Embattled St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta’s attorney wants to know whether his client can use campaign funds to pay legal fees.
A state grand jury indicted Peralta in May on charges related to his tapping of campaign funds for gambling. He was already facing stalking charges in St. Tammany Parish. He had a felony charge of sexual battery dismissed in 2014.
“I have found some legal opinions which suggest that it is not unethical for a public official who is facing criminal charges to pay for legal services with campaign funds, provided that he is running for re-election,” lawyer Martin E. Regan Jr. wrote to state ethics officials. “Mr. Peralta is running for re-election. However, I would like your guidance (…)”
Regan won’t get any advice from the Louisiana Board of Ethics, though.
State ethics administrator Kathleen Allen said ethics board policy is not to give advice related to past conduct.
Peralta used campaign funds in 2014 to pay legal bills, according to his campaign finance report on file with the ethics agency. Martin Regan Legal LLC received received $4,000 in October for campaign legal services and Regan & Sandhu another $1,000 in November.
Peralta’s report also shows he has $308 left in his campaign account set up for the last election.