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FORBES – Miss.: Review of AG...

FORBES – Miss.: Review of AG Contracts Proposed

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 26, 2008

Miss.: Review of AG Contracts Proposed

But Hood said the legislation would put Mississippi in a vulnerable position in cases against big corporations, which would be tipped off about possible lawsuits.

“If you make it public, then the company may go sue you in New York or somewhere,” Hood said Friday after the Senate vote. “They want control to prevent us from recouping the taxpayers’ money from corporate wrongdoers.”

When Mississippi files a lawsuit, the attorney general’s office often has to seek private attorneys to assist in the litigation. The bill debated Friday would require Hood to notify the agency if a lawsuit was about to be filed on its behalf and to seek bids on the contract. The contract would then undergo a review by the state Personnel Board.

The bill moves to the House for more work. Similar bills have died there in the past.

Opponents of the bill said it would strip the attorney general of the constitutional authority to make decisions about litigation. They also complained that Hood had not been consulted about the proposed changes.

Judiciary A Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said the legislation could “rehabilitate the reputation of our legal community. All we’re asking in this bill is for (the attorney general) to keep records. I think that makes good sense.”

Fillingane cited attorney Joey Langston of Booneville as an example of “a mistake” made by Hood. Langston received $14 million in legal fees for assisting in the state’s successful lawsuit against MCI, Inc. The state received $118 million from the lawsuit about overdue taxes.

Langston also has made hefty contributions to Hood’s campaigns.


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This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.