• Swamp Watch

"Big Bank Accounts" Get to Work in Jefferson Parish

Updated: May 20

We've been uncovering the ties between the big bank accounts of trial lawyers and local politicians. Check out Part I, Part II, and Part III of our series on their influence over local politicians.

As we covered yesterday, the law firms behind Louisiana’s coastal lawsuits have taken a keen interest in Parish President elections, bankrolling Parish officials who sign lucrative contracts with their firms. In addition to St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis, another vocal supporter of the coastal lawsuits, and the proposed settlement with Freeport-McMoRan (which we’ll get into later), is Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee-Sheng. She has long been a supporter of the coastal lawsuits, beginning during her time as a Councilwoman in Jefferson Parish.

In a statement in 2019, the then-Councilwoman and candidate for Parish President stated that “On behalf of the entire Jefferson Parish Council, we welcome this settlement and appreciate that Freeport-McMoRan has chosen this step forward.” She even thanked, by name, the Talbot Carmouche & Marcello law firm, along with Burglass & Tankersley (another trial attorney firm representing Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes). Like her counterpart, Guy McInnis in St. Bernard Parish, Coincidentally, Lee-Sheng accepted large contributions from those trial attorneys in her 2019 election, with $13,500 coming from the firms mentioned in her 2019 statement- $11,000 from Carmouche and his associates and $2,500 from Burglass & Tankersley, both of whom represent her Parish and that she singled out for thanks in her 2019 statement on the Freeport-McMoRan settlement. As we reported yesterday, both firms were also big supporters of Mr. McInnis’ campaigns for Parish President in St. Bernard, who quickly signed contracts with the firms after taking office.

Like McInnis, Lee-Sheng has been an ardent supporter of the lawsuits, appearing before the state legislature to testify in favor of the settlement with Freeport-McMoRan, negotiated by Talbot Carmouche & Marcello.

Over the coming days and weeks, we’ll continue to bring you crucial information on the cozy relationships between the trial attorneys and politicians behind the job-killing lawsuits against Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.