October 30, 2009
Mr. Roger W. Harris
State of Louisiana Public Defender Board
500 Laurel Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
RE: Ethics Board Docket No. 2009-951
Dear Mr. Harris:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its October 28, 2009 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion concerning whether Ed Lopez, the District Defender for the 27th Judicial District may continue to receive 2/3 of office expenses for the use of a building he owns, and which the 27th Judicial District Defender’s Office operates out of, paid for by the 27th Judicial District Defender’s Office. You indicated that the expenses help defray costs such as janitorial services, supplies, utilities and copier rental.
The Board concluded and instructed me to inform you that the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics prohibits Mr. Ed Lopez from continuing to receive 2/3 of his offices expenses reimburses by the 27th Judicial District Defender’s Office. Section 1113A prohibits a public servant from bidding on or entering into a contract, subcontract or transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the public servant's agency. Because Mr. Lopez is the District Defender, he may not enter into a contract with the District Defender’s Office, to defray his office expenses.
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 laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any questions, please contact me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 219-5600.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
For the Board