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Louisiana gubernatorial candidate hasn’t returned donations from bankrupt oil company

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry took $40,000 from Cox Operating LLC and its affiliates, which owe $200 million to Louisiana small businesses.

By Josh Israel - September 20, 2023
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Jeff Landry
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court, Jan. 7, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Cox Operating LLC, a prominent fossil fuel company, filed for bankruptcy protections in May, unable to pay the hundreds of millions of dollars it owes to its creditors. Jeff Landry, a Republican candidate for Louisiana governor, has not yet returned the $40,000 in campaign donations he has taken from Cox and its affiliated businesses.

According to a Times-Picayune review in June of bankruptcy filings, Cox owes about $500 million to creditors. About $200 million of that is owed to small Louisiana-based companies.

One of those small businesses, Keystone Chemicals, told the outlet that if Cox does not pay the $2.8 million it owes, it too might go bankrupt.

“If I can get the money they owe me, I can survive and move on,” said company owner Jeff Delahoussaye. “Some of the smaller companies are going to have to file for bankruptcy. It’s going to have a domino effect.”

Landry is the current attorney general of Louisiana and one of several Republicans running in the October all-party open primary to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

According to the Feb. 15 annual contribution report his campaign submitted to the Louisiana Board of Ethics and Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance, Landry received the $5,000 legal limit maximum donation from Cox Oil LLC and similar-sized contributions from at least seven of its subsidiaries and affiliates with shared executives.

Landry received another $40,000 from eight additional companies that listed the same address as Cox Operating at 4514 Cole Avenue, Suite 1175, Dallas, Texas.

Landry has not reported returning any of the contributions and did not immediately respond to an American Independent Foundation inquiry.

As a gubernatorial candidate, Landry has presented himself as a defender of small companies like the ones imperiled by Cox’s bankruptcy.

“As a business owner, I know what it’s like to build and run a business from the ground up,” he tweeted in April. “That’s why you can always count on me to fight for Louisiana’s small businesses.”

In a March 2023 blog post, the Union of Concerned Scientists included Landry in a list of state attorneys general who have prioritized defending fossil fuel over their own constituents’ climate health.

It noted that the oil and gas industry has been his top career source of campaign cash and that he served on the board of Harvey Gulf, an oil services business, while serving as attorney general.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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