Hood doesn’t want to lose his power for cronyism – Part 1

“What you have here is nothing more than an attempt to weaken the power of the Attorney General and to create a ‘good ole boy’ system of doing legal business in this state…This bill creates a system ripe for cronyism….” – Attorney General Jim Hood on new Sunshine legislation

Funny that Jim Hood thinks his system of hiring campaign contributors as special attorneys general is not a ‘good ole boy’ system and not cronyism.

From the report: Beyond Reproach? Fostering Integrity and Public Trust in the Offices of State Attorneys General

Mississippi has a long and troubling history of unseemly relationships between the office of the attorney general and plaintiffs’ attorneys. Attorney General Jim Hood was elected in 2003 and has funneled substantial work to his plaintiff lawyer campaign contributors ever since. His tenure as attorney general represents one of the most egregious examples of the impropriety that can be found in the process of states hiring private attorneys.

• Over a five year period following his election in 2003, Attorney General Hood retained at least 27 outside law firms to file at least 20 lawsuits on behalf of the State of Mississippi. These law firms and their attorneys contributed $543,000 to Hood’s campaigns.

• Since 2005 Attorney General Hood has received $149,056 in campaign contributions from Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, and the State of Mississippi has contracted with this firm on five lawsuits. Between February 14 – 17 of 2006, Bernstein Litowitz attorneys contributed $25,000 to Hood’s campaign, and on February 21, 2006, Hood selected the firm to represent the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement Fund in a securities class action claim against Delphi Corp. The lawsuit settled for $333.4 million, paying $40.5 million in legal fees.

• The firm Wolf Popper contributed $15,000 to Hood’s campaign on February 22, 2006, and the state of Mississippi contracted with this firm on a lawsuit against Sonus on March 23, 2006. Sonus settled for $9.5 million, including legal fees estimated at $1.5 million.

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