POSTED: Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 8:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 8:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — At Thursday’s meeting of the Cash Management Review Board, leaders of the Office of Debt Recovery (ODR) agreed to move forward with State Treasurer John Kennedy's suggestion to immediately begin the process of collecting over $1.6 million in past due ethics fines from public officials, lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PACs).
"When Rep. Chris Broadwater first introduced the legislation to create the Office of Debt Recovery with my full support, I knew that it had the potential to be the most important cash management tool the state has ever had," said Treasurer Kennedy.
"As today's testimony reflects, Louisiana is further ahead on our new debt collection process than I imagined. I particularly applaud Secretary Tim Barfield and the Attorney General's Office for agreeing to move forward with the collection of these long overdue ethics fines."
According to today's testimony, the State Board of Ethics will soon be able to provide ODR the name of political candidates, lobbyists or PACs who have past due fines and, with the use of a new computer program, take immediate actions such as seizing bank accounts and revoking hunting and driver's licenses.
"Politicians shouldn't hold themselves to a different standard than Louisiana taxpayers," said Treasurer Kennedy.
Treasurer Kennedy also proposed that all or a substantial portion of money collected from these overdue fines be dedicated back to the state Board of Ethics, which has been underfunded over the last decade, for enforcement of existing laws. "We can ensure that our ethics and campaign finance watchdogs can beef up their efforts without having to raise taxes."