who is entitled to LSP protection until January 1, 2016.
Having said that I agree with Dardenne that Jindal should pay back the state out of his campaign funds for any out of state expenses incurred while he is running for president. But the Jindal campaign shouldn’t cut that check to the state right away.
They should wait until the Jay Dardenne for Governor campaign cuts their own check to the state to reimburse for the production and airing of any tourism ads that either star or are narrated by Lt. Governor Dardenne and air in this state. These tourism radio and TV ads are little more than state-funded campaign ads for Dardenne.
Even better, these ads are not even supposed to be airing in Louisiana according to the company that is selling advertising on Louisiana Travel.com and Louisiana’s tourism guide. But Tuesday afternoon, I heard a Louisiana Travel.com radio ad, narrated by Jay Dardenne, driving in Baton Rouge on WRNO 99.5 FM.
After all the solutions to Louisiana’s fiscal mess should start with her elected leaders. Right, Lieutenant Governor Dardenne?