They move a few things around, straighten the bed spread and push everything else under the bed or into the closet.
The Public Affairs Research Council wants legislation that would curb politicians’ spending campaign funds on almost anything they deem important to their political well being or enjoyable to their life style.
Present law says that contributions “shall not be used, loaned, or pledged by any person for any personal use unrelated to a political campaign or the holding of public office.”
Legislators have 20 proposals from the Board of Ethics but none have made it into the form of a bill filed for the House or Senate. Surprise.
Here’s the situation:
A citizen or business or PAC contributes to a candidate’s election campaign. The candidate can then spend it how he/she sees fit.
Beyond political advertising, the money is used for donations to almost every cause under the sun -- churches, schools, benefits, bazaars, civic clubs, with the obvious political points gained.
Many see fit to use it for hunting club dues, country club dues, civic club dues, Mardi Gras krewes, golf expenses and the like, which might come as a surprise to some of those donating to the election funds.
Image the Widget PAC in Washington realizing its contribution helped pay for the deer lease or the back nine.
Politicians argue that all of that is related to holding public office. Hooey.
LSU athletic events are a favorite expense. About 50 current and former legislators, according to Capitol News Service, have spent more than $400,000 in campaign funds for LSU athletic events and parking since 2007. Other colleges and universities athletic events add to the list.
Some elected officials have used campaign funds to pay ethics fine payments, to pay baby sitters and to buy vehicles, including in one case a Jaguar.
As noted, the Legislature is not likely to act.
Therefore, it’s up to the Board of Ethics to draft new rules that make it clear what legitimate campaign finance expenses are and what is just plain living the good life.