A working group of private sector practitioners, lobbyists and think tank participants are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Feb. 4 in Baton Rouge to consider some long-awaited revisions to the Louisiana Campaign Finance and Disclosure law (LCFDA). With the goal of clarifying and revising provisions that continue to be “problem areas” for candidates and PACs, the group hopes to pass their recommendations along to the LA Ethics Board and state Legislature for inclusion into legislation during the 2014 session that begins March 10.
Originally enacted in the late 1980’s, the LCFDA was once considered one of the strongest disclosure laws in the country. Today, some of its provisions need amending to either clarify the intent of the law or to update or change the law to conform with current best practices, especially those areas that campaigns and PACs find difficult to comply with, or seek additional guidance due to unclear language or intent. Every month the LA Board of Ethics has no choice but to fine or penalize those entities or individuals that are not in compliance with the LCFDA, even for minor or technical infractions that could be avoided by clarifying the law.
Some of the problem areas include: excessive, voided or returned contributions; questionable or inappropriate expenditures; clarification of date ranges for periodic reporting; intention of contribution as it relates to special election reporting; enforcement of violations, and issues related to inaccurate, incomplete or omitted report data. Other reform ideas may include revamping the current LEADERS software filing system and its lack of e-mail notification properties and creating more online candidate and PAC data for public use.
I am proud to be a part of this effort and will update this Blog as our work progresses toward the 2014 Louisiana legislative session.