AP NEWS

Louisiana board allows campaign fund spending on child care

February 15, 2019

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s ethics board Friday reversed a three-month-old decision that prohibited candidates from using their campaign funds to pay for child care.

The board voted 6-4 to let candidates use the money for babysitting expenses during campaign events, such as fundraisers and meet-and-greets, according to local media. Gov. John Bel Edwards and several Republican and Democratic lawmakers supported the reversal, saying child care is a reasonable expense associated with running for office.

A board opinion issued nearly two decades ago allowed child care expenses to be paid with campaign funds. But in November, the ethics board voted 5-2 that Morgan Lamandre, a Baton Rouge attorney running for a state House seat, could not use campaign dollars for care of her children when she attends campaign events.

That ruling sparked outcry and criticism it was sexist. Lamandre asked for Friday’s reconsideration, which was granted and overturned the November decision.

Political candidates in Louisiana routinely tap into their campaign accounts to pay for constituent gifts, athletic tickets, Mardi Gras trinkets and monthly cellphone bills, among other perks, without facing penalty.

Comments board members made in November about Lamandre’s child-rearing responsibilities had rubbed some elected officials the wrong way. Critics noted the ethics board had ruled in 2000 in favor of a man who had asked to use his campaign funds for child care.