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Indian-origin Louisiana Guv Jindal facing flak over donation to wife's charity

New Orleans (US), Fri, 04 Mar 2011 ANI

New Orleans (US), Mar. 4 (ANI): Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has attracted controversy over his wife's charity accepting about 790,000 dollars in donations from corporations that have also donated to the governor's campaign committee since 2007.


A non-partisan watchdog group has claimed that Louisiana state law limits the amount that an individual or corporation can contribute to a political candidate to 5,000 dollars per election cycle, and highlighted the fact that corporate donors have given much more to the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana's Children, which seeks to expand technology at state schools.


According to CBS News, the group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), alleged in a report that the Louisiana first lady's foundation was a way for corporations to "curry favor with the governor while skirting campaign contribution limits."


"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.


"We're not suggesting he's broken the law," she added. ut Sloan said there was "an awfully close relationship between the charity and the government ... If it is not an actual conflict, it is an appearance of conflict."


The report noted that the foundation's treasurer, Alexandra Bautsch, also serves as the governor's fundraiser and that Bobby Jindal's picture appears on the website next to where donations can be made.


Jindal, who was elected in 2007, dismissed the report's conclusions Thursday.


"I think the allegations are silly. The one thing I do hope comes out of this, I hope people pay more attention to the foundation and its work. I hope they get more supporters," Jindal said


The Jindal foundation is the most recent example of how powerful interests can seek to influence politicians outside of making campaign contributions. Corporations and lobbyists give millions each year to the favorite charities of members of Congress.


In a telephone interview, Supriya Jindal called her foundation a "non-partisan, non-political organization" with no paid staff. She said she doesn't receive any compensation and noted the foundation's donors are listed on the website.


The foundation was set up in July 2008, six months after Jindal took office. It gives classrooms a 6,000-dollar package that includes the digital board, hand-held devices to interact with the board and a laptop for teachers.


The chalkboards can play video, display graphics and react to touch. Promethean, a British company that has donated $250,000 to the Jindal Foundation, makes the boards. (ANI)


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