Mr. Transparency, Bobby Jindal, has really worked himself into a corner. Jindal set a red line over transparency in 2007, and he’s spent the last 6 years playing hopscotch over that line.
Take for example his hand-picked LSU board. This year has been a banner year for their secret machinations. But they’ve yet to waver from the Jindal line, no matter how ugly and dangerous their brinkmanship with the truth has become.
The most devastating example of their conformity and secrecy is their approval of the privatization of the entire Charity Hospital system without nary a thought of the fact that the contracts themselves contained tens of blank pages and lacked even basic details or protections for the people of Louisiana.
A total betrayal to Louisianians.
But that wasn’t the only time the Board took its own liberties with the law and the truth.
During a secretive search for the next puppet to run LSU, the board seems to have been hewing a little too closely to the Jindal script. At least according to that little thing called the law. From the Louisiana Voice at the time of the selection:
One thing is for certain: Jindal, for whatever reason, desperately does not want the public—voters, students, LSU alumni or legislators—to know. And don’t think for a nano-second that the decision to resist releasing the names was that of the board. That’s laughable.
And stacking the board with supporters who contributed more than $175,000 to his various political campaigns can ensure the cooperation of board members long on loyalty but extremely short on honor, openness, transparency and accountability—the very selling points of one Bobby Jindal, who long ago eclipsed the late Dudley LeBlanc of patent medicine Hadacol fame as the foremost practitioner in Louisiana’s grand history of snake oil salesmen.
As I discussed in a recent column in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the so-called leaders on the LSU board are slavishly loyal to Gov. Bobby Jindal. It’s his interests and his wishes that clearly remain paramount in their thoughts as they govern (misrule) this institution.
So, King Alexander will only defy his board or Jindal if he finds our climate too hot or our food too spicy. If he wants to keep his job, he will be a dutiful yes man.
And he must know that. He reads the papers like we do. He knows well the price of dissent in Jindal’s Louisiana.
But more important than his character or courage is the rotten, illegal process that produced his hiring.
It was all accomplished in secret, in clear violation of the state’s Open Records Law. Students and faculty only met Alexander after the decision to hire him had been made. Alexander himself said he wouldn’t have sought the job in an open search, which is revealing. Don’t expect him to champion the public’s right to know.
Here’s the thing about a rotten, illegal process: it usually produces rotten results.
More recently, the Board’s fealty to Jindal may have landed it in even hotter water. “Judge: LSU board could face jail if search records not released“:
Saying daily $500 fines have not grabbed its attention, an unyielding state judge warned the LSU Board of Supervisors on Monday that it now faces additional sanctions, including possible jail time, if it does not immediately comply with her more than four-month-old order to make public the records of its secret presidential search.
Following a tense open court hearing and private conference, District Judge Janice Clark ordered the board’s attorney, Jimmy Faircloth, and lawyers for The Advocate and The Times-Picayune newspapers to return to her 19th Judicial District courtroom Tuesday morning so she can determine whether the board intends to finally comply with her April 30 order.
Could this whole thing have anything to do with this?
Could the secrecy around the selection of King possibly have anything to do with the fact that a close relative of U.S. Sen. David Vitter had expressed an interest in the position—and possibly submitted an application? It’s well-established that there is no love lost between Jindal and the state’s junior senator, particularly from Jindal’s end of the relationship. (Remember how Jindal threw money at favored legislative and BESE candidates but steadfastly refused to endorse Vitter for re-election because he felt it “inappropriate” to interject himself into a state campaign?)
Either way, is the LSU board willing to go to jail for Bobby Jindal?