November 20, 2008
Ms. Monique Thierry
Chamber of Southwest Louisiana
P.O. Box 3110
Lake Charles, LA 70602-3110
RE: Ethics Board Docket No.: 2008-997
Dear Ms. Thierry:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its November 13, 2008 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion concerning how the Chamber of Southwest Louisiana must report any expenditures made on members of the Louisiana Legislature at the Chamber’s “2008 Legislative Gator Luncheon.” You indicated that several members of the Louisiana Legislature were honored and that they received food and drink at the luncheon.
The Board concluded and instructed me to inform you, that any expenditures made on members of the Louisiana Legislature at the 2008 Legislative Gator Luncheon must be reported on your 2008 Lobbyist Expenditure Report, due February 15, 2009. “Expenditure” is currently defined in the Legislative Lobbyist Disclosure Act as the gift or payment of money or anything of value when the amount of value exceeds $10 for the purchase of food, drink, or refreshment for a legislator and any gift or payment involving cultural, sporting events or public speeches as permitted by R.S. 42:1123(13) and R.S. 42:1123(16) when the value exceeds $10 for the purpose of lobbying when the lobbyist or principal accounts or would be expected to account for the expenditure as an ordinary and necessary expense directly related to the active conduct of the lobbyist’s, his employer’s, or the principal’s trade or business. As such, any and all expenditures made on members of the Louisiana Legislature at this luncheon must be disclosed on your Lobbyist Expenditure Report, due February 15, 2009.
Additionally, Section 1115.1 of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics prohibits a lobbyist from purchasing more than $50 worth of food and drink for a member of the Louisiana Legislature per event. Section 1115.1D indicates that in order to calculate the value of food and drink, the total amount spent on the food and drink must be divided by the total number of persons invited to the event.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (225)763-8777 or 1-800-842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
For the Board