If Gov. Bobby Jindal thought the flap over the payment of his campaign finance violation was put to rest during last month’s special session on ethics reform, he’s sadly mistaken. Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard, an independent from Thibodaux, will be pushing legislation during the regular session that convenes today that would prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay fines, fees or penalties assessed in relation to a campaign finance or lobbying violation. While not directly aimed at the GOP governor, Richard’s House Bill 277 could certainly dredge up a few comparisons or anecdotal references.
Jindal’s campaign failed to timely report an $118,000 donation from the Louisiana Republican Party last year and Rolfe McCollister Jr., a Baton Rouge publisher and Jindal’s campaign treasurer, initially vowed to personally pay the pending fine, which could reach as high as $2,500. Such third-party payments were a focus of the special session, with many lawmakers, including Richard and others from New Orleans and elsewhere, successfully passing legislation to ban the practice. The use of campaign money to pay for fines, though, escaped the scrutiny of lawmakers earlier this year.