State Employees, Political Activity, and Ethics
Louisiana prohibits certain actions by state employees relative to political activities. The prohibitions are generally intended to protect employees from political pressure and prohibit the use of state resources of political activity. The rules slightly differ for classified and unclassified employees of Civil Service.
This website is intended to provide the faculty, staff, and students with information about what is generally permissible under law and ethics rules. This site is not an exhaustive listing of laws and rules, but merely serves as a guide. The general rule of thumb is that public resources (including employee time) can not be spent in political activity, but unclassified employees can participate in political activities on their personal time.
It should also be noted that the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics outlines the parameters of conduct. The Louisiana Board of Ethics, Civil Service Commission, and the Attorney General assist in the interpretation of the law for employees. The labyrinth of laws and rules make it important for employees to notify the Chancellor’s Office (Office of External Affairs) before testifying at the Legislature. LSU employees are not permitted to represent the University or its positions to members of the Governor’s Office or Legislature without the Chancellor’s approval.
- Article 10, Section 9: Prohibition for classified employees relative to participation in elections, political parties, political organizations, or solicitation of other employees.
- Article 10, Section 20: Prohibition on employees participating in political activities and soliciting on behalf of political interests. Also bans the use of any state resource or an employee’s authority or position to advocate for political action.
- Article 7, Section 14: Prohibits the use of state resources for private uses, which has been interpreted to include employee time on the job.
- R.S. 24:56(F): Difference between public information and lobbying.
- R.S. 18:1465: Prohibits the use of public money for political activity.
- Gifts (R.S. 42:1116): Employees may not accept gifts if a person thinks an employee can sway legislation (such as through the use of expert testimony), nor may employees apply pressure for gifts.
- Civil Service Commission memorandum: State Classified Employees’ Rights to Address Members of the Legislature