People like John Alario, Scott Angelle, Chris Broadwater, Jay Dardenne, and Bobby Jindal may want to get their checkbooks out and start writing refund checks from their election campaign funds.
LouisianaVoice has learned from sources within State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge that “subpoenas have been served” and the FBI is actively investigating the method in which the Louisiana State Troopers Association funneled money to political candidates, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, through the organization’s executive director David Young.
At the same time, LouisianaVoice also learned that the State Office of Inspector General is conducting its own investigation into the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry over the way in which it fines dentists for such offenses as too large lettering in its advertisements to bankrupting a surgeon who treated diseases of the head and neck but who had the misfortune of also having a dental license but no anesthesia permit from the dental board—even though he has “never filled a tooth, made a denture, made a crown, cleaned teeth, restored a tooth, or anything that one would consider a dental practice.” https://louisianavoice.com/2015/04/16/13976/
Both investigations come after LouisianaVoice published numerous stories about both LSTA’s campaign contributions and the dental board’s harsh investigatory and punishment methods.
Edwards, who received six separate contributions totaling $10,000 from the LSTA, refunded his contributions when he deemed the method in which the money found its way into his campaign was questionable.
The method used to transfer LSTA money into the various political campaigns saw Young make the actual contributions with the LSTA, with its board’s approval, reimbursing Young for “expenses.”
The Code of Governmental Ethics, Section VIII of R.S. 18:1505.2 (B) also lists the making of contributions or loans “through or in the name of another” as a prohibited practice.
Young even admitted the maneuver was an attempt by LSTA to attempt to circumvent civil service and commission rules when he told the commission he made the contributions as a non-state employee so “there could never be a question later that a state employee made a contribution.”https://louisianavoice.com/2016/01/15/louisianavoice-exclusive-at-long-last-it-can-be-disclosed-that-the-reason-for-all-the-problems-at-state-police-is-us/
So why would the FBI concern itself over violation of state laws, something that would appear to fall under the purview of the local district attorney?
Simply this: The LSTA is organized under section 501(c) (5) of the Internal Revenue Code and the Louisiana Troopers Charities run by LSTA is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization. https://www.latroopers.org/about
All 501(c) (3) organizations are strictly prohibited from any type of political activity, including endorsing candidates or contributing to political campaigns. LSTA, in addition to contributing to 28 different political candidates and two political organizations, also officially endorsed John Bel Edwards for governor in his runoff election against U.S. Sen. David Vitter.
And while 501(c) (5) organizations may participate in political campaigns, there are strict limitations as to what type of activities are approved. For example, any expenditures it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f). https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicl03.pdf
The feds probably have a lot of questions about why the contributions were made in the manner they were. Like why send Young to make the contributions and then reimburse him? Even LSTA legal counsel Floyd Falcon said he did not know why the checks to various political candidates were made in Young’s name. And they probably want to see if any of the charity’s funds were co-mingled with the money that went to political candidates.
Lloyd Grafton of Ruston, vice chairman of the State Police Commission, said the way the contributions were made “almost makes me think there was something suspect here because of the check writing. Why wouldn’t the association have made the contribution? It looks like someone was trying to circumvent something,” he said
“LSTA wasn’t set up for this kind of activity,” one retired trooper said. “Its main purpose is to provide support for trooper who have suffered misfortune, such as when a child has a major illness or when a trooper’s home burns down. We’re not supposed to get all involved in politics.”
Another source said it was not Young’s idea for the LSTA endorsement of Edwards or to make the political contributions and that in fact, he advised against the endorsement. “He (Young) has tried his best to keep Edmonson out of the LSTA’s operations. He and Frank (former President Frank Besson) butted heads constantly over that issue (the endorsement). But when it came down to it, Frank was President and David did as instructed.”
Promoted to the rank of captain several months ago, Besson was named commander of Troop C in Gray in Terrebonne Parish earlier this month. Troop C covers all of the parishes of Assumption, Terrebonne and Lafourche and the west banks of St. James and St. John the Baptist.
LouisianaVoice has also learned that the “punishment” meted out to former Troop D Commander Capt. Chris Guillory apparently was more for appearance sake than for any actual punishment.
We originally reported that he had been relieved of his command after lying that he had not refused a complaint from a Lake Charles citizen. Internal Affairs initially found Guillory had not violated any state police regulations and ruled the complaint by Dwight Gerst but LouisianaVoice published a recording of Guillory telling Gerst he would not accept Gerst’s complaint. https://louisianavoice.com/2015/08/17/state-police-headquarters-sat-on-complaint-against-troop-d-trooper-for-harassment-captain-for-turning-a-blind-eye-to-it/
But shortly after being relieved of command and transferred to Baton Rouge, Guillory was quietly given statewide control of the State Police Transportation and Environmental Safety Section (TESS) which, in the final analysis, appears to be more of a lateral transfer than a demotion.
That, of course, raises the obvious question that must be asked of State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson: What does it take for an officer already found guilty of prescription drug addiction, who allowed a suspended officer to keep working during his suspension and who lies to his superiors about a citizen’s complaint to be terminated?
And what does it take to rein in rogue regulatory boards like the Board of Dentistry? The board has been accused of operating like a crime syndicate, responsible for harassment, extortion, money laundering, and fraud of its agents. https://louisianavoice.com/2015/11/16/dentistry-board-facing-difficult-future-because-of-policies-contracts-with-attorney-private-investigator-are-cancelled/
LouisianaVoice said last November that state and federal criminal charges are expected and at least one legal expert said he expected federal racketeering laws to be used to prosecute former dentistry board agents.
While it is not a federal investigation, at least three separate sources told LouisianaVoice on Monday that the Louisiana Office of Inspector General is actively investigating the board.
Inspector General Stephen Street would not confirm or deny those reports when contacted.
LouisianaVoice will continue to follow developments concerning the LSTA, the dentistry board and the emerging issues surrounding the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.