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May 25th, 2012

Another Loss for Mississippi AG Jim Hood

Just days after a related good-government reform bill that he fought tooth-and-nail was signed into law, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood got more bad news in the form of a state supreme court decision.

As reported by John O’Brien of LegalNewsline.com, Mississippi’s high court yesterday ruled that private-sector attorneys hired by Hood “to sue MCI and Microsoft should not have received millions of dollars directly from settlements.”

“Instead, the court ruled Thursday, it was the job of the state Legislature to pay the attorneys because the $150 million paid in the settlements were public funds,” O’Brien wrote.

Such pay-to-play cronyism, wherein Hood had previously hired political supporters (some of whom are now in prison for having tried to bribe a judge) to do lucrative legal work for the state without a transparent process, is precisely what the reform law signed by Gov. Phil Bryant earlier in the week is meant to curtail.

Hoping to preserve his cozy set-up, Hood had fought hard but failed to block passage of Mississippi’s new Sunshine Act.  In sour-grapes grumblings after the bill became law, he told reporters he was considering a lawsuit to challenge the law’s constitutionality.  Of course such a lawsuit would ultimately be decided by the same state supreme court that just ruled against him and his political pals, so good luck with that, AG Hood.

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