BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal spent nearly $1.5 million from his state campaign account over the last year, though he isn't up for re-election and doesn't plan to run for any other Louisiana office.
A finance report filed this week by the Republican governor's campaign lists 200 pages of expenses throughout 2014, spending that could help the term-limited Jindal continue the political network needed for a possible 2016 presidential bid.
Nearly $578,000 was spent on political consulting, digital advertising and polling, according to the report filed with the state Board of Ethics. Another $132,000 was paid to a fundraising expert. Office space was rented.
Campaign employees were paid. And $157,000 covered plane tickets, hotels, meals, cabs and other expenses as Jindal traveled the country for speeches and political appearances that raise his national profile.
Jindal has said he's considering a presidential campaign and would announce his decision later this year.
The governor's office referred questions about the report to Jindal's chief political adviser, Timmy Teepell. He said the spending was allowable under the restrictions governing the state campaign account and was not tied to a possible White House candidacy.
"You can't use it to run for a federal office, and he's not a candidate for a federal office," Teepell said Thursday.
The expenses listed in Jindal's latest campaign finance report go well beyond Louisiana.
While a small portion of last year's $157,000 in travel expenses involved the governor's economic development trip to Asia, much of the spending covered the costs of Jindal's speeches and appearances to Republican groups and at GOP events around the country.
More than one-third of the spending, nearly $578,000, was sent to OnMessage Inc., the Washington, D.C.-area political consulting firm where Teepell works. The firm was paid a monthly retainer that began the year at $28,000 and grew to $30,000 for its services, plus additional sums for polling, research and advertising on social media sites.
Teepell said the monthly retainer "covers my time, providing advice and counsel on all sorts of issues dealing with state government issues. That may be policy issues or budget issues or legislative issues or communications issues."
Paid $11,000 per month was the Bautsch Group LLC, the company owned by Jindal's longtime fundraiser Alexandra Bautsch, even though the governor appeared to do little fundraising. Jindal listed less than $21,000 in campaign donations over 2014.
Teepell said Bautsch's work involved continuing "to handle the relationships" with previous donors.
"You've got a number of folks who have given to the governor over the last six or seven years and Allee is the person who's built the relationships, so when they want to talk to the governor, she's the one they call," he said.
Much of the nearly $202,000 in payroll costs Teepell described as covering the salary of a scheduler who sorts through the many invitations and speaking requests Jindal receives and the pay for interns who do data entry of all the spending receipts.
He said the spending was tapering off this year, with no fundraising planned and about $604,000 remaining in the campaign account.
"All the campaign activity on the state side is coming to a halt," Teepell said.
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Posted on Fri, February 20, 2015
by Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press