LA Governor Faces Criticism for Hiring Donors as Plaintiffs' Attorneys in Lawsuit Against Oil & Gas Companies

September 01, 2016

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is facing criticism over bringing in a group of “top campaign donors … as attorneys on a controversial lawsuit against oil and gas companies — a case that could mean a big payday for Edwards’ hired guns,” reports The Advocate.

The Edwards’ administration’s contract is with “lawyer and former state Rep. Taylor Townsend,” who was co-chair of the governor’s transition team and head of the governor’s super PAC. Townsend, his law firm, affiliates, and “a team of six subcontracted attorneys combined to give the Edwards campaign and his transition team $130,000 last year.”

“There is a perception that the governor is turning his office into a private law firm,” said Melissa Landry of the legal reform group Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch.

Additionally, the attorney general must approve any hiring of outside legal counsel, and “Edwards’ new lawyers were enrolled without” Attorney General Jeff Landry’s approval.