Governor Jindal, his wife Supriya and press secretary Kyle Plotkin have denied any wrongdoing and have repudiated any charges as partisan.
Here are two commentaries by Louisiana newspapers who are recommending how this situation should be managed:
At the least, Gov. Jindal should return campaign contributions from anyone or any group that also contributed to the foundation. Better yet, the foundation should also return contributions from mutual donors.
And the connections are more concrete than that. The governor appears on the charity’s website, his fundraiser is the charity’s treasurer and the state employee who serves as Supriya Jindal’s aide oversees the charity’s books.
Whether Marathon Oil, Dow Chemical, AT&T or Northrup Grumman received political support from Jindal in exchange for their donations to his wife’s charity is beside the point. The appearance is unseemly.
The solution is simple. A governor who focused on ethics reform as a candidate should lead the way in dispelling even the appearance of impropriety from his administration.
His wife should be able to raise sufficient money from donors who have nothing to gain from the governor.
Another option would be for the first lady to work for the charity but rename it to remove the tie to the governor.
Companies with business before the governor should not be courted for donations by politicians or their wives. Even if nothing illegal or unethical takes place, the mere appearance is troubling.