The Attorney General's office has reviewed Ouachita Parish Royce Toney's use of taxpayer funds to announce his endorsement of Supreme Court candidate Marcus Clark and their conclusion is shocking:
The complaint...has been officially rejected and dismissed by the office of Attorney General.... In short, the alleged violation of the election code provision required a specific intent to 'urge' voters to vote for a candidate which intent clearly was not present from all available evidence.
Pat Bergeron over at LANewsLink summed this up best:
The "Specific Intent" of ANY endorsement is to 'urge' voters to vote for a candidate. Why else would Royce use a taxpayer funded website and a taxpayer funded newsletter to distribute the endorsement?
In a bizarre twist of reasoning, the AGs office tried to connect Toney's actions with endorsements by other elected officials, concluding that because a) endorsements are newsworthy events and b) it's often "helpful for the general public to look to public officials who may be better informed as to particular candidates' true abilities to perform the duties of the offices they seek" what Toney did was okay (yes, they really said that).
But it is one thing for an elected official to endorse someone for office. It is quite another for that elected official to use taxpayer funds to get the word out about that endorsement. And if the simpletons who staff the Attorney General's office can't recognize the difference then this state can be the ethics standard for the universe and it won't do us a damn bit of good.