The Louisiana Senate passed a bill Monday that would restrict who can pay for the security detail sent to protect Gov. Bobby Jindal as he travels outside of Louisiana on a likely 2016 bid for president. The law would prohibit the Louisiana State Police from paying for the hotels, travel and salaries necessary to keep the governor safe if the event is a campaign stop outside of Louisiana.
The vote gained bipartisan support and followed a recent state House measure that similarly sought to restrict Jindal's expenses. The bill, which the governor’s office called partisan and “shocking,” gained a 29-5 vote in favor. It’s not the first time state lawmakers have stepped on Jindal’s presidential-aspiring toes. In May, after he said that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was unfit for the presidency, Democrats in Louisiana called for an investigation into him using the governor’s platform for politics.
Jindal has been traveling more and more in recent months as he considers a long-shot run for the Republican presidential nomination. Since Jindal took his governor’s seat in 2008, the expenses related to his out-of-state travel have noticeably increased. In 2008, expenses for his out-of-state travel totaled $1.8 million. Jindal has already spent $2.2 million on travel expenses for the current fiscal year, which concludes at the end of the month. In January, Jindal went on a 10-day trade trip to Europe that cost $73,000, all paid for out of the Louisiana State Police budget.
The bill passed by the Senate probably wouldn’t do much more than send a message. It doesn’t go so far as to say other state agencies can’t pick up where the police leave off, so theoretically another office could just fill the void. Plus, a little bit of finesse can dance around the campaign fault line.
"You can't enforce this law if someone wants to circumvent it," said state Sen. Danny Martiny, a Republican. "It's a great idea on paper." Martiny voted against the bill.
In any case, Jindal leaves office at the end of this year, and will not be governor during the 2016 primaries.
Jindal is expected on June 24 to jump into an already crowded field of Republican presidential contenders. He would have a tough road ahead to get to the White House, should he decide to run. In a poll late last month, Jindal came in last among 14 declared or likely candidates in the Republican field.