Created By: Sylvia Scott on 07/31/2009 at 11:03 AM
Category: Campaign Finance Rulings
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
DATE: July 29, 2009 OPINION NO.: 2007-786
RE: In the Matter of Clayton Faucheux
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 Clayton Faucheux, a candidate for St. Charles Parish President 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 Clayton Faucheux, the Board now makes the following:
I. Clayton Faucheux was a candidate for St. Charles Parish President in the October 20, 2007 election. Mr. Faucheux was successful in the primary election but withdrew shortly before the general election.
FINDINGS OF FACT
2. On Mr. Faucheux’s thirtieth day prior to the primary (30-P) campaign finance disclosure report, filed on September 22, 2007, Mr. Faucheux disclosed an expenditure dated August 7, 2007 of $500 to Almond Lockett for the purpose of “donation” and an expenditure dated May 16, 2007 to Steve Simon for the purpose of “donation.”
3. Mr. Faucheux explained that the donation to Mr. Lockett was to help bury Mr. Lockett’s mother. Mr. Lockett had worked on his campaign.
4. Mr. Faucheux explained that the donation to Mr. Simon was for a fundraiser held by Mr. Simon who was suffering with cancer.
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(c), 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 Clayton Faucheux 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. Donations to persons that do not qualify as a 501C(3) organization 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. Faucheux be ordered to reimburse his campaign fund the $1,000 spent on donations and that the interest of the public would be served by the imposition of a $500 civil penalty, made payable to the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, upon Clayton Faucheux for his violation of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.
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 Clayton Faucheux 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 Clayton Faucheux reimburse his campaign fund the $1,000 spent on donations and that a civil penalty of $500, made payable to the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, be imposed upon Clayton Faucheux.
By Order of the Board this 29th day of July 2009.
s/Frank P. Simoneaux s/Scott E. Frazier
Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman Scott E. Frazier, Vice-Chairman
s/Dr. Robert 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/Clayton Faucheux 4/20/09
Clayton Faucheux Date