Wall Street Journal takes a whack at state AG racket
Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page exposes the cozy relationship between Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and the state’s trial bar.
Should state Attorneys General be able to outsource their legal work to for-profit tort lawyers, who then funnel a share of their winnings back to the AGs? That’s become a sleazy practice in many states, and it is finally coming under scrutiny — notably in Mississippi, home of Dickie Scruggs, Attorney General Jim Hood, and other legal pillars.
The Mississippi Senate recently passed a bill requiring Mr. Hood to pursue competitive bidding before signing contracts of more than $500,000 with private lawyers. The legislation also requires a review board to examine contracts, and limits contingency fees to $1 million. Mr. Hood is trying to block the law in the state House, and no wonder considering how sweet this business has been for him and his legal pals.
We’ve recently examined documents from the AG’s office detailing which law firms he has retained. We then cross-referenced those names with campaign finance records. The results show that some of Mr. Hood’s largest campaign donors are the very firms to which he’s awarded the most lucrative state contracts.
Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising, as CEI’s Hans Bader makes clear in his Issue Analysis on “The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General.”