Kennedy joins Dardenne, says Jindal should pay for campaign security detail
BATON ROUGE - Last month, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who is also running for governor, said taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for Gov. Bobby Jindal's campaign travel. Now, State Treasurer John Kennedy says Jindal should use his campaign funds for security protection while he's campaigning.
According to state law, Louisiana State Troopers are mandated to follow and guard Jindal wherever he goes, whether that's a school event for one of his children or on the campaign trail in Iowa.
At Press Club Monday, Kennedy says money spent on security would be better spent elsewhere, such as on police detail in New Orleans.
"I think the governor can afford to pay for his own security and let us take those troopers, send them to New Orleans to try to do something about the outrageous murder rate there," he said.
There are currently 50 state troopers assigned to protect the New Orleans French Quarter. The troopers work different shifts based on the hours they're needed, maximizing patrols at the peak times. They are dedicated to that area through the year.
State police is also dedicated to Jindal, no matter where he goes. It's what Col. Mike Edmonson said back in June.
"He's always governor until he's no longer governor," said Edmonson.
Governor Jindal's office released a statement saying: "We leave all security decisions up to the Louisiana State Police and we trust them to do their job. We appreciate the work that State Police does for the governor and his family every day, and we’re grateful for their service."
The taxpayer money to protect Jindal is coming out of the state police budget. In an interview with Dardenne last month, Dardenne says Jindal has been away from Louisiana 75 days so far this year. That number has grown since Jindal has been stumping in Iowa this month.
Kennedy says Dardenne should give up his security detail, too.
"(The governor) needs to do the right thing and frankly, so does the Lt. Gov.," said Kennedy. "He's been criticizing the governor but he's running around with troopers, too. Give them up and let's do something about crime."
Dardenne released a statement saying: "I have called on the governor to pay for his security detail while traveling out of state and campaigning for president. This should be a campaign expense not a burden on Louisiana taxpayers. I have never been accompanied by state troopers on my travels out of state or on the few occasions when I traveled out of the country. I have had assistance from state police on average about once a week during my time as lieutenant governor. I opted not to have a 24/7 security detail or a permanent driver even though state police made it clear that I was entitled to such protection. The troopers' time is much better spent on traffic enforcement and fighting crime.”