Created By: Sylvia Scott on 04/18/2006 at 01:38 PM
Category: Campaign Finance Rulings
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
acting as the
SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE
DATED: April 13, 2006 OPINION NO: 2005-533
The Louisiana Board of Ethics (the “Board”), in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, pursuant to the authority contained in Section 1511.4 of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act (the “CFDA”) (LSA-R.S. 18:1481, et. seq.), conducted a private investigation concerning information that Scott Sledge may have violated Section 1505.1C of the CFDA by failing to accurately report the receipt of an in-kind contribution.
On the basis of information obtained during the investigation, and with the concurrence of Scott Sledge, the Board now makes the following essential:
I. Scott Sledge was an unsuccessful candidate for the 21st Judicial District Court judge seat in the April 2, 2005 election.
FINDINGS OF FACT
2. Jeffrey Johnson, a law partner of Mr. Sledge, in the law firm Rolling, Perrilloux, Sledge & Johnson, LLP, mailed approximately 493 letters to clients and church members, under his signature. The following expenses were incurred by the law firm: $129 in clerical hours and $184.41 in postage.
Mr. Sledge was aware that the letters were being mailed by Mr. Johnson.
Section 1505.1 of the CFDA provides as follows:
§1505.1. Failure to submit report; failure to file report timely or properly
* * *C. Failure to disclose or failure to disclose accurately any information required to be reported by this Chapter shall constitute a violation of this Chapter.
Section 1495.5 of the CFDA provides that a candidate shall report in-kind contributions received.
§1495.5. Reports; contents
* * *B. Each report required to be in conformity with this Section shall contain the following information:
* * *(4) Contribution(s) received during the reporting period for which the report is being completed shall be reported, and the same shall be reported irrespective of the amount thereof as follows:
(a) The full name and address of each person who has made one or more contributions to and which have been received and accepted by the candidate during the reporting period; the aggregate amount of such contributions, except in-kind contributions, from each person, and the date and amount of each such contribution; and a brief description of each in-kind contribution from each person, the valuation thereof made by the candidate and the campaign treasurer, and the date(s) of the in-kind contribution.
* * *
(c) The aggregate valuation of in-kind contributions received during the reporting period.
LSA-R.S. 18:1483(6)(b) defines “in-kind contribution” as follows:
(i) Contributions in-kind made for any of the purposes stated in this Paragraph, having an attributable monetary value in excess of twenty-five dollars. Contributions in-kind shall include without limitation: the donation by any person, other than a candidate or a political committee, of the services of paid employees, the value of which services exceeds twenty-five dollars, such value to be the amount paid for such services; the donation of, or the donation of the right to use, any item of tangible property when the same is used or consumed and not exchanged or converted to cash or the equivalent of cash . . . Contributions shall also include expenditures made by any person in cooperation, consultation, or concert, with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, his authorized political committees, or their agents and shall be considered to be a contribution to such candidate.
III. It is the opinion of the Board that Scott Sledge violated Section 1505.1C of the CFDA by virtue of his receipt of an in-kind contribution, totaling $311.41 that was made by the law firm to disseminate the mailout of the letter under Mr. Johnson's signature. Section 1505.1C of the CFDA provides that candidates shall accurately file campaign finance disclosure reports.
Given the facts and circumstances of this case, the Board is of the opinion that a $200 penalty should be imposed on Scott Sledge.
IV.For the foregoing reasons:
DECREE AND ORDER
IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Board finds as a matter of fact and as a conclusion of law that Scott Sledge violated Section 1505.1C by failing to disclose the receipt of an in-kind expenditure from the law firm, Rolling, Perrilloux, Sledge & Johnson, LLP.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that a $200 penalty, payable to the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, be imposed on Scott Sledge for violating Section 1505.1C of the CFDA.
By Order of the Board this 13th day of April, 2006.
s/Robert L. Roland s/Hank Perret
Robert L. Roland, Chairman Henry C. Perret, Jr., Vice-Chairman
s/John W. Greene s/Gwendolyn P. Hamilton
Judge John W. Greene Gwendolyn P. Hamilton
s/E. L. Guidry, Jr. s/R. L. Hargrove, Jr.
Judge E. L. Guidry, Jr. R. L. Hargrove, Jr.
s/Michael T. Johnson s/Michael J. Kantrow, Sr.
Michael T. Johnson Michael J. Kantrow, Sr.
s/Joseph Maselli s/Ascension Delgado Smith
Joseph Maselli Ascension Delgado Smith
Dr. Dolores Spikes
The undersigned (a) stipulates to the facts found by the Board; (b) waives the procedural requirements contained in R. S. 18:1511.1 et seq; (c) violates Section 1505.1C of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act; (d) consents to the publication of this opinion; (e) agrees to comply with the conditions and orders set forth in this opinion; and (f) agrees not to seek judicial review of the findings and actions taken in this opinion.
s/Scott Sledge 2/1/06
Scott Sledge Date