The Orleans Parish, La., district attorney’s office misspent about $24,000 on holiday parties, birthday cakes, gifts for retirees, alcohol and other items, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune, quoting a state legislative auditor’s report. Spending public money on holiday parties and gifts is prohibited by the state Constitution. The report covers a 2001-3 period in former District Attorney Harry Connick’s administration. Eddie Jordan became DA in 2003.
Connick said employees deserved holiday parties because they work long hours and are on the “low end of the pay scale in the New Orleans legal world.” Noting that court clerks, judges, and sheriffs hold such celebrations, he said, “There is certainly ample justification for district attorney employees to be given the same consideration.”