"Gov. Jindal's donors aren't the first to use a family charitable foundation as a path to influencing a politician. But just because it represents business as usual doesn't mean it's acceptable."
Citizens for Reform & Ethics in Washington is accusing Gov. Bobby Jindal, mainly through innuendo, of favoring large corporations that have made substantial contributions to First Lady Supriya Jindal's educational charity.
In an investigation published March 2, CREW says its researchers uncovered nine companies that contributed to Jindal's campaigns have also pledged nearly $800,000 to the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana's Children, which donates white board technology to classrooms in impoverished schools.
Louisiana campaign finance laws set $5,000 as the limit for campaign contributions, but contributions to charities can be much larger. CREW found that some of the contributions to the Jindal Foundation by the nine targeted companies were as high as $250,000. The implication, CREW suggests, is that the companies use donations to the foundation as a means of currying favorable policy from the Jindal administration. The corporations include AT&T, Northrop Grumman and Marathon Oil. The CREW investigation also reveals that Gov. Jindal's chief fundraiser also serves as treasurer of the Jindal Foundation.
"Gov. Jindal's donors aren't the first to use a family charitable foundation as a path to influencing a politician," CREW writes in an introduction to the report. "But just because it represents business as usual doesn't mean it's acceptable."
Jindal's press secretary, Kyle Plotkin, dismisses the report, telling political columnist John Maginnis that CREW's tacit conclusion "has plainly been dreamed up by partisan hacks living in fantasy land."
The link between charitable donations to the Jindal Foundation and Jindal administration policy was also probed by The New York Times in an article published Wednesday.
Read the CREW report here.