Friday, WLBT’s ace reporter Marsha Thompson met with Jim Hood to interview him about campaign finance irregularities involving his two largest campaign donors and beneficiaries . . . Joey Langston and Dickie Scruggs. The video of the story is available in the link.
So we ask if Hood should return their generous contributions. “Would you look at that $400,000 those two indicted attorneys gave and say ‘I’m going to give that back?'”
Hood responded, “That’s up to DAGA.” To call on me as a democrat and disarm and not accept money from PACs is unfair. It’s unfair to run it on one particular person when you don’t go look at others.”
You knucklehead! Thompson wasn’t asking you not to take money from PACs. She is asking you to return money from people who have pled guilty or are charged with bribing a judge.
If I am in the AGs shoes, I’d at least donate those moneys to a charity so fast it would make your head spin and sell those guys down the river. If Hood wanted to withhold judgement on Scruggs, who has been accused, but not convicted, that would be an acceptable standard. But moneys from Langston, Balducci and Patterson all need to be divulged from Hood’s coffers.
I guess there are ways to justify everything, but for the State’s top law enforcement official to have the benefit of campaign funds from one person who has been indicted and pled guilty to bribing a judge and another person who is awaiting trial on the federal charge is beyond belief. If the State Treasurer received a direct or indirect donation from a banking executive who pled guilty to money laundering, I think everyone would rightfully be asking the money be returned. If the State Auditor received a direct or indirect donation from an accounting executive that was accused of some professional malfeasance, the money should at least be returned.
Later in the interview, Jim Hood gave the quote to top ’em all.
When asked if his office should have pursued criminals charges against those caught up in the judicial bribery scandal Hood responded, “If I went after one or more of those individuals it would create an appearance of impropriety. That I do not do.”
So the very clear message seems to be “donate to my campaign and I will never prosecute you” becuase the donation in Jim Hood’s mind creates the appearance of impropriety. Of course, the truth is that NOT pursuing state charges is what is creating the very real appearance of impropriety.
This whole mess involving Hood’s lack of prosecutorial zeal in pursuing people who have admitted to bribing Mississippi judges, his inexplicable assistance to Scruggs in the Acker contempt case, and the legal spanking that he received in State Farm v. Hood all are a stain on his credibility and his administration of the office of Attorney General. The sooner he sells these guys down the river, politically, and begins to take steps to distance himself from this “appearance of impropriety” the less further damage he will sustain in what will only become more of a PR disaster.