Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Attorney General clears Toney in endorsement flap
- 2013 - 961 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- September 26th, 2009 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- September 25th, 2009 (Friday) - 2 articles
- September 24th, 2009 (Thursday) - 27 articles
- September 23rd, 2009 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- September 19th, 2009 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- September 18th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- Attorney General clears Toney in endorsement flap
- September 17th, 2009 (Thursday) - 19 articles
- September 16th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 12 articles
- September 15th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- September 10th, 2009 (Thursday) - 31 articles
- September 9th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- September 6th, 2009 (Sunday) - 3 articles
- September 3rd, 2009 (Thursday) - 30 articles
- September 2nd, 2009 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- September 1st, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Attorney General clears Toney in endorsement flap|
The state Attorney General's office cleared Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney of any wrongdoing for publishing a political endorsement in a newsletter distributed by the sheriff's office.
In a prepared statement issued Friday afternoon, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's office said Toney was within his rights to reprint a news article first published by The Ouachita Citizen in a sheriff's office newsletter. The Ouachita Citizen article concerned Toney's endorsement of Judge Marcus Clark in the 4th District state Supreme Court race.
Toney's decision to reprint The Ouachita Citizen article led to a report published by The News-Star of Monroe. The News-Star report questioned the legality of Toney using a publicly funded newsletter to announce his support for a political candidate.
Shortly thereafter, a complaint was filed against Toney with 4th Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones. Jones recused himself from the matter and asked the Attorney General's office to investigate it.
"The complaint on Sheriff Royce Toney of Ouachita Parish concerning the propriety of a verbatim Ouachita Citizen article of the sheriff's endorsement of a judicial candidate being reprinted verbatim in the sheriff's public newsletter has been officially rejected and dismissed by the office of Attorney General to whom the matter has been officially referred by the local district attorney (who had appropriately and respectfully recused himself)," said Kurt Wall, director of the Attorney General's criminal division.
"In short, the alleged violation of the election code provision required a specific intent to 'urge' voters to vote for a candidate which intent clearly was not present from all available evidence," Wall said. "Many public officials choose to endorse candidates, including the governor himself, who had endorsed the opposite candidate in this very same election contest, and it is clear such endorsements (regardless of whom is endorsed) are newsworthy."
Toney said he was pleased that the Attorney General's recognized he had done nothing wrong with his endorsement of Clark, who faces Pineville attorney Jimmy Faircloth in the Oct. 17 Supreme Court race.
"I believe the Attorney General's statement says it all," Toney said. "At the very the least, the Attorney General's statement confirms that I acted properly in reprinting a news article published by The Ouachita Citizen, which reported my endorsement of Judge Marcus Clark in the state Supreme Court race. Remember, The News-Star reported that according to the state Ethics Commission, there was no violation by me for announcing my endorsement of Judge Clark."
Toney said he hopes the statement issued by the Attorney General's office would end any controversy surrounding his public support for Clark.
"I would like to think this issue has been put to rest," Toney continued. "However, I realize there exist an element in society that thrives on creating acrimony, distrust, and division in our community."
"We most likely can expect that element to continue working in that regard, which, in my opinion, is truly sad," Toney added.
The statement issued by the Attorney General's office also said the Legislature has the authority to change state law if lawmakers feel elected officials should be barred for declaring their support for candidates for public office.
"Whether these endorsements are advisable or are politically risky is a matter voters and the public may consider and weigh," the Attorney General's office statement said. "It is arguably often helpful for the general public to look to public officials who may be better informed as to particular candidates' true abilities to perform the duties of the offices they seek."
"The Legislature may tighten the restrictions of the election code if it so choose, so long as it does not violate other constitutional guidelines, for example freedom of speech and freedom of expression," the statement said.
"The complaint is therefore without merit based upon clear evidence available in the matter," the statement concluded.