Feud between La. governor, AG continues 8 months after both take office

Feud between La. governor, AG continues 8 months after both take office

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The feud between Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry has festered since the two men took office in January. However, that fight may be more than just a political disagreement.

"It's going to require a good-faith effort on his part, I believe, to not cry politics every time something does not happen just the way he wants them to," Edwards said Wednesday.

Over the past eight months, the two have gone head to head on several issues, including disagreeing over where the BP oil spill settlement money should go and how to pay for lawyers to defend the state's abortion legislation.

Over the past month, the AG has attempted to reject the governor's plans to hire lawyers to represent the state in coastal lawsuit against major oil companies.

"The attorneys that I have engaged are excellent attorneys. I don't think anybody questions their credentials," Edwards said, defending his selection.

A report in the Advocate newspaper said that six of the seven lawyers the governor selected were top campaign donors.

"It begs the question as to why all of this was done kind of under the dark of night while half of Louisiana was under water?" Landry said.

"If I was trying to enrich these lawyers, why in the contract would I have a $225 hourly fee when the amount approved by the legislature and in the law that governs this is $500 an hour?" Edwards said.

This is not the first time that there have been fights within Louisiana's executive branch. Gov. Bobby Jindal and Treasurer John Kennedy were sometimes at odds, for example.

What makes this different, however, is that Edwards and Landry come from different political parties as the governor is a Democrat, while the AG is a Republican.

"So far it appears they don't like each other a whole lot," said political analyst Jim Engster.

Engster said this could be more than just a partisan fight. The AG could be gearing up for an attempt to unseat the governor.

"Chances are three years from now we'll have John Bel Edwards and Jeff Landry running for the same office," Engster said.

"I think that absolutely I like the job that I'm doing," Landry said.

Landry and Edwards are scheduled to meet Friday, Sept. 30. Whether that meeting will lead to a cooling in their relationship remains to be seen.


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