Elliott Stonecipher is a Shreveport demographer and political analyst who has written extensively on Louisiana's changing political and demographic landscape. A frequent (and on-target) critic of Gov. Bobby Jindal, Stonecipher recently sent an email to friends and colleagues offering his views on Jindal's budding Foundation-gate Scandal, which the New York Times broke on its front page on March 2. Stonecipher gave Gambit exclusive permission to share his thoughts with our readers by posting it on our news blog. Here is his email:
Leave it to James Gill to clearly explain what is. Here is his column about Governor Jindal's latest demonstration of zero tolerance for anything remotely resembling governmental / political ethics ... by any standard. The original front-page New York Times story from last week is here, and it spread the news around the world about how aggressively Jindal practices the precise opposite of what he preaches.
In case a reader has no reason to understand such things, there is a dead giveaway in the article that the subject "foundation" - code for yet another kind of political money pot - is inextricably tied to the governor's fund-raising mania and his relatedly blind political ambition:
"Alexandra Bautsch, the governor’s top political fund-raiser, is listed as the charity’s treasurer. Ms. Bautsch has continued to be paid by Mr. Jindal’s campaign — $112,500 last year."
In the world of election campaign fundraising, no one - not even Ms. Bautsch - finds the detailed near-million bucks laying around after she has just raised another ten million dollars or so in old fashioned campaign fund-raising. When we add the fact that Ms. Bautsch is also at the money-handling helm of the third fund-raising vehicle in support of Jindal's supposed future as an American political leader - his 527 group, "Believe in Louisiana" - the reality of how this works is clear: the fund-raising team gets the maximum allowable, and then some, from every available pocket. In the case of these three Jindal money pots, Ms. Bautsch is the funnel into which huge amounts of money flow, and she picks the pot(s). As for any related rules, where these "foundations" are concerned, there are none. While campaign finance law says donations to candidates for governor are limited to $5,000 per campaign, per entity, and $10,000 to certain related PACs, Dow Chemical, as an example, signed-up for a $100,000 "expression of support" to the foundation.
Now, here's the real point: Dow Chemical's six-figure "expression" was made while under investigation for a chemical spill. That's how anyone who still buys the Jindal "gold standard of ethics" whopper knows they were shaken down. If Jindal and his team cared in the least about ethics, they would never accept money of any kind, under any circumstances, from people or companies with even a chance of a need for Jindal favors ... never ... ever.
Instead, what Jindal does is gut ethics enforcement in Louisiana ... just in case some accident happened and he was finally held accountable for this awful mess. Of course, Louisianans needn't act surprised; it isn't like Jindal hasn't been doing this stuff from the jump.