Jeremy Alford

Bobby's raising money where?

by Jeremy Alford

Up is down and cold is hot, and Gov. Bobby Jindal is raising money in Louisiana. That’s fair to say about a politician who traveled outside the state more than 40 times this year to collect dough for his seemingly unstoppable re-election campaign. The location, however, isn’t the only surprise to come from Jindal’s upcoming grip-greet-and-grab.

It’s being billed as the “1st Annual Jindal Fun Hunt,” an overnight fundraiser that kicks off with dinner on the evening of Jan. 3 and a hunt the following morning. It’s being held at the posh Grosse Savanne Lodge in Cameron Parish, where a one-night corporate package for up to 18 guests costs $9,000. Jindal is charging $5,000 a head for his shindig.

Any further detail-specific info will have to wait a while. Team Jindal is famously tight-lipped on fundraising, and the hunt will take place in 2010, meaning the names of those who ponied up cash won’t be made public until early 2011 (the state has annual reporting rules).

Also of note is the fundraiser’s host: Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle. The former St. Martin Parish president also serves as Jindal’s legislative liaison. Angelle has expressed interest in making a bid for the 3rd Congressional District, which is an open seat due to the senatorial aspirations of Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville.

Angelle says he’s considering switching parties from Democrat to Republican for the congressional race. Raising money for the state’s top GOP official may be a sign that the fix is already in – at least when it comes to party affiliation.

The event was set up by “Friends of Bobby Jindal,” the governor’s campaign finance arm. The operation, just like the administration, appears to be extremely careful. On the bottom of the invite, it cautions that “persons involved in the gaming industry are prohibited from making contributions, as are foreign nationals.”

The invite also informs that “all contributions are publicly disclosed,” but it doesn’t tell participants that they have some breathing room in the form of a year’s time before that happens. Until then, the governor can continue to enjoy fundraising in relative secrecy.