La. Senate fills spot on Ethics Board

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  Former state Rep. Peppi Bruneau, left, is congratulated by state Sens. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, center, and Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, right, Thursday after being recommended by a Senate committee for a vacancy on the Louisiana Board of Ethics. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Former state Rep. Peppi Bruneau, left, is congratulated by state Sens. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, center, and Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, right, Thursday after being recommended by a Senate committee for a vacancy on the Louisiana Board of Ethics.

The Louisiana Senate made former state Rep. Peppi Bruneau its newest appointment to the Louisiana Board of Ethics.

The Senate voted 32-0 for Bruneau, a New Orleans lawyer, whose name had been advanced earlier in the day by the state Senate committee charged with screening nominees.

State Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, said Bruneau has a “good understanding of the ethics code and helped write most of it, frankly.”

State Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, said Bruneau will fill “a deficiency” on the board.

“They don’t have anyone on that committee with a working knowledge of the ethics code,” Martiny said, “who knows what we as legislators go through on a daily basis.”

Martiny referred to a dispute over how legislators and public officials spend their excess campaign cash.

Bruneau was first elected to the Louisiana House in 1975 and served eight terms thereafter. He served on the House committee dealing with state ethics laws his entire tenure and was Republican for most of his legislative career.

Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, called a special one-day administrative session to conduct the vote. Senators listened to a fiscal briefing afterward.

The state Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, without objection, chose Bruneau over six other people who were recommended by the state’s private college presidents.

“I’m very impressed with the candidates that have been submitted to us for consideration,” Alario said. “I wish we could have each serve in some capacity in state government. I want to keep these resumes around.”

The other nominees included former state Sen. Sydney Nelson, of Shreveport; a retired lawyer; Patricia Faxon, of Baton Rouge, who worked as legislative liaison for the state health agency for 22 years; Ben Miller, of Baton Rouge, a founding partner in the Baton Rouge-based law firm of Keene Miller LLP; Lawrence Narcisse, of Baton Rouge, former Louisiana Association of Educators executive; the Rev. Martha M. Orphe, of St. Martinville, a Methodist minister; and Lincoln Joseph Savoie, of Sunset, who retired from the military.

The state Senate has two appointees to the 11-member Ethics Board as does the House. The other seven are governor’s appointees. By laws, each must pick from a list submitted by the private college presidents.

The Senate vote is to fill a vacancy caused by the sudden resignation of Renee Austin Duffin, of Baton Rouge.

The Ethics Board polices state conflict of interest, nepotism, campaign finance, lobbyist reporting and personal financial disclosure laws.