WAFB Viewpoint: January 30, 2008

It must be embarrassing, to say the least, for Governor Bobby Jindal. With his first major act as governor being a special session for ethics reform, the governor finds himself charged by the state ethics board with a possible campaign violation. The ethics board, at its January 10th meeting, by a majority vote of its membership, ordered that a public hearing be conducted for the purpose of exploring a complaint filed by an undisclosed person known only as a Democrat. The complaint was that Jindal and his campaign committee failed to accurately disclose in-kind campaign contributions from the Republican Party of Louisiana.

The governor's campaign committee should have reported mailings paid for by the Republican Party on a July 23rd report. It wasn't done until September 7th. A public hearing has been set by the state ethics board for July 10th to determine if campaign finance law was violated.

Of course this was an error, a mistake, for which Governor Jindal's office immediately accepted responsibility. But somebody dropped the ball, and it bounced right into the governor's lap. It may be there for awhile. The ethics board has a lengthy process which could be dragged out through July. And it only makes it worse to somehow try and blame the Democrats for blowing the whistle, as Jindal's press secretary may have done by referring to the complaint as a partisan political stunt.

Politics may have been at play here, but the law is the law and whoever brought it to light did the right thing. We would hope that the governor and his administration would agree with that considering the strong stand he has taken on ethics in government. We also hope that the governor puts in place measures to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen in his administration in the future. He has promised transparency, high ethical standards and accountability for himself and his administration. Now is the time that he fulfills that promise with strong actions.