Jindal to headline GOP fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal is prohibited by state law from raising campaign cash during the legislative session. But that isn’t stopping him from headlining a fundraising reception for the state Republican Party next week.

His appearance is legal because it’s for the GOP, not Jindal personally.

The April 9 event at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans costs $10,000 per couple for those who want to have their picture taken with Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is scheduled to be in New Orleans to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. For $5,000, couples get to attend a dinner reception with the chief executives.

A government watchdog group says the event exposes a loophole in state law since the state GOP is a heavy contributor to Jindal’s campaign.

The state law, approved in 2004, forbids Louisiana governors and members of the Legislature from raising money for their own campaigns and political committees during legislative sessions and for 30 days after a regular session adjourns. It does not prevent them from raising money for outside political groups such as state parties.

Campaign disclosure reports show that the state GOP funneled $114,980 to Jindal’s campaign in 2009 through a series of in-kind contributions.

Jim Brandt, president of the nonprofit Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, said that makes Jindal an ‘‘indirect benefactor’’ of the money he’s helping raise.

‘‘This is a loophole that needs to be tightened up,’’ Brandt said.

Although Jindal’s name appears at the top of the invitation, the governor’s spokesman Kyle Plotkin said Jindal is not hosting the event but is appearing as a ‘‘special guest.’’

‘‘We’re complying with the law,’’ Plotkin said. ‘‘The fundraiser is for the party, not for the governor’s campaign committee.’’