LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With Louisiana facing a projected 1.6-billion dollar budget shortfall - state jobs, higher education and healthcare are all bracing for potential cuts. But what if we told you some current and former politicians owe a small chunk of change that could help take us out of the red.
It all boils down to outstanding ethics fines. More than 1.2 million dollars is owed to the Louisiana Ethics Administration. When it comes to these fines: there are three categories: campaign finance fines - violations for like late reports or improper expenditures. There's also personal disclosure fines, like failure to file and ethics fines related to breaking state law.
Nearly half of the money is owed is from the New Orleans area, but we found a handful of people here in Southwest Louisiana who have a tab.
The list is quiet simple to access. Just log on to the Louisiana Ethics Administration website. There you'll find an alphabetical list of candidates who owe various sums of money. On the list from Southwest Louisiana:
Bobby K. Pitre: According to records Pitre was on the ballot in April 2001 - and was six days late filing two reports: his total fine stands at $720.
Ray Touchet of Jennings: Owed a total of $800. He was 28 days late filing his April 4, 2009 Election Day Expenditure report for the primary election and 197 days late for a report due for the general election. Records show he has paid $200 and his request for a payment plan was approved by the board back in September. However, no other payments have been made, leaving his balance at $600.
Maurice Tynes: One report was filed late: costing $60. Another was 7 days late: adding another $400 dollars. While one apparently wasn't filed at all: $4,000 dollars. Grand total: $4,460.
Not filing can lead to larger fines - just ask Robert L. Simpson, Junior whose outstanding tab stands at more than $40,000. All of his go back to 1999. In five cases failure to report cost him $8,000 dollar each. Another report not filed: $2,000. Records she he was 8 days late for filing another which tacked on an additional $480. Simpson has managed to pay $190.69, which leaves him with a an outstanding balance of $42,289.31.