According to a report in the Sunday Advocate Bobby Jindal’s assistant director of constituent services, David Pearce, has been hired by the La. Department of Children and Family as a “legislative liaison.”
The newspaper report goes on to say “According to documents submitted to Civil Service, the position serves as a lobbyist and advocate on behalf of the agency.” (Emphasis mine.)
Lobbyist & advocate defined
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines what lobbyists do as: to try to influence government officials to make decisions for or against something. (Emphasis mine.)
“Advocate” is defined as a “person who argues for or supports a cause or policy.” (Emphasis mine.)
Assuming the news report is correct that Pearce’s job description includes lobbying, it appears that he is in violation of two state laws.
La. R.S. 24:56(F) provides: No state employee in his official capacity or on behalf of his employer shall lobby for or against any matter intended to have the effect of law pending before the legislature or any committee thereof. Nothing herein shall prohibit the dissemination of factual information relative to any such matter or the use of public meeting rooms or meeting facilities available to all citizens to lobby for or against any such matter. (Emphasis mine.)
La. R.S. 43:31(D) provides: No branch, department, agency, official, employee, or other entity of state government shall expend funds of, administered by, or under the control of any branch, department, agency, employee, official, or other entity of state government to print material or otherwise to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition on an election ballot nor shall such funds be used to lobby for or against any proposition or matter having the effect of law being considered by the legislature or any local governing authority. This provision shall not prevent the normal dissemination of factual information relative to a proposition on any election ballot or a proposition or matter having the effect of law being considered by the legislature or any local governing authority. (Emphasis mine.)
In other words, no state employee shall lobby nor shall any public funds be used to lobby.
Above the law
In the past, we know that Jindal appointees often believe that they are above the law. Without any repercussions, they have failed to follow laws such as having valid La. driver’s licenses, having La. license plates on their personal vehicles and payment of the Use Tax on vehicles brought into Louisiana from other states.
A lege should file and pass legislation during the 2014 Regular Session to repeal the above two provisions of the law.
Additionally, instead of passing Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb’s Senate Bill 218 to increase the amount that politicians can legally receive from PACs (which she violated) repeal the limits on PAC contributions entirely. The “Heh, Heh, Heh, Board of Ethics” has admitted that it doesn’t enforce the existing law.
Finally, rather than continuing to discriminate against ordinary citizens in Louisiana, simply repeal all laws that public officials are not required to obey. It just might be the most productive and fair thing the leges do during the 2014 Session.
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