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Monday, February 05, 2007

In need of change?

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover’s transition team leaders will tell you the use of volunteers to raise money for an inaugural gala is unusual practice for Louisiana.

State law appears to back that up.

Normally, candidates are required to report to the state ethics administration who gave them money during the campaign.

But there are no laws for once a candidate wins office and needs money for the transition, except if you’re governor. Then the Code of Ethics requires that the governor-elect report its donors to the ethics administration. There’s no limit on how much contributors can give.

“It is a potential area for abuse that should be subject to the same limit and reporting requirements that any political campaign is,” Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said of the lack of laws on transition teams.

Dardenne, who as a state senator authored several ethics bills aimed at clarifying the state’s campaign finance laws, said he isn’t surprised there are loopholes in the law since the use of transition teams for fundraising is an uncommon practice.

“There probably should be legislation to correct that. This is a relatively new phenomena,” he said.

But don’t hold your breath for change any time soon. The legislative session that convenes April 30 is a fiscal-only session, meaning legislators can only file five bills that are non-fiscal in nature.

Not to mention it’s an election year, and who in their right mind would limit the amount of money they can raise?


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