Saturday, 11 April 2015 18:49

Jindal’s refusal to release email simply does matter

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jindal-wife 6More do as I say, not,  do as I do.

The Advocate and AP have reported that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the so-called gold-standard paragon of government transparency, has refused to allow the public to see his emails.


After the Hillary Clinton email controversy broke, the presidential hopeful, was quick to give his views on the controversy.  However, when he is now on the hot seat, he is slow to allow any glow of light to see his own trails of activities and correspondences.

According to the Advocate, which obviously saw inconsistencies between his actions as a Clinton critic and his practice as governor as they: 

requested copies of his emails last month, ascontroversy swirledover former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for work. Jindal has been flirting with a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the coming days.

Thomas Enright, Jindal’s chief lawyer, wrote in response to The Advocate’s request that no records exist outside of exemptions outlined in the state public records law.

“Aside from the obvious reason for excluding security information, these content-based exemptions support the environment of open discussion and full analysis necessary for staff to make recommendations to assist the governor in the usual course of the duties and business of his office,” Enright wrote in the denial, noting that Jindal only officially emails with internal staff.

Jindal’s office did not respond to a request for further comment from the governor.”

Yet, when on the campaign trail, when he was not even being asked, Jindal once again entered discussion so he could get his opinion out for open discussion related to the controversy of the moment:

According to Buzzfeed

Immediately following a press conference Tuesday where reporters grilled Hillary Clinton on her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state, likely Republican presidential contender Bobby Jindal offered an unsolicited tip to Democrats.

“Not that the Democratic Party wants my advice, but I think it’s a mistake to automatically assume she’s going to be their nominee,” Jindal told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview from Iowa. “She’s going to have a lot to answer for.”

He added, “I think American voters want someone who’s going to earn the job… she doesn’t seem to be doing that.”

Jindal criticized Clinton’s defense during the press conference, during which she said her email practices were simply a matter of “convenience.”

“I was almost waiting for her to say, ‘What difference does it make?’ I was actually waiting for her to say those words,” Jindal said, referring to a remark Clinton made during a Congressional hearing focused on the 2012 murders of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi.

“I think there’s a bigger issue here,” Jindal continued. “From Benghazi, to this, to the Russia reset, there seems to be a lack of accountability…. There’s just a pattern here where bad things happen on her watch and she doesn’t take responsibility for it.”

Then again, Jindal has used a law--he pushed--to insulate himself from public exposure, shielding himself from examination.

Interestingly, The Huffington Post, in an article, looked at the various positions of the republican candidates after Jeb Bush released thousands of pages of email and after the Clinton matter arose and wrote this about Jindal:

The Republican governor, who campaigned on a platform of providing more transparency in government, uses a private email account to communicate with immediate staff. Those conversations are exempt from public disclosure under a sweeping public records exemption granted to the governor's office under state law.

In 2012, top Jindal aides and some cabinet agency officials used private emails to craft a public relations strategy for imposing $523 million in Medicaid cuts, but the communications did not turn up in an Associated Press records request. Instead, an administration official revealed them anonymously.

It's not clear whether the documents would have been public, anyway. The Jindal administration has often interpreted the governor's "deliberative process" exception to extend beyond his inner circle to all documents generated by any agency for Jindal's office.

Louisiana also has no archiving requirement at all for the governor, making it an outlier nationally. That means records now sealed under that executive privilege may never become public, even after Jindal leaves office.

While Jindal might get a short-term win from his reticence, long-term, the Clinton email issue hurts him as he continues his selfish and bizarre presidential quest.

Jeb Bush released his emails.  Clinton is releasing the state department emails (although there is, and there will likely be legitimate questions from the media and others as she hits the campaign trail).

Jindal, now, cannot be one of those candidates asking those questions or commenting upon Hillary.

After all, he could indeed open himself for the nation to view to see if they like what he is selling and not just what he is saying.

He could make available for public viewing--as he seems to be asking Clinton to do. He has been and is still interpreting the Louisiana law expansively for his own personal and political benefit. 

Nobody is holding a gun to his head telling him not to turn on the light for the world to view.

Like Clinton, nor does he seem to be willing to disclose the emails to a “trusted third-party” to see what is personal versus governmental, in nature. 

Nor is he seemingly willing to allow inspection of those documents and emails from his personal email account that might be governmental.  

Nor is the public being allowed to read any of the political emails that were written on public time yet refer to his activities on the campaign trails or which even might relate to contributions to his political not-for-profit who arguably could be getting public contracts.

One might ask, what does it matter?

A lot, especially, if you clamored for governmental transparency yet have done all you could do to make your own records not publicly available.  A lot, especially if you are claiming others are hiding their past, yet, you are unwilling to disclose any of your own.

A lot, especially when there is a bigger issue here. 

From  the Bruce Greenstein scandal, to this, to the state services crumbling, there seems to be a lack of accountability.   There’s just a pattern here where bad things happen during his watch and he doesn’t take responsibility for it.

It also obviously matters to others who believed him when he preached on the campaign trail, “it’s not who you know, it’s what you know” in referring to former governors’ contributors getting government benefits and contracts, yet, once getting into the state mansion, continued the process to perfection. 

It matters to many.  And, you know--it must matter to him, Otherwise, he would not have pushed a law that has provided so little transparency for him, his staff and for those under his shadow. 

It matters, more than ever.

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Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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