Mr. Transparent

Either PBJ is lying out his head or perhaps he really is THAT dumb

BATON ROUGE — A Baton Rouge publisher claimed responsibility Monday for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s failure to make timely disclosure of $118,000 in campaign contributions from the state Republican Party.

Rolfe McCollister Jr., who served as treasurer of Jindal’s gubernatorial campaign, said he plans to personally pay a $2,500 penalty to settle the matter, which is the maximum amount that the state Board of Ethics can assess for the infraction.

“As campaign treasurer, it was my duty to make sure campaign disclosure reports were filed in a timely and complete manner and I deeply regret this mistake and the negative attention it has caused,” McCollister said in a prepared statement.

The Ethics Board on Jan. 22 charged Jindal and his campaign committee with violating Louisiana campaign finance laws in connection with $118,000 in direct-mail expenses incurred on Jindal’s behalf by the state GOP.

Although the state party listed the expense on its own disclosure report, it should also have appeared as an “in-kind” contribution on Jindal’s July 23 report since it benefited his campaign.

Ethics Administrator Richard Sherburne said neither McCollister nor the Jindal campaign can pay the fine until the Board of Ethics rules on the matter or agrees to a consent opinion. A hearing is scheduled for July 10, but the board can take up the matter before that if Jindal agrees to a settlement.

“He can write all the checks he wants,” Sherburne said. “Until the board agrees to a consent opinion, they’re not going to get cashed.”

McCollister, who publishes the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report and recently launched a nonprofit group that will raise money in support of Jindal’s political goals, is the third person in Jindal’s inner circle to take blame for the mishap.

William Potter, an accountant for the Jindal campaign, initially told The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge that the fault lay with Timmy Teepell, who was Jindal’s campaign manager and now serves as his chief of staff. Potter said Teepell failed to notify those who were preparing the campaign disclosure report about the party’s expenditures.

Later, Potter said it was his responsibility to make sure the disclosure report was filed correctly.

The Ethics Board on Jan. 22 charged Jindal and his campaign committee with violating Louisiana campaign finance laws in connection with $118,000 in direct-mail expenses incurred on Jindal’s behalf by the state GOP.” Jindal had previously planned to pay the fine with campaign contributions, a decision that contradicted a recent policy recommendation from an advisory group that politicians should be barred from using campaign dollars to pay ethics penalties.

Jindal did not initially include that recommendation among the 60 items that he wants the Legislature to consider during a three-week special session on ethics that starts Sunday. Late Monday, he issued an amended session agenda that lets lawmakers consider bills “identifying the permissible sources for the payment of fines.”

Even though the ethics complaint names Jindal and not McCollister, Sherburne said McCollister might have standing to pay the fine since he served as treasurer.

“The candidate and his treasurer are the ones who are responsible for filing the report,” Sherburne said. “If the report isn’t accurate, the candidate and his treasurer are the ones responsible for that failure.”

PLANNED TO PAY HIS FINE OUT OF HIS CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS???????

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~ by maringouin on Tuesday, February 5, 2008.

 
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