AG sent legal opinion to Barrow weeks before COA tax campaigning began
In testimony before a House committee on May 11, Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, said she didn’t receive an opinion from the state Attorney General stating Council on Aging leaders were prohibited from using their own resources to campaign for their dedicated tax until after the COA had already started campaigning for the tax.
It was a curious assertion. Barrow had requested the attorney general opinion on April 4, 2016, and the AG’s office had drafted its response to the senator, then a COA board member, on April 19, 2016, according to a copy of the opinion included in a recently released Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report.
Now, Daily Report has confirmed that the AG’s office did, in fact, send the opinion to Barrow on the same day it was drafted. According to email logs provided by the AG’s office, an electronic copy of the opinion was sent with an email cover letter to Barrow at 5:19 p.m. on April 19, 2016.
“The opinion concludes that a CEO of a Council on Aging organization may not expend public resources to support a millage on a public ballot,” Assistant Attorney General Shannon Dirmann wrote in the email, reiterating what was stated in her formal opinion.