La. State Ethics Board reverses decision on using campaign funds for child care

La. State Ethics Board reverses decision on using campaign funds for child care
The Louisiana Ethics Board voted 6-4 to allow State Rep. candidate Morgan Lamandre to use campaign money for child care expenses. (Source: Rob Masson)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Women’s rights advocates claim victory after the Louisiana State Ethics Board reverses itself on child care expenses. They say today’s decision may clear the way for more women to seek public office.

Women’s rights advocates from across the region hailed a vote Friday by the state ethics board.

Baton Rouge representative candidate Morgan Lamandre has for months been seeking approval to use campaign funds for childcare expenses and the state ethics board has resisted.

″I’m excited. This is a victory for all working families," said State Rep. candidate Morgan Lamandre.

Friday, Lamandre asked for reconsideration with women’s rights advocates at her side.

″For me it was not gender, it’s strictly an issue related matter," said LoKeshia Roberts.

″There’s no reason that the current law can’t be interpreted to allow for a reasonable campaign expense, said parent Patricia Ray.

Lamandre said in the past the ethics board approved the use of campaign funds for child care costs for male candidates and she could not understand why they were refusing to allow her to do so now.

″A male candidate as recent as 2013 was allowed to do it, but now all of a sudden we’re raising issues about it, " said Lamandre.

In the end the board voted to withdraw an opinion from its own lawyer saying that the law did not allow campaign funds to be used for childcare needs.

″I was not on the board when the decision was made. I would’ve voted in your favor and I’m prepared to do that today," said board member Paul Colomb.

“I was surprised at the end. I didn’t think it would go that route, but I’m excited,” said Lamandre.

Lamandre and others hope the decision will clear the way for other women to run for offices, which they say are more male dominated in Louisiana then most other states.

It’s unclear whether the ruling will have any long-term impact. Some say it’s precedent setting, Others say Louisiana law needs to be changed to clear the way for other candidates to claim child care costs as campaign expenses.

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