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Louisiana Lawmaker Spent $37,000 of His Campaign Funds on Gambling

Louisiana Legislature
Louisiana Legislature

This is quite the story. A Louisiana lawmaker spent $37,000 from his campaign account to gamble, but says he’s going to pay it back and there’s a reason for the splurge.

Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard of Thibodaux says he believes his gambling addiction was a side effect to anti-Parkinson’s disease medication he used. He also says he’s reached a settlement with the Board of Ethics, agreeing to repaying the money and acknowledged improper use of campaign donations.

“I spent whatever I had to my name, and I started using campaign funds,” said Richard in an interview.

Studies have shown that anti-Parkinson medications can occasionally spark compulsions like pathological gambling. Richard said he never had an interest in gambling before he began taking the drugs back in mid-2011.

“The drugs involved, I’m sure they had something to do with it,” he said. “But I’ve taken responsibility, and I’m moving forward.”

The lawmaker did send a statement explaining the ethics violation to every House member. Richard says he doesn’t plan to resign.

Ethics administrator Kathleen Allen would not confirm that a consent agreement had been reached with Richard.

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