Republicans question reason behind financial records request
BATON ROUGE - Questions surround the state Capitol after the Legislative Auditor told the Republican Party of Louisiana to hand over financial documents.
"State law says they are suppose to submit it," Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said. Recently, a legislator brought the law to his attention.
State statute 18-447 requires political parties to file an annual report with the office. It was created in the 1980's. But republicans think the timing of why it's being enforced now is fishy.
"We were fearful of what's behind this," Republican Party of Louisiana Executive Director Jason Dore' said.
The party believes whoever brought this to Purpera's attention had ulterior motives. The party's financial statements are currently online and filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The LAGOP thinks it's being targeted for a move the party says lowered the state's budget during this year's session.
"Politics is a contact sport," Dore' said. "But if you're using a government body to respond to speech, I think that's where you cross the line."
But Purpera's not taking sides because he sent the request to both republicans and democrats, he said.
These political groups are private and not public, Purpera's not even sure if the law will hold up.
"I hadn't studied that so I don't know the answer to that," he said. "But they don't come under my audit authority. The only involvement my office has is with this particular law that says they have to submit a financial statement."
If the law is legit, the party will submit a statement, Dore' said. But it wants to know who is behind the request.
"It's why now? Why are they enforcing it and what are the motivation of whoever asked the legislative auditor to start enforcing a law that hasn't been enforced in over 30 years?" Dore' said.
Purpera was not certain if he could disclose who made the request to his office. He was seeking confirmation from his lawyer he could make the legislator's name public.