In recent weeks, Attorney General Jim Hood has been giving off the political vibe that he would almost rather see Reeves in a general election instead of Bill Waller. But new details have come to light that a PAC run by Hood’s three time campaign manager, Jonathan Compretta, has been steadily trying to undermine Reeves.
The group, Exceed Mississippi PAC, was formed just prior to the runoff. Its primary agent is Jonathan Compretta, who served as the campaign manager for Attorney General Jim Hood in 2007, 2011, and 2015. He works at the Mike Moore Law Firm, another longtime ally of Jim Hood which has made millions off of work associated with the AG Jim Hood’s office.
The veneer of the PAC is something along the lines of “policy not politics,” but it in fact is being run by one of the most partisan people on the Mississippi political landscape today and is being fueled by dark money. Maybe only coincidentally, the PAC shares an coworking space with Chism Strategies, a Democratic firm that is also doing work on behalf of Jim Hood in this election.
The sole donation to the PAC comes from a 501C4 that goes by the same name—Exceed Mississippi. 501C4’s are not required to disclose their donors, so this pass-through enables Hood’s allies to keep their original funding source secret from press and public. This strategy may help the Hood camp to avoid tough questions about donors that threaten to serve as a talking point for Republicans in November.
When asked about donations to the c4, Compretta responded in a statement, “We are not obligated under the law to disclose our donors and our policy is not to disclose.”
Across the country, the press has typically taken a firm stand against the use of dark money in elections, at least when the tactic is employed by conservatives. So far, they have not asked any difficult questions of Hood or his allies about their use of this secret method of fundraising.
Initiative 42 Redux
Compretta has also been a constant in partisan causes including the failed Initiative 42 campaign. There he served with Michael Rejebian, who is currently on the Hood campaign payroll for the gubernatorial run. Together, they spent millions on the forced school spending effort and even led the legal fight over the ballot listing that was ultimately unsuccessful.
Initiative 42 was fueled with a torrent of national and local money from left-leaning sources.
The Real Strategy
Hood’s press agent, Bobby Harrison at Mississippi Today laid out the cover story for Hood,
“Hood, who has been planning for more than a year to run against Reeves, might not have thrown his rocks at Reeves – as he normally does (at Neshoba) – because he did not want to do any more to hurt the Reeves campaign.”
But despite the help from willing accomplices in the media, it’s evident from the closely affiliated PAC spending money to undermine Reeves with digital ad buys that Tate Reeves and not Bill Waller are who the Hood forces, known and unknown, have their sights set on to weaken or even unseat in the August 27 runoff.
And as late as Monday morning the Clarion Ledger ran an article about the slow-walked investigation of Tate Reeves. Meanwhile, the forces closest to Hood are running ads trying to capitalize on the same investigation.