2010-316
Created By: Latisha Thomas on 04/21/2011 at 09:23 AM
Category: Ethics Rulings
Caption:

LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS

RE: In the matter of Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr. BD NO: 2010-316

The Louisiana Board of Ethics (the “Board”) pursuant to the authority contained in La. R.S. 42:1141, conducted a private investigation concerning information that Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr., may have violated Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Code of Governmental Ethics [LSA-R.S. 42:1101 et seq.] (the “Code”) by virtue of his law firm entering into a contract with the Louisiana Tax Commission, as well as the Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy, to provide the entities with legal services, within 1 year of terminating his service as the Executive Counsel to the Governor of the State of Louisiana.
On the basis of information obtained during the investigation, and with the concurrence of Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr., the Board now makes the following essential:

I.
FACTS
1.
Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr., served as the Executive Counsel to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and terminated his service as Executive Counsel in July 2009.
2.
Mr. Faircloth is a the owner and operator of the Faircloth Law Group, LLC.
3.
On January 12, 2010, Mr. Faircloth, on behalf of the Faircloth Law Group, LLC., entered into a contract with the Louisiana Tax Commission to provide it with legal services. At the time the Tax Commission was within the Department of Revenue, not the Office of the Governor. Mr. Faircloth’s services were solicited by the Tax Commission.
4.
The terms of the contract indicated that Mr. Faircloth was to be paid an hourly rate for legal services provided, not to exceed $20,000. The contract expressly required approval by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Risk Management, proving that “in no event shall this contract be valid until it has been approved in writing by the Attorney General and concurred by the Office of Risk Management.”
5.
The contract was in fact approved in writing by the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Risk Management.
6.
Mr. Faircloth received $7,000 for work performed for the Tax Commission in accordance with the contract.
7.
On March 1, 2010, the president of the Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy contacted Mr. Faircloth and solicited his representation of the Board. Mr. Faircloth was asked to attend a meeting at the Office of the Attorney General the following day. The Board of Message Therapy is in the Department of Health and Hospitals, not the Office of the Governor.
8.
During the following two weeks, Mr. Faircloth attended several meetings and performed legal services for the office of the Board of Message Therapy, along with an attorney from the Office of the Attorney General.
9.
On March 18, 2010, Mr. Faircloth corresponded with the Attorney General’s Office regarding how he believed his representation of the Board of Message Therapy was not prohibited by Section 1121 of the Ethics Code, titled “Assistance to certain persons after termination of public service”. Mr. Faircloth’s correspondence did not address Section 1113.
10.
On March 26, 2010, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office responded to Mr. Faircloth with a suggestion that Mr. Faircloth seek an advisory opinion from the Board concerning the proposed contract to represent the Board of Message of Therapy.
11.
On April 1, 2010, Mr. Faircloth voluntarily declined to represent the Board of Message Therapy and canceled his contract with the Tax Commission.
12.
In addition, Mr. Faircloth returned to the Tax Commission the $7,000 paid in fees and waived payment for the services he had provided to the Board of Message Therapy.
13.
Mr. Faircloth’s cancellation of the Tax Commission contact and withdrawal of the request for the pending Board of Message Therapy contract, as well as the return and waiver of fees, occurred before he was notified of a formal investigation by the Board.
II.

APPLICABLE LAW

At issue in this matter is Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics which prohibits the list of persons identified in Section 1113D(1)(a)(ii), in including the Executive Counsel to the Governor, as well as the spouse an any legal entity of such person, from entering into a contract with State Government for a period of 1 year following such person’s termination of service.
III.

OPINION

It is the opinion of the Board that Jimmy R. Faircloth violated Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Code of Governmental Ethics by virtue of his entering into a contract, through his law firm, the Faircloth Law Group, LLC, with the Louisiana Tax Commission to provide the Commission with legal services, within 1 year of the termination of his service as the Executive Counsel to the Governor of Louisiana. The exception contained in Section 1113D(1)(b)(ii) of the Code, which permits contracts for professional services entered into with the attorney general’s office, does not apply to the aforementioned contract, nor does the contract fall under the purview of Section 1121 of the Code.
It is the further opinion of the Board that Jimmy R. Faircloth did not violate Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Code of Governmental Ethics regarding the work he voluntarily performed for the Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy, as there was never a contract confected between the parties.
The Board is authorized to impose penalties up to $10,000 upon finding that a violation of the Code has occurred. In this particular situation it is the conclusion of the Board that a $1,000 civil penalty should be imposed on Mr. Faircloth for the violation of Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Code. However, based upon the totality of circumstances, including Mr. Faircloth’s returning to the Tax Commission of earned legal fees in the amount of $7,000, prior to the investigation of the Board, the Board is of the opinion that the entire amount of the fine is to be suspended, based upon Mr. Faircloth’s future compliance with the Ethics Code.
IV.
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 Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr., violated Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Code of Governmental Ethics by virtue of his entering into a contract, through his law firm, the Faircloth Law Group, LLC, with the Louisiana Tax Commission to provide the Commission with legal services, within 1 year of the termination of his service as the Executive Counsel to the Governor of Louisiana.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Board finds as a matter of fact and as a conclusion of law that Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr., did not violate Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Code of Governmental Ethics by virtue of the volunteer services provided to the Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy, as a contract was never confected between the parties.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that a $1,000 civil penalty be imposed against Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr., of which the entire amount is to be suspended based upon Mr.Faircloth’s future compliance with the Ethics Code.
By Order of the Board this 15th day of April 2011.

s/Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman s/James G. Boyer
Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman James G. Boyer, Vice Chairman



s/Dr. Robert P. Bareikis Absent and did not participate
Dr. Robert P. Bareikis Rev. Gail E. Bowman



s/Dr. Louisi Leggio s/Gary G. Hymel
Dr. Louis Leggio Gary G. Hymel


s/Jean M. Ingrassia Recused
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.

CONSENT

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 the conduct, as described above, violates Section 1113D(3)(a) of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics; (d) acknowledges 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/Mr. Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr.
Mr. Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr.



3/18/11
Date
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