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Bobby Jindal, Frequent Flyer

Louisiana's governor spent nearly half of 2014 out of his beleaguered state, on campaign trips

Our frequently-flying governor is off to the Holy Land this fall:

Gov. Bobby Jindal will join the Family Research Council on a trip to Israel this fall.

According to the FRC’s event itinerary, Jindal and guests will arrive in Tel Aviv on Oct. 28. The tour will include sightseeing at the Sea of Galilee and Mount Carmel before heading to Jerusalem and then the Dead Sea. The group will return to the U.S. on Nov. 6.

The website promoting the venture promises potential attendees the opportunity for meetings with “top national conservative and Israeli political, defense and religious leaders,” “outstanding four and five star accommodations,” and entry to St. Peter’s fish lunch by the Sea of Galilee. The FRC trip will cost attendees about $5,000 per person, depending on their departure location.

Because you really want those outstanding four and five star accommodations when you go walk in the steps of Jesus.

Yesterday’s Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Gov. Jindal spent half of 2014 outside the state, but only one trip was on state business. The rest have been political, clearly related to burnishing his national profile as a GOP presidential candidate. Excerpt:

Louisiana taxpayers have spent $314,144 on Jindal’s out-of-state travels, mostly because the Louisiana State Police must provide security for the governor, according to a review of various campaign finance reports, State Police expense reports, news reports and federal records.

As far as can be discerned with the records available, Jindal pays his own expenses and that of his staff out of his gubernatorial campaign war chest and funds made available by his political action committees.

For the most part, Jindal travels on private planes, often owned by wealthy business supporters: the Chouest family, of Bayou Lafourche; the Davisons, of Ruston; and the Zuschlags, of Lafayette, the records show. He pays for the travel.

Jindal would not agree to an interview, but he released a statement late Friday. “There are more invites than we can accept, but over the past year, I’ve been invited to multiple places to speak about winning the war of ideas and fighting the failed policies and over-regulation of the Obama Administration. I’ve also been proud to travel to support conservative candidates in elections across the country,” he said.

Jindal would not agree to an interview. Of course not. He doesn’t talk to the state and local media. If he did, they would ask him questions like, “How do you justify running all over the country and the world serving yourself when the state you were elected to govern is going to hell in a budgetary handbasket, in large part because of your budgeting gimmicks?”


For years, the governor, with the approval of the Legislature, has been able to balance state government’s spending on services by using “one-time” money from sources not likely to produce revenues in the future, meaning officials have to find money the next year to pay for the ongoing operating expenses. The situation was exacerbated by the collapse of oil prices, which had helped shore up the revenues when prices were high.

Worried talk around the State Capitol is that services will have to be cut up to 15 percent and that state support for higher education and health care for one-fourth of the population will have to be slashed by hundreds of millions of dollars. All sorts of plans are being floated.

Jindal will present his budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1 on Friday.

Get this gem hidden at the end of the story:

State Rep. Joel Robideaux, an accountant by trade and head of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee that has jurisdiction over taxes, credits and exemptions, is one of the key figures involved in balancing the books for the state. He hasn’t seen the governor personally since the last legislative session ended in June 2014.

Unbelievable. You know, some people outside of Louisiana smirk and say that we’re getting what we voted for, but that really isn’t true. Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace explains why Jindal came into office with everybody here expecting that he would be a breath of fresh air.  She explains that he was a young hotshot with brains and an incredible resume. He could have worked anywhere in the world, but he chose to come back to Louisiana, he told people, because he wanted to make this a better place for his children to live. People bought it, because he seemed so sincere, and because nobody would have faulted him for leaving Louisiana, like so many other talented people do.

Whether he was being sincere then and got corrupted by his own ambition (which is what I think), or whether he was being cynical from the get-go, the fact is that the governor has left many Louisianians feeling very bitter. The goal all along for the governor seems to have been not what is best for Louisiana and its people, but what is best for Jindal 2016 campaign.