Thanks to fine reporting by The Associated Press, we learned this week that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s staff has been using private email addresses in a deliberate and concerted effort to hide their work from the public.

These are public employees, paid by the taxpayers and responsible for spending taxpayer money. They must be accountable to all taxpayers.

The AP investigation found the governor’s top aides using private emails to concoct a public relations offensive around the $523 million in cuts they brought down on Louisiana’s health care system.

This tactic of the governor’s highest aides using private email accounts rather than public accounts has only one purpose: to hide the public’s business from public’s view. These private emails were not disclosed even after a public records request to the Department of Health and Hospitals despite the administration’s claims that electronic communications about the public’s business should are public records no matter what type of email account is used.

As one expert told the AP: “Absolutely people use private accounts to hide things.”

All this secrecy comes from a governor who ran in 2007 on a platform of transparency, open government and ethics reform.

From the first day of his administration, this governor has done everything in his power to hide his records from the public view. He’s passed laws limiting scrutiny and killed bills that would have provided more transparency all while twisting existing rules to keep the public in the dark.

The taxpayers of Louisiana deserve better.

Rep. John Bel Edwards

District 72