Created By: Sylvia Scott on 10/14/2009 at 09:27 AM
Category: Campaign Finance Rulings
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
DATE: September 30, 2009 OPINION NO.: 2008-880
RE: In the Matter of Michael Craig
The Board of Ethics, acting as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure (the “Board”), conducted a confidential investigation after reviewing campaign finance disclosure reports filed by Michael Craig in connection with his candidacy for Judge, 26th Judicial District, in the October 4, 2008 election. The campaign finance disclosure report filed by Mr. Craig in connection with the election showed that the campaign received a loan endorsed by his father, Norman Craig, in excess of his $2,500 contribution limit.
On the basis of information obtained by the Board during the course of the investigation, and with the concurrence of Michael Craig, the Board now makes the following:
I. Michael Craig was a successful candidate for Judge, 26th Judicial District, in the October 4, 2008 election.
FINDINGS OF FACTS
2. Michael Craig was a “district office” candidate with a $2,500 contribution limit for each election.
3. Michael Craig filed a thirtieth day prior to the primary (30-P) campaign finance disclosure report on September 2, 2008 that disclosed the receipt of a $34,000 loan and listed the guarantor as Norman Craig.
4. Norman Craig is the father of Michael Craig.
5. On September 18, 2008, Michael Craig filed an amendment to his 30-P report indicating that Norman Craig had been removed as a guarantor on the $34,000 loan.
6. Michael Craig provided a statement from the bank indicating that Norman Craig had been removed as a guarantor on the loan on September 9, 2008.
7. Michael Craig stated that once he was informed that his father’s guarantee of the loan was a violation, he immediately began the process of having his father removed as a guarantor.
The following contribution limits are established for contributions made to candidates or the principal campaign committee and any subsidiary committee of a candidate for the following offices:
Section 1505.2 H (1) provides as follows:
(i) Major office - five thousand dollars.
(ii) District office - two thousand five hundred dollars.
(iii) Other office - one thousand dollars.
Section 1505.2 H (3)(c) provides :
No candidate . . . shall accept from the same contributor a loan, transfer funds, or contribution . . . in the aggregate for all reporting periods of an election . . . in excess of the contribution limits established in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection . . . .
Section 1505.2H(6)(a) provides:
For purposes of this Subsection, "loan" shall not include any loan of money by a state bank, a federally chartered depository institution, or a depository institution the deposits or accounts of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, or the Federal Credit Union Administration, any licensed lender under the Louisiana Consumer Law, or an insurance company, other than any overdraft made with respect to a checking or savings account, made in accordance with applicable law and in the ordinary course of business, but such loan:
(I) Shall be considered a loan by each endorser or guarantor, in that proportion of the unpaid balance that each endorser or guarantor bears to the total number of endorsers or guarantors, and such loan by each endorser and guarantor shall be subject to the contribution limits provided in this Subsection (emphasis added)
III. It is the opinion of the Board that Michael Craig unknowingly violated the contribution limits contained in Section 1505.2H of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by his receipt of a $34,000 loan co-guranteed by his father, Norman Craig, in excess of his $2,500 contribution limit.
Given Michael Craig’s admission of this violation of the contribution limits and in consideration of the fact that he acted immediately to remedy the violation once he was informed of it, it is the decision of the Board that the interest of the public would best be served by publication of this opinion as a public censure without the imposition of a fine.
IV. For the foregoing reasons:
DECREE AND ORDER
IT IS ORDERED that the Board finds as a matter of fact and a conclusion of law that Michael Craig violated Section 1505.2H of the Louisiana Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by his receipt of a $34,000 loan endorsed by his father, Norman Craig, in excess of his $2,500 contribution limit. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Michael Craig be censured by the Boardfor his violation of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act but that no fine be imposed against him.
By Order of the Board this 30th day of September 2009.
s/Frank P. Simoneaux s/Scott E. Frazier
Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman Scott E. Frazier, Vice-Chairman
s/Dr. Rober 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. 18:1505.2H of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act; (d) consents to 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/Michael Craig 8/13/09
Michael Craig Date