Gov. Bobby Jindal continued to use his governor’s campaign account to pay a large chunk of the cost of political consultants and trips around the country.
Jindal reported spending $1.47 million during 2014, a year in which many have mentioned him as a potential presidential candidate.
The governor’s campaign account still contains $604,400 going into the final year of his second term.
Jindal’s campaign finance report was filed late Wednesday, right before the midnight deadline for the annual filings. The 208-page document is mostly page after page of expenditures.
OnMessage, a political strategy firm based in Alexandria, Virginia, received about $570,000 — more than a third of the money Jindal spent during the year. Jindal’s longtime political aide and one-time chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, is a partner in the firm. The firm receives a $30,000 monthly retainer as well as spending on polling, research, media, Internet expenses, digital advertising and travel expenses.
“It covers my time as I advise the Governor’s Office, cabinet secretaries on policy, legislative strategy, communications and budget issues,” Teepell said Thursday. He said he does regular conference calls and meetings.
He said the polling done involves issues — “getting a sense of the environment and helping to inform.”
The Bautsch Group, of Baton Rouge, was paid $11,000 a month for fundraising consulting work — a total of $132,000 for the year. The company is owned by Jindal’s longtime fundraiser Alexandra Bautsch Grunewald.
Jindal reported raising $20,000 in contributions for his governor’s account in 2014.
Littered throughout the report were expenditures for airline tickets and hotel stays from the East to the West Coast as Jindal traveled to a variety of political events.
An occasional contribution to a cause or event crops up such as two $5,000 donations to the South Carolina Republican Party. South Carolina is a state of an early presidential primary. There also was a $1,500 “event expense” to The Family Leader in Iowa, a state that conducts the first presidential caucus of the election season. Jindal traveled to participate in presidential summits sponsored by the group.
State campaign funds cannot be used in federal elections.
“There is no federal election and those events were to support Republican candidates and argue for Republican conservative ideas,” Teepell said.
Jindal has not yet said if he’ll be a presidential candidate. He’s said he would announce his intentions during the first half of the year.
Jindal also made a $5,000 contribution to the Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation.
The governor also paid expenses related to attending Washington, D.C., Mardi Gras activities last year from the campaign account.