Bobby Jindal declares state of emergency as storms hit Louisiana

Last Updated: Sunday, March 6, 2011 - 13:47

Houston: Indian-origin Louisiana Governor
Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency due to severe
storms that have wreaked havoc in the region leaving one
person dead and 12 injured.

The Governor`s order came last night as authorities said
more than 500 people have been evacuated from southern
Louisiana.

State officials said more than 100 homes and businesses
in Acadia, Terrebonne and Jefferson Parishes were damaged or
destroyed in the storm.

Crews are still working to get power restored in several
places.

The storms have claimed a person`s life while a dozen
people were injured.

Corporate donations to Jindal`s wife`s charity questioned

A charitable foundation for children
set up by Louisiana`s Indian-origin Governor Bobby Jindal`s
wife Supriya has accepted about USD 790,000 in donations from
corporations that had also funded the Republican politician`s
election campaign, a Washington-based non-partisan watchdog
group has claimed.

Louisiana`s First Lady`s foundation was a way for
corporations to "curry favour with the Governor while skirting
campaign contribution limits," `Citizens for Responsibility
and Ethics` (CREW) alleged in its report.

Louisiana state law limits the amount that an individual
or corporation can contribute to a political candidate to USD
5,000 per election cycle.

The report said that corporate donors gave huge funds to
the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana`s Children, which
seeks to expand technology at state schools.

"The donations are made not because of the great work of
the charity, but because of the connections," said Melanie
Sloan, a former prosecutor, who is the executive director of
Washington-based CREW.

AT&T, which needed Jindal to sign off on a legislation
allowing the company to sell cable television services without
having to negotiate with individual parishes, has pledged at
least USD 250,000.

Energy company, Marathon Oil, which last year won
approval from the Jindal administration to increase the amount
of oil it can refine at its Louisiana plant, also committed to
a USD 250,000 donation. And the military contractor Northrop
Grumman, which got state officials to help set up an airplane
maintenance facility at a former Air Force base, promised USD
10,000 to the charity.

A spokesman for the Governor said he had not personally
intervened to help any of the charity`s corporate donors
advance their agendas before the state government.

Any suggestion that the foundation is a way to lobby the
Governor or thank him for a past action is ridiculous,
Jindal`s press secretary said.

"It is a completely non-political, non-partisan
organisation created by the first lady, who as an engineer and
the mother of three children, has a passion for helping our
young people learn science and math," said Kyle Plotkin, the
press secretary.

"Anything other than this reality has plainly been
dreamed up by partisan hacks living in a fantasy land."

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 6, 2011 - 13:47

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