April 17, 2007
Mr. John Schroder
70117 Highway 59, Suite F
Abita Springs, LA 70424
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2007-274
Dear Mr. Schroder:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its April 12, 2007 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to the propriety of you using campaign funds to lease office space owned by you and/or your company, Schroder Development Group, Inc. You stated that you own several commercial rentals in your district, some that you personally own and others you own through your company, which is a S-corporation and in which you have a 100 percent ownership. You also stated that you would lease the space for an amount equal to that for which it was rented in the past.
R.S. 18:1505.2I. of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act prohibits the use of campaign funds for any personal use unrelated to the candidate's political campaign or his holding of public office. However, it is the opinion of the Board, as set forth in Ethics Board Docket No. 1995-170, that a candidate may not perform any service or otherwise seek reimbursement under circumstances such that the transaction would be deemed taxable by the internal revenue service. Furthermore, it is the opinion of the Board, as set forth in Ethics Board Docket No. 1995-010, the contribution limits do not apply to an IRS S-corporation wholly owned by a candidate. Copies of the referenced advisory opinions are enclosed.
Therefore, the Board concluded and instructed me to inform you, that the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act prohibits you from using campaign funds to lease space owned by you, individually, or through Schroder Development Group, Inc., since it is a S-corporation in which you own 100%. However, you and your S-corporation are not prohibited from donating the use of the office space for your campaign. The Board also concluded that you are prohibited from using campaign funds to purchase real estate to be used as your campaign headquarters or as a permanent office if you are elected.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 763-8777.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Kathleen M. Allen
For the Board