Created By: Elizabeth Sanders on 09/18/2007 at 02:06 PM
Category: Campaign Finance Advisory Opinions
September 14, 2007
Paul J. Hebert
Ottinger Hebert, L.L.C.
P. O. Drawer 52606
Lafayette, LA 70505-2606
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2007-556
Dear Mr. Hebert:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, acting in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, at its September 13, 2007 meeting, considered the request of your client, former Iberia Parish President Will Langlinais, to use his campaign funds to pay for legal fees incurred in connection with civil and criminal lawsuits that arose from findings in a Legislative Audit. According to a Stipulated Factual Basis executed by Mr. Langlinais, he entered a plea of guilty within the parameters of North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 1970 to the crime of “Malfeasance in Office.”
Section 1505.2(I) of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act provides that:
. . . contributions received by a candidate or a political committee may be expended for any lawful purpose, but such funds shall not be used, loaned, or pledged by any person for any personal use unrelated to a political campaign [or] the holding of a public office . . . LSA-R.S. 18:1505.2(I).
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Mr. Langlinais’ use of campaign funds to pay the legal fees and expenses in connection with the civil and criminal lawsuits that arose from the Legislative Audit, is not a use related to his campaign or the holding of public office. Accordingly, the Board determined that the use of campaign funds, as described, is prohibited by Section 1505.2(I), cited above.
If you have questions, please call me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 763-8777.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Kathleen M. Allen
For the Board