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Times-Picayune: Head of firm processing BP’s oil spill claims to hold fundraiser for Jindal

Updated at 12:45 p.m. EST to add comments from the Louisiana Democratic Party

The Times-Picayune has obtained an invitation for a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser to benefit Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s reelection campaign. The event’s host is Mike Worley, CEO of Worley Catastrophe Response, which has handled oil spill claims processing for BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster that allowed over 4 million barrels of crude oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Times-Picayune:

BATON ROUGE — The head of a Hammond-based firm that is handling oil spill claims processing for BP is hosting the latest fund-raising event for Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The $1,000 a plate cocktail reception — the “host” level costs $5,000 — is being held Tuesday at the offices of Worley Catastrophe Response, and hosted by the company’s chief executive, Mike Worley.

Worley has handled claims on behalf of BP, and later the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, since shortly after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill.

The fund-raising event is the latest in an aggressive push by Jindal to raise money for his 2011 re-election campaign. He finished last year with more than $9 million on hand and has kept up a steady schedule of money-raising events in Louisiana and other states.

Jindal’s office has a policy of not disclosing who hosts the fund-raising events he attends. A copy of the invitation was obtained by The Times-Picayune.

And the governor’s office says the fundraiser is a sign of Jindal’s magnanimity.

Jindal’s spokesman, Kyle Plotkin, said the governor sees nothing inappropriate about the event. “Obviously the governor is running for re-election, and he wants the support of all people in Louisiana,” Plotkin said.

Update, 12:45 p.m. EST: Louisiana Democrats are calling for Jindal to cancel the fundraiser. In a press release:

“It is a clear conflict for Gov. Jindal to take campaign cash from somebody who works for BP at the same time he’s supposed to be holding BP accountable,” said Louisiana Democrats Chair Claude “Buddy” Leach, Jr. “Gov. Jindal should cancel tonight’s fundraiser immediately.”

Worley Catastrophe Response is currently working on behalf of BP and so-called Pay Czar Ken Feinberg to process claims related to last year’s explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Tonight’s $1,000 a plate cocktail reception is being hosted by Mike Worley, the company’s CEO.

Jindal has repeatedly criticized BP’s handling of the claims process and last month filed a motion on behalf of the State of Louisiana asking a federal judge to monitor communications between BP, Feinberg, Worley and oil spill claimants.

“Just last month Jindal intervened in a lawsuit involving Worley Catastrophe Response and tonight he’s heading to their corporate office to fill his campaign coffers a little more,” Leach added. “That’s not the gold-plated ethics reform Bobby Jindal promised Louisiana families four years ago.”

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