POSTED: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 9:06pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 9:11pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) -- Governor Bobby Jindal responded to allegations surrounding his wife's charity. That's after an article in the New York Times suggests big businesses are donating to the foundation in return for favors from the state's leader.
The governor was quick to dismiss claims from the New York Times that tied him to Supriya's Whiteboard Foundation. "I think it's absolutely ridiculous," he says. "I think only the New York Times and folks like that could be worried about the fact that folks are trying to provide better technology and more support for kids in our schools across the state of Louisiana."
Jindal praised his wife's charity, which donates high-tech whiteboards to schools in low-income areas. "I'm proud of the work she does," he says.
The article says many of the businesses that donated more than $200,000 to her charity are regulated by the governor. While some of the companies interviewed by the well-known newspaper say they're not looking for any favors, an ethics watchdog group suggested otherwise. That sentiment is shared by Claude "Buddy" Leach, the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Louisiana.
"It's a perception that you can influence the governor's office through this foundation," he says. "I think it's wrong. It would be wrong if a democrat did it. It would be wrong if a republican did it."
The article references several different companies that have recieved tax breaks or evaded fines. Those companies, according to the article, also donated huge sums of money to Mrs. Jindal's cause.
"Those companies that are regulated, that are receiving exemptions, that are receiving tax breaks, shoudl be prohibited from making these types of contributions direct to the foundation."
Jindal repeatedly disagreed with the statements made in the article, but he said one positive thing may have come out of it. "I hope more people pay attention to the foundation's work. I hope they get more supporters."
To see the controversial article, click on the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/us/politics/03jindal.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=jindal&st=cse