Created By: Sylvia Scott on 04/18/2008 at 02:12 PM
Category: Campaign Finance Advisory Opinions
Caption: An advisory opinion prohibiting a candidate from using his campaign funds to pay legal fees in connection with an investigation by the Judiciary Commission.
April 18, 2008
Gregory N. Wampler
Lemoine & Wampler
607 Main Street
Pineville, LA 71360
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2008-335
Dear Mr. Wampler:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, acting in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, at its April 10, 2008 meeting, considered the request of your client, Judge Allen A. Krake, to use his campaign funds to pay for legal fees incurred in connection with an investigation by the Judiciary Commission. That investigation resulted in the filing of formal charges against Judge Krake. On October 27, 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that Judge Krake would be suspended for the remainder of his term of office, but deferred all but 6 months of that suspension. Judge Krake was able to retake the bench in May 2007. You further state that the Committee to Re-Elect Judge Krake has surplus campaign funds of $5,900 which Judge Krake would like to use to pay legal fees in connection with the Judiciary Commission's investigation and charges.
Section 1505.2(I) of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act provides that:
. . . contributions received by a candidate or a political committee may be expended for any lawful purpose, but such funds shall not be used, loaned, or pledged by any person for any personal use unrelated to a political campaign [or] the holding of a public office . . . LSA-R.S. 18:1505.2(I).
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Judge Krake’s use of campaign funds to pay the legal fees and expenses in connection with investigation by the Judiciary Commission, is not a use related to his campaign or the holding of public office. If the events that led to the investigation occurred in the absence of all jurisdiction then those events are not a function of the holding of public office. Accordingly, the Board determined that the use of campaign funds, as described, is prohibited by Section 1505.2(I) cited above.
If you have questions, please call me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 763-8777.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Alesia M. Ardoin
For the Board