LSTA to LSPC: “Restricting our political activities is a bold and blatant violation of Louisiana’s Constitution;” files suit to have provisions of Circular 191 declared unconstitutional.

Louisiana State Trooper Association Attorney Floyd Falcon

Literally days after Governor John Bel Edwards was sworn into office, a group of retired troopers asked the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) to investigate campaign contributions made by the Louisiana State Trooper’s Association (LSTA) into Gov. Edwards’ 2015 campaign for Governor.  They asserted that a “straw donor,” David Young, LSTA’s Executive Director, made the contributions, which totaled $8,000, through his personal account but was then reimbursed by the LSTA for those contributions, which constitutes a violation of law.

 

One retired trooper, Leon “Bucky” Millet, has spearheaded efforts to prohibit the LSTA from making such contributions, and former LSPC Executive Director Cathy Derbonne has publicly stated that the LSPC strong-armed her resignation (which she granted effective January 13, 2017) as a result of her having reported the illegal campaign contributions.  The Louisiana State Board of Ethics investigated the matter and fined the LSTA $5,000 for the violations.  Former LSPC Member Lloyd Grafton, who resigned on February 9, 2017 in frustration of the treatment he asserts Derbonne received, bluntly characterized the campaign contributions, which Edwards refunded but several other political candidates, including former Gov. Bobby Jindal, did not, as “straight up money laundering.”

 

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the LSPC withdrew its previously-issued circular on political activity by classified Louisiana State Troopers (Circular 190) and replaced it with Circular 191.  That circular mirrors the same provisions and restrictions which Louisiana State Civil Service utilizes for other state civil service classified employees.

 

As evidenced in the following brief video highlight from that April 12, 2018 LSPC meeting, the LSPC’s action drew extremely sharp criticism from LSTA attorney Floyd Falcon, who also made a subtle reference of litigation over the LSPC’s action:


LSTA attorney Floyd Falcon, at the April 12, 2018 LSPC meeting, sharply criticizes the LSPC over promulgating Circular 191, followed by LSTA President James O’Quinn openly venting frustration to LSPC Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr. that the Circular would prohibit the LSTA from actively opposing candidates whose platforms do not align with LSTA’s interests.

 

Falcon is a man of his word entailing the litigation threat as, on August 15, 2018, the LSTA sued the LSPC over what it claims is a “bold and blatant violation” of Louisiana’s Constitution.  The case has been assigned to 19th JDC Judge Michael Caldwell.  We at Sound Off Louisiana commit to attend any and all hearings on this litigation and report the outcome to our subscribers.

 

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