Created By: Sylvia Scott on 11/14/2006 at 03:34 PM
Category: Campaign Finance Rulings
RE: In the Matter of Jared Beiriger OPINION NO.: 2005-096
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
The Louisiana Board of Ethics (the “Board”), at its October 12, 2006, meeting conducted a public hearing for the purpose of exploring the following:
That Jared Beiriger, in his capacity as a candidate for Ascension Parish Council, District 11 in the October 4, 2003 election, may have violated Section 1505.1C of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act (LSA-R.S. 18:1505.1C) by failing to accurately file his 30th day prior to the primary election campaign finance disclosure report by failing to accurately disclose the purpose of expenditures reported being made to Clay Bercegeay in the amount of $1,200 reported for the purpose “food for rallies.”
II.That Jared Beiriger, in his capacity as an Ascension Parish Council, District 11, may have violated Section 1112B(1) of the Code of Governmental Ethics [LSA-R.S. 42:1112B(1)] by contacting the Director of the Ascension Parish Public Works Department concerning the necessity of having the parish dig a ditch on property owned by Mr. Beiriger’s brother, Jason Beiriger.
On the basis of the evidence presented to the Board during the public hearing and considering the oral arguments presented by counsel, and on the basis on the stipulation of facts entered into between counsel for the Board and counsel for the respondents, the Board now makes the following essential:
FINDINGS OF FACT
Jared Beiriger was a successful candidate for a seat on the Ascension Parish Council in the October 2003 election. Mr. Beiriger took office in January 2004.
2. Clay Bercegeay was subpoenaed as a witness in this matter. Mr. Bercegeay was unable to attend the public hearing because he was in Texas for business. In his absence he submitted correspondence in which he stated the rallies were conducted.
3. Mr. Beiriger filed his 30th day prior to the campaign finance disclosure report disclosing a payment to Mr. Bercegeay in connection with the “rallies.”
4. Mr. Bill Roux, the Director of the Ascension Parish Public Works Department, stated that his duties as the Director of Public Works involved anything having to do with public works, including drainage, roads, building, planning and zoning issues.
5. Mr. Roux testified that he did have a telephone conversation with Councilman Beiriger concerning the Parish’s usual procedure in connection with digging a drainage ditch.
6. Mr. Beiriger had a right to call and ask about the general procedure.
II. LSA-R.S. 18:1505.1 states that failure to timely or properly file required campaign finance disclosure reports constitutes a violation of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.
§1505.1. Failure to submit report; failure to file report timely or properly
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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.
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Section 1112B(1) of the Code of Governmental Ethics prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction involving the governmental entity in which a member of her immediate family has a substantial economic interest. Section 1112B(1) provides as follows:
§ 1112. Participation in certain transactions involving the governmental entity
B. No public servant, except as provided in R.S. 42:1120, shall participate in a transaction involving the governmental entity in which, to his actual knowledge, any of the following persons has a substantial economic interest:
(1) Any member of his immediate family.
§ 1102. Definitions
Section 1102 of the Code provides the following definitions:
(15) “Participate” means to take part in or to have or share responsibility for action of a governmental entity or a proceeding, personally, as a public servant of the governmental entity, through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or the failure to act or perform a duty.
(21) “Substantial economic interest” means an economic interest which is of greater benefit to the public servant or other person than to a general class or group of persons...
*** It is the opinion of the Board that the evidence presented at the hearing in this matter is insufficient to support a finding that Jared Beiriger violated Section 1505.1C of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act. It is also the opinion of the Board that the evidence presented at the hearing in this matter is insufficient to support a find that Jared Beiriger violated Section 1112B(1) of the Code by contacting the Director of the Ascension Parish Public Works Department concerning the Parish’s general procedure in regards to digging a ditch.
IT IS ORDERED that the charge issued against Jared Beiriger for a violation of Section 1505.1C of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act be and is hereby dismissed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the charge issued against Jared Beiriger for a violation of Section 1112B(1) of the Code of Governmental Ethics be and is hereby dismissed.
By Order of the Board this 9th day of November 2006.
s/Robert L. Roland s/Hank Perret
Robert L. Roland, Chairman Henry C. Perret, Jr., Vice-Chairman
s/Dr. Herbert V. Baptiste, Sr. s/John W. Greene
Dr. Herbert V. Baptiste, Sr. Judge John W. Greene
s/E. L. Guidry, Jr. s/Gwendolyn P. Hamilton
Judge E. L. Guidry, Jr. Gwendolyn P. Hamilton
s/R. L. Hargrove, Jr. s/Michael T. Johnson
R. L. Hargrove, Jr. Michael T. Johnson
s/Joseph Maselli s/Ascension Delgado Smith
Joseph Maselli Ascension Delgado Smith
s/Dolores R. Spikes
Dr. Dolores Spikes