“If this bill passes, then agency heads with agendas and interests of their own will be allowed to pursue those interests on the taxpayers’ dime over the states interest as a whole with no oversight.” – Attorney General Jim Hood on Sunshine legislation
Imgaine someone giving million dollar no-bid contracts, without oversight, to campaign contributors. Imagine those campaign contributors working for their own interests rather than the interest of the state. Will Sunshine legislation cause this? No, it is there to prevent it.
From the Wall Street Journal: Pay to Play Torts
However, attorneys suing on the government’s behalf are supposed to be neutral actors whose goal is justice, not lining their own pockets. When for-profit lawyers are involved with a contingency fee at the end of the lawsuit rainbow, the incentives shift toward settling to get a big payday.
In Mississippi, the state attorney general determines when the public employees retirement fund should bring a securities class action and which outside firms will represent the fund. Would you be shocked to learn that AG Jim Hood has frequently chosen law firms that have donated to his campaigns?
Mr. Hood is also partial to Bernstein Litowitz. On February 21, 2006, he chose the firm to represent the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement Fund in a securities class action against Delphi Corporation—just days after receiving $25,000 in donations from Bernstein Litowitz attorneys. The suit was eventually settled, and the lawyers on the case received $40.5 million in fees. Mr. Hood’s campaign would appear to deserve a raise.
You can see a picture of Attorney General Jim Hood shaking hands with Bernstein Litowitz Senior Founding Partner Max Berger, who in addition to other members of the firm, contributed $5000 to Hood’s campaign here.
Bernstein Litowitz partner Sean Coffey also contributed $5000 to Hood’s campaign and interviewed Hood at the a pension and investing summit conference in Dublin, Ireland.
Hood also spoke to the Bernstein Litowitz “Instiutional Investor Forum” at the “New York Yacht Club, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.”
Is this the kind of cronyism Jim Hood is talking about?