Ethics Board blocks Nichols

by Walter Pierce

The former commissioner of administration — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget director and chief legislative contact — will be prevented for two years from doing much of the job she was hired to do at Ochsner Health System.


The Louisiana Board of Ethics has informed former Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols that much of her new job description as vice president of government and corporate affairs for New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System will have to be put on hold for two years due to state ethics law.

The board was expected to adopt its advisory opinion at Thursday’s meeting in Baton Rouge. The board was contacted Nov. 5 by Kimberly Robinson of the Jones Walker law firm in Baton Rouge regarding Nichols’ post-Jindal administration employment with Ochsner. Nichols worked for Jindal for three years — October 2012 to October 2015; she resigned Oct. 14 and joined Ochsner on Oct. 19.

On six possible employment restrictions queried by Robinson — ranging from direct communication by Nichols with the current Division of Administration to Nichols’ role in Oschner’s communications with state lawmakers — the board nixed four of them and declined to take a position on two based on insufficient information.

As it stands, Nichols in prohibited for two years from: having any direct transactions or communications with the DoA; participating in a transaction, researching or preparing materials for use in or in support of a direct act or communication with a legislator; communicating or having a transaction with the Department of Health and Hospitals; and assisting Ochsner in communications or transactions with LSU, which is overseeing the public-private partnerships between former state-run public hospitals and private health care providers, one of which is Ochsner.