Lawmaker says she’s never been under investigation

Nor has the African-American History Parade been investigated, she adds

Rep. Barbara Norton holds news conference to “clear up some reports”

NOTE: As of the morning of July 19, Louisiana Representative Barbara Norton is in good standing with the state.

However, on the morning of July 19, the Secretary of State’s website Showed the non-profit was active and in good standing as of Wednesday.

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Louisiana state Rep. Barbara Norton says she and the African-American History Parade never have been under investigation.

The Shreveport Democrat made the comment during a news conference she held Thursday morning to “clear up some reports.”

Norton represents Louisiana House District 3, an area of Shreveport she has served since January 2008.

Outside those duties, she is the driving force behind the annual African American History Parade.

And state records show she is the president of African American Celebration Corp.

Below is the news conference in full. The video runs about 30 minutes.

RAW: Rep. Barbara Norton news conference, July 18, 2019

Following is the full text of the comments Norton prepared for her news conference held at the Hampton Inn Shreveport Airport:

"Last week and in weeks prior, a publication printed a series of articles and open letters stating that I was under investigation and questioning the African-American History Parade. At no time did this publication verify whether any of the allegations they printed were true, with the exception of sending these false allegations to my office. However, without any attempt to verify information given to them by unknown sources, it printed false and misleading information for the second time. I, nor the Parade, have never been under investigation by any agency or entity nor have myself or any member of the parade committee ever received correspondence suggesting that we were under investigation. However, in 2015 we were made aware via informal notification that at some point false allegations were made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who, after reviewing these allegations, declined to proceed and also these allegations were sent to the Attorney General who declined to proceed as the allegations were not valid. These are the same allegations from 2015 that both agencies reviewed and found to be unsubstantiated. It is also interesting that the same false allegations were printed by the same publication in 2015 around election time as they have repeated their actions again.

"The publication further reported that the parade committee receives monetary contributions from the City of Shreveport, however the committee has never received cash funds from the City for the parade. All assistance provided on behalf of the City are in-kind services. Although our office does not have a full list of in-kind services rendered by the City, we do know that those services are inclusive of the presence of law enforcement, the securing of the parade route and roadways along the route, and other services the city provides for all parades held within its jurisdictional limits. Further, assumptions were made regarding my income and financial status which are grossly inaccurate. The salary that the publication makes reference to is the salary that all members of the Legislature receives and does not take into account any other sources of legislator‘s private income. As a part of my private income, I am a retiree of AT&T after 28 plus years of employment as well as having other sources of income. I enjoy serving the people of the Northwest Louisiana Region as well as the people of our great state. My service has never been driven by the legislative salary, as noted above, my means of private income is more than substantial to handle all of my living and other expenses.

“A cursory investigation of the allegations by the publication would have led the reporter to quickly realize the story they printed was not accurate. It is my sincere goal, and desire to continue to serve the people of this regions (sic) as Senator and to carry on the legacy of 31 years that has been created through the African-American History Parade and to continue to organize this parade for the celebration of history and the enjoyment of all citizens. It is my hope that before the publication circulates an article about any citizen of our area, they will perform a reasonable diligence to ensure the information intended for print is accurate.”


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