June 9, 2006
Alex L. Andrus, III
Guglielmo, Lopez, Tuttle, Hunter & Jarrell, L.L.P.
P. O. Drawer 1329
Alexandria, LA 70571-1329
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2006-436
Dear Mr. Andrus:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, at its June 8, 2006 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to the appropriate disbursement of surplus campaign funds of the late St. Landry Parish Sheriff, Howard Zerangue. Prior to his death, Sheriff Zerangue executed a document to authorize his son, Howard Zerangue, Jr., as an executor of his estate, to distribute the funds in accordance with the provisions of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act (CFDA).
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Howard Zerangue, Jr., as the executor of his father’s estate is the proper party to disperse the surplus campaign funds of Sheriff Zerangue in accordance with the provisions of the CFDA and to file the required reports. The surplus campaign funds are not the personal funds of the former candidate and should not be distributed as part of his estate. La. R.S. 18:1505.2I sets forth the appropriate uses of surplus campaign funds. The enumerated acceptable uses include returning funds to contributors on a pro rata basis; contributing to other candidates, political committees or political parties - up to their limits; expending funds to support or oppose ballot issues; making charitable contributions as provided in 26 USC 170(c); or, making contributions to a charitable organization as defined in 26 USC 501(c)(3).
Furthermore, La. R.S. 18:1495.6 provides that annual campaign finance reports should be filed by February 15th of each year as to the status of the surplus campaign funds, and which discloses any disbursement of those funds in the preceding calendar year. Reminder notices will be mailed by the staff of the Board to the attention of Howard Zerangue, Jr. with respect to the reporting requirements.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act. If you have any further questions, please call me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 763-8777.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Kathleen M. Allen
For the Board