By Marsha Thompson
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is blasted in Monday's Wall Street Journal for outsourcing legal work to private attorneys and in turn receiving large campaign donations. The newspaper says this has become a sleazy practice in many states, and it is finally under scrutiny in Mississippi. The article was called "Lawsuit, Inc.," exposing the state attorney general-trial bar racket.
The Journal says in 2007 Hood received some $790,000 from partners and law firms that have benefited financially from lawsuits his office has filed. WLBT News recently reported that indicted trial lawyers Dickie Scruggs and Joey Langston contributed $400,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association in 2007. That political action committee turned around and contributed $550,000 for Hood's re-election.
Langston received $14 million in fees, made off Hood's lawsuit against MCI/WorldCom. The Wall Street Journal says that adds up to more than half of all of Hood's itemized contributions for 2007.
The Mississippi Senate has passed a bill restricting the hiring of private lawyers and contingency fees. Hood opposes the legislation.
When we asked for Hood's response, his spokeswoman said WLBT News asked him a lot of questions about this during a recent interview.
"He has nothing to add to it," she said.