Calls for Gov. Jindal to honor his transparency pledge reach fever pitch

May 11, 2009

As Gov. Bobby Jindal continues his all-out efforts to shield his records from the public, Louisiana media are pointing out Jindal’s hypocrisy. In news stories and editorials from across the state, the calls for Jindal to honor his campaign promise of transparency are reaching fever pitch.

“It’s time for Gov. Jindal to stop stonewalling the public,” says Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Chris Whittington. “Government transparency is not a partisan issue, and Louisiana citizens deserve to know how their governor is conducting the state’s business.”

Highlights from recent coverage of Jindal’s lack of transparency:

The Times-Picayune – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal should back transparency for all – including himself

In opposing reform, Gov. Jindal is going against his campaign promise to “upgrade Louisiana’s sunshine laws to improve access to public records and meetings.” … If Gov. Jindal truly wants transparency and accountability for all government officials, including his own office, then he should support the proposals by Rep. Waddell and Sen. Adley — and so should lawmakers.”

Shreveport Times: Governor’s office needs more sunshine

A PAR survey of states found only four governors with considerable discretion in determining what records are open to the public. However, none statutorily grants a public records exception as broad as the one for Louisiana’s governor. …

But what’s up with exempting the governor’s schedule, as SB 278 would? Particularly for a governor who travels so much, both to advance the state and his own political future. Knowing who the governor is meeting with, who is trying to influence him, goes to the heart of government transparency, said one media advocate.

…But it’s hard to hold government accountable when we can’t see what government is doing.”

WWL-TV: Lawmakers pushing to free up governor’s records

Critics like Eyewitness News political analyst Clancy DuBos believe it could actually create new loopholes that would decrease public access. “Well this is a continuation of what Bobby Jindal did a year ago,” DuBos said. “Ethics are for everybody else. For the governor, for himself, he wants exceptions. He wants nobody to know, no exposure, no transparency, no openness. That’s all for the legislature and everybody else.”

The Daily Advertiser: State GOP Chair playing politics

It matters because [Louisiana GOP chairman] Villere has made a mockery of the public records laws – the very foundation of our democracy. Without them, other statutes are meaningless. Even criminal statutes carry little weight if the ultimate check and balance of public oversight of our government, courts and law enforcement entities does not exist.

These laws aren’t partisan.

They never have been. They never should be. As the presumptive leader of state Republicans and a rising star in his party nationally, Jindal should publicly show that he does not condone Villere’s behavior.

The Times-Picayune’s James Gill: For lawmakers, a question of trust in Jindal

[Jindal’s] hypocrisy over “transparency” is merely the tip of the iceberg. He is going around the country raising campaign money as the man who reduced the tax burden in Louisiana while imposing a “gold standard” of ethics on government officials. Legislators know this is pure flim flam.

The Advocate: Open should mean open

Overshadowing much of the debate during the first two weeks of the Louisiana Legislature’s regular session is the question of whether the governor’s office should have to follow the same rules as other elected officials and publicly disclose its records.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who campaigned on transparency, says no. …

Jindal is invoking, through Faircloth, a deliberative process executive privilege first articulated by former Vice President Dick Cheney. … Cheney’s stance, now Jindal’s stance, suggests an executive who, for whatever reason, has staked a position that cripples the ability of the other branches to check and balance his power.

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