Republicans knock Jindal on BP transparency

I’ll be on Countdown later discussing local criticism of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s handling of the oil spill. One line of that criticism — anger that Jindal vetoed legislation that would have opened all of the state’s records of how it handled the spill. The governor argued that the legislation would have weakened the state’s position in future liability claims. State Sen. Robert Adley, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the Senate, called that “disingenuous and ludicrous.”

“It’s absurd,” he said. “People can eventually issue subpoenas and get these records. All he’s doing is preventing the people of Louisiana from seeing the records, while BP will get to see them.”

Adley, who endorsed Jindal in 2007, called the BP transparency veto the latest example of Jindal making “one ethics rule for himself and another from everyone else.” Rep. Wayne Waddell, another Republican and the supporter of the transparency legislation in the House, took that further.

“He wants to preach that he’s brought to the state more transparency and ethics than any other governor,” said Waddell. “At the levels below the governor’s office, he has. But the governor should represent the gold standard, and right now it’s just gold-plated.”

Neither pol argued that Jindal had been negligent at any level in his handling of the BP crisis. The problem, they said, was with how difficult that question was to answer. Questions about whether the National Guard members Jindal asked for have been fully deployed have been basically blown off with spokesmen criticizing the federal government.

“I don’t know if anything is being done incorrectly,” said Adley. “I just want it to be done in public.”

“We don’t really know if anything’s gone wrong,” said Waddell. “Unless you open up the records how do you know? Unless you’re open about how the National Guard is being used, or how the money BP owes is being used, how do you know? Is the money going to be used to plug a hole in the budget?”

Waddell hoped that more media exposure of the transparency issue would get Jindal to think about his own “national ambitions” and revisit it. Adley just wanted to get it right.

“When I leave the legislature,” he said, “on each and every issue I want to find myself on the right side of history, if possible.”