Hood has audacity to attack Simpson on pay-to-play

“Steven Simpson being secretly hired by a company to which he awarded a state contract just days before he quit his job as commissioner … is just another example of how he used his position to line his own pockets at taxpayers’ expense,” said Hood campaign spokesman Jonathan Compretta. “… Simpson’s continual pattern of skirting, and often thumbing his nose at the law raises serious character questions …. Now, every time a Mississippi motorist uses a state kiosk … he will put part of that fee into Steve Simpson’s wallet. (He) needs to answer serious questions — when did he first discuss being hired by this company and how much has he been paid?”

Simpson’s camp responded that he didn’t take the consulting contract with L-1 until after he resigned as commissioner, and that his contract prohibits him, at his request, from working on behalf of the company in Mississippi. They said state Ethics Commission opinions are clear that he can do the work.
“He simply provides information about the company’s technology in other states,” Simpson campaign spokesman Scott Paradise said. “… (the contract) presents no conflict of interest of any kind.
“What’s very clear, however, is that Jim Hood’s practice of unilaterally awarding lucrative legal contracts to some of his top campaign donors presents a whole series of conflicted interests …. There are currently 30 Mississippi legal contracts given to law firms all over the country … 23 are represented by firms that have donated to Jim Hood’s campaign since 2010 …. at least $112,350.

Sun Herald
9/17/11