2010-322
Created By: Tracy Kristen Meyer on 04/20/2010 at 09:42 AM
Category: Ethics Advisory Opinions, Miscellaneous
Caption: The Board of Directors for the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (“PIAL”) are not required to file annual personal financial disclosure statements pursuant to Section 1124.2.1 of the Code of Governmental Ethics.

April 20, 2010

Mr. A.J. Hebert, III
Middleberg Riddle & Gianna
Suite 1101
Laurel Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801

Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2010-322

Dear Mr. Hebert:

The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its April 16, 2010 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to whether the members of the Board of Directors for the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (“PIAL”) are required to file annual personal financial disclosure statements pursuant to Section 1124.2.1 of the Code of Governmental Ethics. You stated that on March 16, 2010, the Louisiana Supreme Court rendered an opinion that PIAL is not a public entity, but a private entity.

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued an opinion analyzing the four factors set forth in State v. Smith, 357 So.2d 505, 507 (La. 1978), which are to be considered when determining whether an entity is a state agency or public agency or in finding an individual to be a state or public officer. The four factors are as follows: (1) the entity was created by the legislature; (2) the powers were specifically defined by the legislature; (3) the property of the entity belonged to the public; and (4) the entity's functions were exclusively of a public character and performed solely for the public benefit. In the opinion recently issued by the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding PIAL, the Court stated that all four factors must be present for an entity to be considered public. In this case, the Louisiana Supreme Court found that PIAL was not created by the legislature and all factors were not met, and therefore, PIAL was not a public entity.

The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics does not require the members of the Board of Directors for the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana to file annual personal financial disclosure statements pursuant to Section 1124.2.1 of the Code. Section 1124.2.1 of the Code requires each member and any designee of a member of a board or commission that has the authority to expend, disburse or invest ten thousand dollars or more of funds in a fiscal year.

Mr. A.J. Hebert, III
April 20, 2010
Ethics Board Docket No. 2010-322
Page 2

Section 1124.2.1D(1)(a) of the Code defines “board or commission” as (i) each board, commission, and like entity created by law or executive order that is made a part of the executive branch of state government by the provisions of Title 36 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, or that is placed in an executive branch department or in the office of the governor or lieutenant governor by law or executive order, or that exercises any authority or performs any function of the executive branch of state government; or (ii) each board, commission, and like entity created by the constitution, by law, by a political subdivision, except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, or jointly by two or more political subdivisions as a governing authority of a political subdivision of the state or of a local government.

PIAL was not created by law or executive order that is made a part of the executive branch of state government, nor placed in an executive branch department or in the office of the governor or lieutenant governor by law or executive order, nor performs any function of the executive branch of state government. Further, PIAL was not created by the constitution, by law, or by a political subdivision, nor was it created jointly by two or more political subdivisions as a governing authority of a political subdivision of the state or of a local government. Therefore, PIAL is not subject to the financial disclosure laws under Section 1124.2.1 of the Code.

This advisory opinion is based solely on the facts as set forth herein. Changes to the facts as presented may result in a different application of the provisions of the Code of Ethics. The Board issues no opinion as to past conduct or as to laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any questions, please contact me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 219-5600.

Sincerely,

LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS

______________________________
Tracy K. Meyer
For the Board

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