JACKSON — Where does the money go?
That’s the most recent question from the Mississippi Supreme Court in the legal dispute over fees paid to private attorneys hired by the attorney general to handle lawsuits for the state.
In orders issued in August, the Supreme Court asked attorneys for state Auditor Stacey Pickering and Atty. Gen. Jim Hood to interpret a constitutional provision that requires funds to be paid into the “proper treasury.”
That appears to mean that the Supreme Court will decide two things — whether fees paid to private lawyers are public money and if, as public funds, they should go into the state general fund or some other account to be passed on to the lawyers.
Pickering contends that rather than directly paying outside counsel retained by the AG’s office, the attorney general should request an appropriation for the fees.