Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ethics Requests Rolling In

Posted By on Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 2:26 PM

By: Jeremy Alford

The threat of stricter financial reporting requirements has stripped the state Board of Ethics of 10 of its 11 members, leaving it all but paralyzed until the vacancies can be filled.

The presidents of Louisiana’s private colleges have 60 days to come up with board nominees. From there, the Legislature and governor have another 60 days to ratify the choices. That means the board could be non-operational until October, unless the process is accelerated. Adding to the uncertainty is the exit of Ethics Administrator Richard Sherburne Jr., whose final day at work was last week. Meanwhile, the ethics workload didn’t slow down. “We’ve received another dozen or two dozen requests” for advisory opinions and official action from the board, Sherburne said last week. Aside from the new financial disclosure rules ushered in by Gov. Bobby Jindal, departing ethics board members complained that Jindal and lawmakers diluted their responsibilities by shifting adjudicative authority to the state’s administrative law judges. Others have accused Jindal of retaliation for a $2,500 ethics fine levied against his campaign earlier this year.

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