JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said Friday that he will run for re-election next year.
Hood, a Democrat, will be seeking a third term and may be doing it without a few of his heaviest campaign contributors. Disgraced plaintiffs lawyers Joey Langston and Richard "Dickie" Scruggs are both currently incarcerated.
In a statement reported by the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Hood said he is "fortunate to have a job that allows me to help those who need it the most. That is worth more to my soul than pay.
"My decision will allow me to continue our hunt for child pornographers and Internet predators; to protect our elderly citizens; and to shield our residents from corporate wrongdoers."
Hood's relationships with his contributors have been an issue for several groups around the country, though in 2008 he said he would like to change campaign finance laws.
Two of his most high-profile relationships have been with Scruggs and Langston, both in prison for pleading guilty to attempting to bribe judges.
Hood hired Langston to represent the State in litigation against Eli Lilly & Co. and WorldCom, and federal prosecutors wrote that Hood and Scruggs developed a "remarkably close relationship" during Hurricane Katrina litigation.
Langston's firm has directly given more than $100,000 to Hood's two campaigns. Mississippians for Economic Progress says Langston also gave $100,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association in 2003.
The next day, DAGA gave $150,000 to Hood's campaign.
In 2007, MFEP says DAGA gave contributions of $150,000 and $250,000 to Hood. Langston had given $100,000 to the association, and Scruggs had given $300,000.
Other law firms given state contracts by Hood gave a total of $220,000.
Hood also accepted $75,000 from Houston firm Bailey Perrin Bailey, a firm he hired for the Eli Lilly suit.
Hood's recommendations for campaign finance laws include:
-Contributions sent through a political action committee at the candidate's direction should be considered direct donations to the candidate and be reportable as such;
-Disclosure of sources giving to "soft money" political advertising by special interest groups;
-Candidates should disclose the name of any individual offering loans or extending credit and be required to report how the money was used; and
-Electronic reporting of donations and expenditures by state candidates that exceeded $75,000 in a calendar year.
"Since my election in 2003, I have always sought these changes. Rather than level attacks at me for following the law as it exists presently, my critics would be better advised to join me in pushing for these reforms," Hood said in 2008.
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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