Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a Republican running for governor, is calling on Gov. Bobby Jindal to reimburse the state for expenses tied to Jindal’s run for president.
In a letter sent to Jindal and distributed to media, Dardenne says Jindal should pay back the state for the cost of the protective detail provided by Louisiana State Police when he travels to campaign in other states.
“Louisiana taxpayers should not pay for any part of the costs of your travel while you campaign for president,” Dardenne writes.
Dardenne’s gubernatorial campaign has created a “petition” on its website for people to sign if they agree Jindal should be responsible for covering the costs. (Such petitions are frequently used as ways to collect information on potential voters. Jindal, himself, often uses the tactic to build his contact lists.)
Jindal spokesman Mike Reed struck back at Dardenne, saying that security decisions should be left to the State Police.
“Candidates for governor should not make the safety of the governor and his family a political issue,” Reed said by email. ” We appreciate the work that State Police does for the Governor and his family every day and we’re grateful for their service. We leave all security determinations up to the State Police and we trust them to do their job.”
He faces Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards and Republicans U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle in the Oct. 24 gubernatorial election. A runoff will be held Nov. 21 if no candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote.
Jindal’s run for president and his frequent travels have been criticized repeatedly by all of the gubernatorial candidates.
The Louisiana Legislature had amended this year’s state budget to bar LSP from covering the security detail costs when Jindal’s campaigning, but Jindal stripped that language from the final version of the state budget. The State Police had estimated that Jindal’s out-of-state security detail cost taxpayers $2.2 million from July 2014 through March.
In his letter to Jindal, Dardenne cites Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is also seeking the GOP nomination for president, as an example. Walker’s security costs are being covered by one of his political organizations.
“I respectfully request that you reimburse the amount spent by LSP since the beginning of this calendar year and that your campaign or your Super PAC assume all future costs incurred by state police for your campaign appearances out of state,” Dardenne writes.