Candidates who owe outstanding fines for late filings of campaign finance disclosure reports can no longer use their campaign war chests to pay for violations, says ethics administrator Kathleen Allen. The new but little-publicized law concerning violations of the state Campaign Finance Disclosure Act passed into law early last year during the first special session of the Legislature. "A fine, fee, or penalty assessed for a violation ... shall be paid only by the person against whom the fine, fee, or penalty was assessed," according to Act 26, authored by state Sen. Robert M. Marionneaux Jr., D-Livonia. "All such fines, fees, or penalties may be paid only with the personal funds of such person or with contributions."
Attorney C.B. Forgotston, a critic of both the Jindal Administration and the ethics board, denounced the new ethics law as "mere window dressing." Forgotston added: "Until violators are required to pay with their personal funds, it offers little deterrence to violating the law. An incumbent politician can violate the law at will. They merely use money raised from others to pay the fines." Sen. Robert Adley, R-Baton Rouge, authored similar legislation, which passed in a separate ethics bill that became Act 27. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed both Senate bills into law on March 14, 2008. — Johnson