Don’t look now, but another candidate with legal issues hanging over his head is about to join the crowded 2016 field. Rick Perry became the first candidate with an indictment to officially kick off his campaign last week, and now Bobby Jindal, who is expected to announce his candidacy on June 24th, could be indicted for misuse of public funds.
Many liberal pundits have called Bobby Jindal “stupid” among other pejoratives, but let’s not confuse his series of political mistakes and inability to govern with the stupidity of the people who voted for him twice.
However, faced with horrific poll numbers, Bobby has made a series of political blunders, the most recent of which could have him looking at anywhere from a thousand dollar fine to two years in prison if convicted.
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.” (Source)
Just a few years ago, Bobby Jindal could have gotten away with this. Running a campaign that promised reform, the young rising star of Louisiana politics easily swept the field of 11 opponents with 53 percent of the vote and avoided the runoff election that many Louisiana contests are settled in. With this win, Bobby Jindal became the first non-white governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction and suddenly, the GOP had a potential VP candidate on their hands. The future was looking bright for Bobby, the son of Indian immigrants and proof to Republican talking points that here in America, anyone can succeed and integrate, and that the GOP was inclusive after all.
For a short period of time, Louisiana’s citizens believed that they finally had a governor who would fix the state and bring about much-needed reform. However, as time went by, it became more and more obvious that being governor was little more than another title to pad his resume which is impressive to look at, but an utter failure when selected to fill a position of any kind. Elected as a political moderate, Jindal took a hard right after his “stupid party” sermon in 2013. Defying members of his own legislature, he issued an executive order supporting discrimination against the LGBT community and has also embraced the militant right-wing Christian homeschooling movement (which the Duggars are a part of) as his ticket to the Republican nomination.
It’s not just Democrats and left-leaning independents who are sick of Bobby Jindal; even many Republicans who voted for him in both gubernatorial elections have begun to turn on him. Just head over to his Facebook page and take a look for yourself if you don’t believe me.
The anger and frustration directed at Bobby Jindal isn’t confined solely to voters – Republican lawmakers are also fed up with his no-tax pledge to Grover Norquist, who has been referred to as the real governor of Louisiana. Louisiana has a serious budget gap that has to be closed, and Jindal’s complete deference to Norquist is angering people across the state.
Eleven legislators are seeking answers about Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s “no tax” pledge directly from the man who issued it — Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform in Washington D.C.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, and 10 other Louisiana House members sent Norquist a letter (PDF) Sunday night, asking Norquist to rethink his approach to Louisiana’s budget and the “no tax” pledge.
Lawmakers are struggling with Norquist’s restrictions as they enter the final four days of 2015 budget negotiations. They have to send the spending plan to Jindal’s desk by Thursday evening.
The governor has threatened to veto any budget plan or tax bills that don’t meet Norquist’s “no tax” requirements. Currently, the governor is pushing the Legislature to adopt a controversial higher education tax credit — commonly called SAVE — that Jindal says will make the budget comply with Norquist’s wishes. (Source)
Chances are that Jindal will get off with little more than a slap on the wrist and he’ll spend his time wandering through Iowa and New Hampshire desperately looking for poll numbers instead of behind bars. However, as he heads into his last few months in office, the amount of ill will he’s accumulated within his own party could translate to a political backlash and create an incentive for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell or East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore to indict Bobby Jindal for misuse of public funds. The fact that Louisiana’s Secretary of State formally requested them to look into this alleged violation shows that it is being taken seriously, and indicting an already extremely unpopular governor would almost certainly earn everyone involved political brownie points.
Just an indictment alone would also serve as a warning to future candidates who see the governor’s mansion as nothing more than a stepping stone to higher office and who would abandon the responsibilities of that office as blatantly as Bobby Jindal has. It’s a long shot, but if there’s ever been a lawmaker in Louisiana’s recent history that both parties would love to make an example of, it’s Bobby Jindal.
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