Ethics board hears appeals for fines
BATON ROUGE - A state ethics board denied several lawmakers' appeals to have ethics fines against them waived today.
The fines in dispute ranged from a few hundred dollars to $8,000, and mostly dealt with campaign finance reports which were filed late or improperly.
State Senator Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, asked the board to waive a $2,500 penalty against him. He says it was due to a technical problem with his bookkeeper.
"If you look at the financial statement, it is no different from the ones before it, no different from ones after it. There's no question of any moral turpitude, no question of any dishonesty. I simply filed a document late," Guillory told the panel.
They still denied his appeal. Guillory said he intends to pay it soon.
"I take full responsibility for the fact it wasn't filed, wasn't mailed or wasn't received... We think we mailed it, they didn't receive it," he said.
The board showed leniency to other lawmakers. Kent Smith, a former state representative candidate, had his fine reduced from $8,000 to just $500.
"I thought it had been resolved, honestly by me filing the required affidavits stating no money had been raised and I had withdrawn from the race," he said.
The board also declined to waive fines for Baton Rouge-area lawmakers C. Denise Marcelle, who sits on the Metro Council, and East Baton Rouge School Board member Tarvald Smith.