The FBI is investigating the campaign spending of Senate President John Alario, according to a report by FOX 8 News in New Orleans and NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune that attributes the information to unnamed sources.
At issue is more than $20,000 of campaign spending could have been misreported by Alario on his campaign finance reports, Fox 8 said in its report Alario claimed tens of thousands of dollars of spending at Audubon Golf Club and on LSU tickets. But a review of Audubon and LSU records showed that what Alario paid them didn’t match up with what he claimed he paid on his campaign reports, the report says.
In a brief interview in his Capitol office Wednesday morning, Alario told The Advocate that he was not aware of any federal probe, adding that he has not hired a criminal defense lawyer.
“I was as surprised to read it as my friends were,” he said of the story.
Alario acknowledged that he may have made some errors on his campaign finance reports, but stressed that if he did, they were not criminal in nature.
“I’m not concerned” about the probe, he said. “I believe, as most human beings, I may have made some mistakes but none of those were of a criminal intent.
“I might have put the expenditures in the wrong column or in the wrong year but those were all legitimate expenses that are allowed under the campaign finance authority. I believe I’ve complied with all those requirements.”
Alario said news of the probe would not distract him as the Legislature tries to solve a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.
“It’s always a bump in the road, but I’m really focused on this budget problem we have,” he said. “I’m not going to let it distract from my overall responsibility trying to help the state work through this problem.”
-Staff writer Tyler Bridges contributed to this report.