Ieyoub, 3-term Louisiana attorney general, dies at 78

BATON ROUGE, La (AP) – Richard Ieyoub, a three-term Louisiana attorney general who lost bids to become governor and U.S. senator, died Monday in Baton Rouge at age 78.

Gov. Jon Bel Edwards announced Ieyoub’s death, which was also confirmed to KPLC-TV by Ieyoub’s nephew, Lake Charles City Councilman John Ieyoub. The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported Ieyoub died from an aneurysm rupture.

“If you knew Richard, he was a genuine and kind-hearted man,” Edwards told lawmakers Monday before beginning his State of the State speech.

Ieyoub had served for the last seven years as Louisiana’s conservation commissioner, its top oil and gas industry regulator, after being appointed by Edwards, a fellow Democrat.

Ieyoub served in his hometown of Lake Charles as Calcasieu Parish District Attorney from 1984 to 1992, winning election as attorney general in 1992 for the first of three terms through 2004.

Ieyoub’s top accomplishment as attorney general came when he joined other states in suing the Liggett tobacco company in 1995, over the opposition of then-Gov. Mike Foster. Louisiana won a $4.6 billion settlement in lawsuits against all tobacco companies for medical expenses it incurred, and tobacco companies agreed to stop advertising to children.

Ieyoub also settled a lawsuit against Texaco for failing to pay oil royalties, winning a $250 million payment.

His attempts at higher office failed, though. Ieyoub barely missed a 1996 U.S. Senate runoff, in a race won by Mary Landrieu, after reports questioned his use of campaign funds to furnish his house, buy books and artwork, travel and dine out. Ieyoub said all the spending was relating to campaigning and after a two-year probe, U.S. Justice Department officials announced that they would not file any criminal charges.

Ieyoub again finishing third and missing the runoff in the 2003 gubernatorial election won by Kathleen Blanco.

He was a lawyer in private practice after losing the 2003 race.

“I love my state,” Ieyoub told the American Press of Lake Charles during a 2003 interview. “I love the people of my state, and if I can make it a better place … if I can touch people’s lives and make our people safer, happier and more productive, then my life and my mission as … a human being will have meaning and purpose.”

Ieyoub is survived by his wife, Caprice, and seven children.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

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