Two Orleans Parish candidates running in the Oct. 22 primary for the Louisiana State House of Representatives were almost a month late in filing their "tier 2" personal financial disclosure forms for the 2010 tax year, as required of all candidates for the state Legislature.
Democrat Carlos Williams, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Jeff Arnold for the District 102 seat in Algiers, and Republican John "Fenn" French, who is challenging incumbent Neil Abramson in District 98 Uptown, did not turn in the required disclosures on time. They were due by the middle of September.
State law requires that legislative candidates turn in tier 2 forms — which disclose information on each candidate's (and his or her spouse's) employment, income, and property and investment holdings — to the Louisiana Ethics Administration within 10 days of qualifying to run for public office. French and Williams qualified on Sept. 8, meaning their disclosures were due by Sept. 18. A third New Orleans area candidate — former Plaquemines Parish Councilman John "Jay" Friedman, the lone Democrat among four candidates running for an open seat in House District 105 — also failed to file on time. Friedman qualified on Sept. 6.
Friedman and Williams told Gambit they received notices of delinquency from the Ethics Administration and have sent the disclosures. Officials with the Ethics Administration couldn't immediately confirm this.
French, president of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers New Orleans and a former campaign manager for former U.S. House Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, has turned in one disclosure form this year — just not the one that corresponds to his current candidacy. In July 2008, Jindal appointed French to the state Pilotage Fee Commission. French has, in fact, turned in a less intrusive disclosure form — called tier 2.1 — required for state board appointees, every year for the past three years.
Tier 2.1, unlike the tier 2 forms required of candidates for legislative office, doesn't require disclosures on income range, investment holdings or property. It does require appointees to disclose their positions or titles in business and charitable groups, and whether they've received any income from the state. It also requires appointees to detail certain political contributions of $1,000 or more, but only those made to state officials who appointed them — and only within one year of the appointment. French's $5,000 and $1,000 contributions to Jindal in 2006 and 2009, respectively, miss those cutoff dates by several months each.
Former Cao staffer Murray Nelson, who identified himself as French's campaign manager, said on Oct. 11 that he would "have to look into" the missing disclosure form, which he said he would do by the morning of Oct. 12. When Nelson didn't respond to a follow-up phone call early Oct. 12, Gambit posted a blog entry on the delinquency that afternoon. Several hours later, just after 4:30 p.m., Nelson called to say that the situation had been rectified. French's disclosure was by then available for public review on the Ethics Administration's website. — Charles Maldonado