On Friday, New Orleans' Inspector General, who works for the city's ethics board, sent off two
letters relating to the auditor for the Orleans Parish sheriff's
letter was sent to the state's ethics board
, which has
jurisdiction over local officials, requesting that it take
"appropriate action." The
other letter, in the form of a complaint
, was sent to the
state's CPA board.
The subject of both letters was the conflict of interest that arose
from the hiring by the sheriff's office of an auditing firm whose
lead partner was the sheriff's campaign treasurer.
What is most interesting about these letters is that no local or
state ethics provision is cited for the conflict. That is because this is
not a typical conflict situation. The reason is that the auditor's
relationship with the sheriff is political, not financial (although it might also be personal). Generally, political
relationships do not give rise to a conflict situation that may be
enforced by a government ethics program.