April 21, 1997
Mr. Kenneth E. Pickering
Pickering, Cotogno & Dunn
301 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
RE: Ethics Board Docket No. 97-258
Dear Mr. Pickering:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its April 17-18, 1997 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion regarding the reporting requirements on costs incurred by the Louisiana Finance Association ("LFA") in connection with inviting a number of legislators to participate in activities associated with the LFA's annual meeting in Sandestin, Florida.
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that costs incurred for meals would be reportable expenditures under the Lobbyist Disclosure Act. If the cost of each meal is between $55.00 and $60.00 as you assert, the Lobbyist Disclosure Act may also require a heightened reporting standard in that an expenditure of over $50.00 per occasion on a legislator must be reported on Schedule A of the Lobbying Expenditure Report.
However, if the LFA is making the expenditures directly rather than through a lobbyist, the lobbyist would not have to include the expenditures on his or her report. The Board concluded that expenditures made directly by a principal would not be reportable.
The Board also requested that I instruct you that if the LFA provides transportation and/or lodging to a legislator in addition to the meals pursuant to R.S. 42:1123(16), the legislator would have to file an affidavit with the Board of Ethics within sixty days of the event. The affidavit must disclose the name of the sponsoring group or organization and the amount expended on his behalf by the sponsoring organization on food and refreshments, lodging, and transportation.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Patricia H. Douglas
For the Board