Mayor Kip Holden claims Ethics Commission out to get him
BATON ROUGE- The Mayor-President of Baton Rouge claimed victory today against the Ethics Commission after he opened up a check from the IRS.
The Ethics Commission claims Mayor Kip Holden owes the state $2,500 in fines for a problem with a financial disclosure report back in 2008. Holden believes he doesn't owe the state a dime.
The Investigative Unit first reported on multiple public officials who owe the state money two years ago. Some people paid, but Holden still hasn't.
This month the Ethics Commission reported the Mayor paid a portion of his fine, but the mayor says he hasn't paid them a cent.
"They would love to find something on Kip Holden," Holden said. "Maybe I'm the trophy for them."
Holden hopes to beat any fine the commission claims he owes. After opening up an $800 check today, he appeared to be even more confident.
"They tried to file a complaint with the IRS," Holden said. "The IRS then received the money. As of today, I open up the check and there's a check from the IRS, so they have not cashed any check or if they did, they were very premature."
The money is part of a $2,500 fine because his personal disclosure form didn't indicate his salary as Baton Rouge mayor. In a letter to the Commission in 2008 Holden claimed it would be a financial hardship to pay a fine and said his son was responsible for a paperwork mistake. At the time the mayor said it was a lesson learned for his son, but the board denied the waiver and other appeals were also denied.
Holden was asked if he was concerned that the outstanding fine could impact his future political aspirations.
"They can't," Holden said. "They are null and void. Go down that road if you'd like to. I think you will find yourself when you are messing with the federal government who virtually agreed with me, you'll find yourself in dangerous unchartered waters."
Although it's unclear where that $800 payment to the Ethics Commission came from and was ultimately refunded, Holden said he'll fight this to the bitter end. He thinks the Ethics Board is targeting him unfairly.
"The Ethics Commission is that creature that does what it wants to do to who they want to do it to at whatever time," Holden said.
The Ethics Commission told WBRZ if Holden doesn't pay, it will do what it has done in the past with other candidates: file court paperwork to have him disqualified if he plans to run for another office.
The Investigative Unit reached out to the Attorney General's Office about the case. They said because AG Buddy Caldwell and Holden are both seeking statewide office they referred the matter back to the Louisiana Board of Ethics to avoid any appearance of conflict.