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Jim Hood Top Donor Pleads Guilty To Corruption

We learned yesterday that Joey Langston plead guilty to corruption charges. This included admitting to trying to influence a judge, with the help of Dickie Scruggs at times.

Scruggs and three of his law partners were indicted in November, but have pleaded not guilty. Tim Balducci, an attorney, has pleaded guilty and admitted to approaching Lafayette County Circuit Judge Lackey about a possible bride in exchange for a favorable ruling on a Hurricane Katrina legal-fees dispute.

I am not going to talk about all the legal dealings with this, because: 1- I am not an attorney and 2- there is already a ton of good information at Y’all Politics, Insurance Coverage Law Blog, Overlawyered, and FOLO.

But, let’s talk about Jim Hood and his connections to this (as the evidence seems to mounting everyday). I think its fair to say that Hood is so deep into a conflict of interest that he doesn’t know what to do. While obvious reform is needed, I seriously doubt Billy McCoy’s House will push any ethics legislation to put an end to this such as “Sunshine Legislation,” which is greatly detailed at the Look Under The Hood website. McCoy and his cronies,, of course, are also tied to Scruggs. Maybe the embarrassment that this is causing the state will force the House to act.

As for the Langston-Hood connection- see it here. From 2003 through 2007, Hood accepted over $112,000 from the Langston Law Firm. Unfortunately, Hood was never even mentioned in the Clarion-Ledger article about Langston. The next question is, will Hood give back these funds? Langston is no longer just indicted, he has now plead guilty which just took it to a whole new level. If Hood keeps this money, what does it say about the legal system and what does it say about the ethics of our current AG?

For all the hooting and hollering we heard from Jim Hood about Haley Barbour’s blind trust during the election year, I guess we know what Hood really thinks about the law. In two words- not much; he thinks about politics.

As for hope that Jim Hood might change; look at what he said during his inauguration speech last week about his priorities for the new term:

Hood said he’s looking forward to continuing his fight against cybercrime and those committed against the elderly and children. Hood said his office had also begun a new initiative targeting counterfeit products from overseas.

Hood said the products include counterfeit drugs, brake pads, contact lenses and lead-contaminated toys.

Are those good causes? Sure. Do they measure up to a corrupt legal system that began under former Attorney General Mike Moore and has been perfected by Jim Hood? Probably not.

As for the national media, I am still waiting for Tim Hamburger from Bloomberg to write an in-depth column about this they way he attacked Barbour; but I won’t hold my breath.

6 Responses to “Jim Hood Top Donor Pleads Guilty To Corruption”

  1. Civilization began at Sumer and corruption began under the last A.G.? Come on.

    I think donations of that size should be banned anyway. Big donors should have to put their own name on ads if they want to have such an outsized effect on the political process. $10,000 cap would be more than reasonable for statewide elections.

    Any ethics legislation that passes will have to be part of a package that doesn’t simply target candidates in one party or another.

  2. No I am not saying coruption began under the last AG. The current system began under Moore. By current system I mean this pattern: trial lawyers donating to the AG, the AG rewards them with a state contract/ some big case, the AG defends them if neccessary.

    Agreed about the donations. I’m sure most on my side would disagree with me but I have no problems with campaign finance reform to an extent.

  3. Re: ethics- we need legislation that puts a limit on the ability of the AGs office to hire outside help. The AG can hire lawyers with no oversight- having a House/ Senate committee to review this process makes sense- for starters.

    I like what Sid Salter wrote about it here- Link

  4. FYI, If you check Legislative history you will find that in 2004 there was a bill that passed both the House and Senate concerning a cap on PAC money and the disclosure of contributors to those PACs. That bill, however, was vetoed by the good governor.

  5. You guys think you have it bad with your AG. In my homestate of Tennessee. The State Supreme Court Justices pick the Attorney General. They nearly always pick some trial lawyer who has never left the Nashville city limits. Its a pretty bad deal.

  6. Jb: J/W- would it have limited personal donations? I do not believe when Dickie Scruggs writes Jim Hood a $30,000 check its a PAC, its a personal donation.

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