JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he is convinced that his Republican opponent, Steve Simpson, abused his office as the commissioner of the state's Department of Safety.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, Simpson had billed taxpayers more than $400 for a "budget priorities dinner meeting" in 2009 at the Pearl River Resort, a casino, hotel and spa resort located in Philadelphia, Miss.

Simpson had listed state Rep. Bennett Malone, state Sen. Billy Hewes and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney as his dinner guests.

However, all three have denied they ate at one of the resort's restaurants with Simpson.

Simpson's campaign has maintained the three attended the dinner and that it was, indeed, a work function.

Hood, who is seeking his third term as attorney general, told the newspaper that the paper trail convinces him otherwise and accused the GOP candidate of abusing his office.

Simpson spokesman Scott Paradise fired back at the Democratic incumbent, pointing to various trips taken by Hood, including one to Disney World.

According to documents obtained by the Clarion-Ledger, taxpayers paid more than $2,500 for the attorney general to attend a six-day conference held at the popular amusement park.

Hood, in response, said his trips are legitimate.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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