Created By: Sylvia Scott on 01/29/2009 at 11:08 AM
Category: Campaign Finance Rulings
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
DATE: January 28, 2009 OPINION NO.: 2007-795
RE: In the Matter of J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
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 J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr., a successful candidate for Iberville Parish President in the October 20, 2007 election, may have violated provisions of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by failing to accurately file campaign finance disclosure reports.
On the basis of information obtained during the investigation, and with the concurrence of J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr., the Board now makes the following:
I. J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. was a successful candidate for Iberville Parish President in the October 20, 2007 election.
FINDINGS OF FACT
2. The office of Iberville Parish President is a “district” level office under the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.
3. J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. filed a thirtieth day prior to the primary election (30-P) campaign finance disclosure report in connection with the October 20, 2007 election on September 20, 2007.
4. Information provided to the Board by Mr. Ourso shows that he had the following in-kind contribution which was not properly disclosed on his thirtieth day prior to the primary election (30-P) campaign finance disclosure report:
1) An in-kind contribution of $1,575 from LTSKC, Inc. for catering in connection with a fundraiser.
5. Mr. Ourso filed an amended thirtieth day prior to the primary election (30-P) campaign finance disclosure report on February 7, 2008 disclosing the $1,575 in-kind contribution from LTSKC, Inc.
II. La. R.S. 18:1505.1C provides:
Failure to disclose or failure to disclose accurately any information required to be submitted by this Chapter shall constitute a violation of this Chapter.
Ethics Board Docket No. 2007-795
La. R.S. 18:1505.4B provides:
Any candidate....who knowingly and willfully fails to disclose, or accurately disclose, any information required by this Chapter to be disclosed in the reports requested herein, may be assessed a civil penalty for each day until such information is disclosed by amendment. “Knowingly and willfully”, for purposes of this Subsection means conduct which could have been avoided through the exercise of due diligence. Such penalties shall be as provided in Subsection A above.
La.R.S. 18:1505.4A provides:
(2)(a) The amount of such penalty may be:
(ii) Sixty dollars per day, not to exceed two thousand dollars, for any candidate for district office.
Based on the facts as outlined above, it is the opinion of the Board that J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. violated Section 1505.1.C of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act. It is further the opinion of the Board that a $2,000 penalty, payable to Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, should be imposed upon J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. for the 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 J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. violated Section 1505.1.C of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that a civil penalty of $2,000,. payable to the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, be imposed upon J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. for the violation of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.
By Order of the Board this 28th day of January 2009.
s/Frank P. Simoneaux s/Scott E. Frazier
Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman Scott E. Frazier, Vice-Chairman
s/Robert P. Bareikis Absent and did not participate.
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/Cedric 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
Absent and did not participate.
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. 18:1505.1C 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/J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. 8/26/08
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. Date