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Politicians uncovered breaking rules, not paying fines

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BATON ROUGE - There's nearly a $1 million in fines owed to the state and our own public officials and political groups are running up the bill.

The Louisiana Ethics Commission fines politicians who fail to file financial reports properly.

Public officials who are late or ignore deadlines can be slapped with a fine, sometimes for several thousand dollars.

A quick search on the ethics commission's website shows the penalized offenders most of whom filed late.

"The purpose of disclosure is for the public the voters to know who is influencing you, who is underwriting your campaign." Says political watchdog C. B. Forgotston.

 "There's no other way around it. You're a dead beat if you owe money. It doesn't make a difference if it's taxes or ethics fines or whatever."

"The decision was just rendered that I had to pay it so I'm working with them to pay it," Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Denise Marcelle said.

The commission sent her a bill in August to pay up. She's still yet to have paid her $3,640 dollars in fines that date back to 2008.

"That's just not my priority right now," Livingston Parish Councilman Chance Parent said when asked about his $640 debt.

"Definitely a learning curve when we took office. once I know how the process works it shouldn't happen again," he said.

Parent said he plans to pay the fine before his November 2015 election.

The list of public officials and political groups keeps going and adding up.

Ethics commission record show East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor/President Kip Holden owes $2,500 from 2008.

Saint Gabriel police Chief Kevin Ambeau owes $2,000. Former Capitol Area Transit System Board Chair Isaiah Marshall owes $8,000.

The Livingston Parish Republican Executive Committee owes $2,900.

All of these fines have not been paid.

"That's just wrong," Forgotston said. "They're jerking the public around. The only reason they're doing it is because they're politicians.

The ethics commission says it's cracking down on officials to pay their fines.

Tuesday at 10 p.m., News 2's Investigative Unit digs deeper into Mayor Holden's fines and finds out why some complain the commission is a powerless agency without any teeth.

Click HERE for a list of fines for candidates.



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