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June 9, 2014

New Orleans Media Highlights Passage of Louisiana AG Transparency Bill

WWLTV News (New Orleans) reports on the Louisiana legislature’s passage of a bill that effectively bars the use of outside contingency fee counsel by the state attorney general.

In recent years, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has hired outside contingency fee counsel to pursue litigation against businesses in blatant violation of several Louisiana Supreme Court rulings and the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics.

As WWLTV reports, “critics complained that Caldwell had given contracts worth more than $27 million to some of his top political contributors, including to his campaign manager and campaign treasurer; that he was paying exorbitant hourly rates when in-house attorneys would have sufficed; and that he was violating the state constitution by paying those outside attorneys for major pharmaceutical cases on a contingency fee basis.”

ILR and in-state business organizations strongly supported this legislation, which, WWLTV reports, “caps payments to outside lawyers at $500 an hour. A bigger part of the bill targets contingency fee contracts, which were already unconstitutional without legislative approval, and also takes aim at a loophole that critics said Caldwell used to pay those contingency fees without calling them that.”

This vital legislation now awaits Governor Bobby Jindal’s signature.

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