Created By: Sylvia Scott on 10/14/2009 at 09:19 AM
Category: Campaign Finance Rulings
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
DATE: September 30, 2009 OPINION NO.: 2007-787
RE: In the Matter of James David Cain
The Louisiana Board of Ethics (“the Board”), in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, pursuant to the authority contained in LSA-R.S. 18:1511.4, conducted a confidential investigation concerning information that revealed that James David Cain, a candidate for State Representative, District 32 in the October 20, 2007 election, may have violated provisions of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by using campaign funds for a personal use unrelated to the holding of public office. Section 1505.2I prohibits the use of campaign funds for a personal use unrelated to a political campaign.
On the basis of information obtained during the investigation, and with the concurrence of James David Cain, the Board now makes the following:
I. James David Cain was a candidate for State Representative, District 32 in the October 20, 2007 and November 7, 2007 elections.
FINDINGS OF FACT
2. On Mr. Cain’s thirtieth day prior to the primary (30-P) campaign finance disclosure report, filed on September 19, 2007, he disclosed the following expenditures:
- a $50 donation on April 14, 2007 to Teresa Ferrell
- a $100 donation on January 22, 2007 to Garrett Green, donation for La. College mission trip
- a $100 donation on February 19, 2007 to Moses Captain, donation was money received for his birthday
- a $50 donation on March 27, 2007 to Amber Ashworth, donation was for the scholarship fund for the Fleur de Lis Escort for Miss Louisiana
- a $50 donation on August 1, 2007 to Allie Armstrong
- a $50 donation on July 6, 2007 to Shelby Kadrovich for high school rodeo finals, donation used to defray costs associated with participating in national rodeo
- a $25 donation on July 10, 2007 to Chadd Strother
- a $25 donation on August 1, 2007 to Hannah Chaney
- a $20 donation on August 1, 2007 to Philip Jones Layton
- a $50 donation on August 2, 2007 to Michael Reeves
- a $25 donation on August 6, 2007 to Britney Benoit
- a $50 donation to Merrell Bailey, donation for Angels Coach/pitch team
- a $25 donation on August 6, 2007 to Kaylea Kyle, donation used to help defray cost associated with Kaylea participating in cheerleading performance at Capital One Bowl in Orlando, FL
- $374 donation on August 18, 2007 to Lisa Ernst for Robert Paul and Russell Johnson
3. On Mr. Cain’s tenth day prior to the primary (10-P) campaign finance disclosure report, filed on October 10, 2007, he disclosed the following expenditure:
- a $50 donation on September 24, 2007 to Lauren Nugent, donation was for Rodeo Queen
4. On Mr. Cain’s tenth day prior to the general (10-G) campaign finance disclosure report, filed on November 7, 2007, he disclosed the following expenditure:
- a $25 donation on October 23, 2007 to Phillip Rush
5. On Mr. Cain’s fortieth day after the general (40-G) campaign finance disclosure report, filed on December 27, 2007, he disclosed the following expenditure:
- a $100 donation on November 16, 2007 to Earl Smith, birthday gift
II. Section 1505.2I of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act (“CFDA”) prohibits campaign funds from being used, loaned, or pledged for any personal use unrelated to a political campaign or the holding of public office; except that excess campaign funds may be returned to contributors on a pro rata basis, given as a charitable contribution as provided in 26 USC 170© given to a charitable organization as defined in 26 USC 501(c)(3), expended in support of or in opposition to a proposition, political party, or candidacy of any person, or maintained in a segregated fund for use in a future political campaign or activity related to preparing for future candidacy to elective office.
The provisions of LSA-R.S. 18:1505.2(J) provide that any candidate who violates the prohibition on personal use of campaign funds shall be assessed a penalty of $5,000 or the amount of the violation, whichever is greater, except that the penalty for a knowing and willful violation shall be not more than $10,000 or 200% of the violation, whichever is greater.
III. It is the opinion and conclusion of the Board that James David Cain violated the restrictions on the use of campaign funds in the CFDA when he used campaign funds for a personal use unrelated to the holding of or seeking of public office. The Board in BD 1997-070 held that campaign funds may not be used to purchase clothing for an underprivileged child since the expenditure was unrelated to the holding of public office. The Board in BD 1991-050, issued an opinion that campaign funds may be used to "provide flowers for funerals of deceased constituents and reasonable and customary graduation gifts to young people in the officials’ districts when the courtesies are extended because of the position of the elected official." Donations to persons that do not qualify as a 501C(3) organization or those that would not qualify under BD 1991-050 are therefore prohibited under the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.
In this particular situation, given the facts outlined above, it is the conclusion of the Board that Mr. Cain that the interest of the public would be served by the imposition of a $500 civil penalty with all of the fine suspended conditioned upon his future compliance with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act for the above-described violations.
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 James David Cain violated La. R.S. 1505.2I of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by giving donations to persons that do not qualify as a 501C(3) organization.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that a civil penalty of $500 be imposed on James David Cain but that said fine is suspended conditioned upon his future compliance with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act for the above-described violations.
By Order of the Board this 30th day of September 2009.
s/Frank P. Simoneaux s/Scott E. Frazier
Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman Scott E. Frazier, Vice-Chairman
s/Dr. Rober P. Bareikis s/Gail E. Bowman (Rev.)
Dr. Robert P. Bareikis Rev. Gail E. Bowman
s/James G. Boyer s/Gary G. Hymel
James G. Boyer Gary G. Hymel
s/Jean M. Ingrassia s/C. W. Lowrey, M.D.
Jean M. Ingrassia Dr. Cedric W. Lowrey
s/M. Blake Monrose s/Scott D. Schneider
M. Blake Monrose Scott D. Schneider
s/David Grove Stafford, Jr.
David Grove Stafford, Jr.
The undersigned (a) stipulates to the facts found by the Board; (b) waives the procedural requirements contained in Section 1141 of the Code; c) admits that his conduct, as described above, violated La. R.S. 18:1505.2I of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act; (d) acknowledges 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/James David Cain August 9, 2009
James David Cain Date