It was interesting reading Mark Ballard's article regarding the ethical dilemma that LSU is facing. Let me shed some light on the ongoing attempt by the LSU System to ignore existing laws. The reason that the LSU Foundation, TAF, and LSUAA, as well as other LSU affiliates, operate as private entities came about in 1985, as a result of LSU Board of Supervisors member Ruth Miller challenging the LSUAA ability to raise funds as a public entity. As a result the LSUAA, TAF, and LSU Foundation were all called before the Ethics Commission and asked specific questions regarding the chancellor and each entity's budget, expenses, and control of such. As a result, all three entities decided to go private, so as to not run into any issues with the Ethics Commission.
In December of 1991, Louisiana Attorney General William Guste wrote Opinion 91-203 regarding the private status of TAF, stating that TAF is not subject to governmental or public control. Then, in the 1992 regular session, Senate Bill 102 was introduced, whereby Section 1 R.S. 17:3390 was enacted into law the means by which private nonprofit corporations (that support higher education) achieve private status. Dan Layzell's statement that "ethics codes were written before lawmakers contemplated that state's universities would be involved in private fundraising" is simply untrue.
In addition, let us not forget the LSU Affiliation agreement which in Section 9.4.4 allows the LSU System, with or without cause, to terminate the affiliation of any entity and the funds of such entity then go to the LSU Board or Supervisors. I have been trying to get this changed for the past few years, as our family has given a considerable amount of money to various affiliates in the LSU System, and at no time was it our intention for the money to go to the LSU Board of Supervisors.
Once again, LSU is trying to operate outside of already existing laws, and I am thankful that your newspaper is reporting such.
Michael H. Woods
The Woods Group