The Louisiana Board of Ethics is conducting a confidential investigation into Citizens for a New Louisiana, a conservative anti-tax organization, and its executive director, Michael Lunsford.
Ethics Board investigations are confidential, however the board is seeking legal remedy from the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. The investigation, which was first reported by The Current, is referenced in numerous documents filed with the 19th JDC.
The board accuses Lunsford and the group, which Ethics refers to as CNLA, of violating the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws, according to the documents.
A document certifying the Ethics vote says the group failed to accurately "disclose the full name and address of persons from whom it received contributions on its special campaign finance Report in connection with the April 28, 2018 special election."
The court filing does not disclose specifics of the confidential investigation but states the inquiry began April 11. A subpoena was issued June 18 by certified mail to Lunsford’s Citizens for a New Louisiana office at 100 East Vermilion St., Suite 150.
On July 10, Lunsford requested an extension to produce the documents because he was “awaiting correspondence from the State of Louisiana which will help me answer the subpoena’s questions.” A response from the board noted that “no such request or communication has been received by [the Ethics Board].”
The documents indicate the Ethics board's investigation may have been prompted by two campaign finance disclosures from 2018 regarding Citizens for a New Louisiana’s efforts to defeat the April 28 library tax renewal in Lafayette Parish.
It is also possible the investigation was prompted by a complaint; The Ethics Board keeps complaints confidential.