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Louisiana Governor Mired in Controversy to Speak in West Virginia

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming West Virginia Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day, is mired in controversy and a major recipient of personal injury lawyers’ support, according to West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA).

“It’s unsurprising that the people who spent millions of dollars to elect former Attorney General Darrell McGraw, supported personal injury lawyers for Speaker of the House and President of the State Senate, and supported “sue and settle” legislative candidates across West Virginia want to hear from someone like Governor Edwards who has received millions in support from millionaire personal injury lawyers,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

Governor John Bel Edwards has been mired in controversy after he recently awarded a no bid lawsuit contract to represent the State of Louisiana to the law firm that employs the chairman of Edwards’ super PAC fundraising committee. The lawsuit against multiple major energy companies could result in a billion dollar payday for Edwards’ personal injury lawyer donors and friends.

According to the Louisiana Record, the coalition of 12 law firms selected to represent the State of Louisiana and local entities in forty coastal lawsuits spent more than $2.6 million to support Governor Edwards, which accounts for nearly 20% of all the contributions he received since 2014.

“We’ve seen these type of “pay to play” good ol’boy schemes in West Virginia. Some millionaire personal injury lawyers probably long for those days and they’ll show up to support Governor Edwards. Former Attorney General Darrell McGraw was notorious for awarding no bid lawsuit contracts to personal injury lawyer campaign donors who reaped millions of dollars. West Virginia voters rejected backroom good ol’boy deals and elected Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who enacted a much-needed transparent and good government outside counsel policy,” concluded Stauffer.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has refused to approve the contract Gov. Edwards signed with his chief fundraiser to lead a team of attorneys representing the state in lawsuits against the oil and gas industry. Landry said the contract was "unacceptable on multiple grounds.”

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