Senator slams Jindal over 'hypocrisy' in veto of transparency bill
Louisiana State Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, called Governor Bobby Jindal's veto of a bill that would have opened up state records on the BP oil spill "the height of hypocrisy."
Jindal blocked the measure, sponsored by Adley, even though it received overwhelming support in both the state House and Senate.
Adley said that he wasn't surprised by the veto because Jindal, who famously campaigned on a platform for open government, has opposed every transparency bill that has reached his desk.
"I'm very sad because the veto equates to nothing more than a black eye for Louisiana when the world is watching," Adley said.
In Jindal's veto letter posted on the governor's Web site, Jindal wrote: "This bill would allow BP and other parties with potential liability to the state to obtain information retained by any state agency responding to this tragic event. Such access could impair the state's legal position both in responding to the disaster that is unfolding and in seeking remedies for economic injury and natural resource damage."
Adley said the governor's veto message "made no sense at all" because BP's lawyers would be able to obtain any state records through discovery and subpoena's.
"BP will have access to more information than the public," he said.
Jindal's office did not immediately return a message requesting a comment.
Adley said the chances of a veto session to try and overturn the governor's ruling "are pretty slim."
According to Adley, the latest move puts Jindal last in the nation of governors in terms of transparency. Liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington rated Jindal as one of America's worst governors, citing Jindal's transparency blocking efforts and the weakening of the authority of state's ethics board.
In 2009, The Center for Public Integrity rated Louisiana's legislature as the best in the country in terms of ethics and transparency.