In a legal dispute with ex-con Larry Bankston over whether Bankston should serve as a lawyer for the state’s contractor licensing board, Attorney General Jeff Landry, who opposes Bankston’s role with the board, won a court victory this month.
That’s good news for the state’s taxpayers, who are better served without having a former felon in such an important position of public trust.
Landry, a Republican, had refused to extend the contract of Bankston, a Democrat, to be the legal counsel for the Louisiana State Licensing Board of Contractors. In 2016, the legal counsel for Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards accused Landry of being partisan for questioning why Bankston should work for the board. But one of the benefits of a two-party system is that leaders of both parties can keep an eye on each other. This is a case where such vigilance worked as it should.
A testy dispute between former state Sen. Larry Bankston and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry over who should represent the state's cont…
Bankston, a former state senator from Baton Rouge, was found guilty in 1997 on two racketeering-related charges after federal prosecutors accused him of agreeing to accept bribes, presumably in exchange for greasing the wheels for video poker interests in the Legislature. He served 41 months in federal prison and was disbarred, but was later readmitted to the bar.
Bankston sued Landry’s office over the attorney general’s decision, and the Baton Rouge-based 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the dispute doesn’t belong in court. Bankston’s lawyer said she will appeal the decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
We hope Landry prevails. While we welcome the prospect of rehabilitation for criminals, working for a state board is a privilege that should require a high degree of public confidence in those who serve. There is surely no shortage of lawyers in Louisiana. The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors can get along fine without Larry Bankston.