Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is under attack–from his own Republican Lieutenant Governor, Jay Dardenne.
Dardenne, who is running for Governor to replace Jindal in 2016, has issued a letter calling on Jindal to pay back the state for state police travel expenses, claiming that these expenses were for the benefit of Jindal’s presidential campaign, not the state of Louisiana.
$2.2 million has been spent in the last twelve months on out-of-state police travel expenses. Dardenne has attempted to figure out how much of that has been accrued since Jindal declared his candidacy.
“Despite repeated requests, my office has not been able to obtain any updated numbers from [Louisiana State Police] on those costs since March,” Dardenne wrote in a letter to his boss.
Regardless, Dardenne alleges that Jindal has used those expenses predominantly for his campaign–and tells him that to pay up.
“Louisiana taxpayers should not pay any part of the costs of your travel while you campaign for President,” Dardenne scolded. Including “the cost of your protective services detail provided by Louisiana State Police.”
Jindal, once touted as an up-and-coming Republican Governor with national ambitions–even giving the party’s official 2009 State of the Union Rebuttal–has seen his star fall in recent years.
Deeply unpopular in his home state of Louisiana–where he’s lost the support not just of Democrats, but Republicans and friendly media outlets that previously endorsed him for Governor.
But Jindal’s spokesman, Mike Reed, swatted away the criticism, claiming that Dardenne is just playing politics–trying to curry favor with an electorate that has soured on the incumbent Republican Governor.
“Candidates for governor should not make the safety of the governor and his family a political issue,” Reed said. “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.”