Today, Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Jim Herring announced that the Mississippi Republican Party will return all contributions made by disgraced trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs.

“We do this because we want to make a statement that the integrity of this Party is not for sale, and that as a matter of policy, similar actions will take place when wrongdoing of this nature is brought to our attention,” Herring said.

Please see below for the full text Chairman Herring’s remarks.

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FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN JIM HERRING

“Like most Mississippians, we here at the offices of the Mississippi Republican Party were startled but not totally surprised when nationally prominent trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs pleaded guilty to federal judiciary bribery charges last Friday. His admission of guilt, as well as previous guilty pleas by his associates, removes any doubt that a serious and purposeful ongoing effort was made by leading attorneys of our state to subvert and corrupt the judicial system of this state for personal gain. Fortunately, this evil attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the courage and integrity of a local judge.

However, this whole affair raises serious questions about the extent of the efforts of Mr. Scruggs and his associates and colleagues to subvert our justice system in this and other cases, and also raises questions as to the extent of their efforts to involve public officials in their illegal dealings. According to an article in the March 16, 2008, Clarion Ledger, Mr. Scruggs once described litigation as a “three legged stool: the law, politics, and public relations.” This view of how to win cases and to create laws favorable to his point of view was supported by his deep involvement over the years in the political affairs of our state and the large contributions he and his associates and colleagues have made to legislative and judicial candidates, public action committees, and others designed to affect public policy and the direction taken in our state on matters of public interest.

It is our view here at the Mississippi Republican Party that now that Mr. Scruggs has admitted his guilt, all of us involved in the public process must firmly and immediately take a stand to guard against future efforts to improperly affect the public process; and we must make every effort to restore the confidence of the people of Mississippi in that process. Unless the people have reasonable confidence in our judicial system and the fairness of our political process, the foundations of our great nation will crumble.

Our records show that from 2002 to 2004, Mr. Scruggs made three financial contributions to the Mississippi Republican Party, totaling the sum of $27,250. Today, we announce that we will donate that amount to charity in the form of a charitable gift to Boys and Girls Clubs around Mississippi. We do this because we want to make a statement that the integrity of this Party is not for sale, and that as a matter of policy, similar actions will take place when wrongdoing of this nature is brought to our attention.

At this time, we also call upon other political organizations, such as the Victory PAC of Speaker Billy McCoy, the Democratic Attorney Generals’ Association, and others heavily funded by Mr. Scruggs and his colleagues to publicly do the same thing. We also agree with those representatives of the news media that have called for a thorough investigation by an independent counsel appointed by the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, of the relationship between Mr. Scruggs and his associates with Attorney General Jim Hood, fully funded and with subpoena powers, with one of the goals to be whether Mr. Scruggs or others should be charged with violations of Mississippi state laws. We urge that immediate action be taken on these matters so that public confidence in our political process can be maintained and/or restored.”

MS Republican Party Press Release
3/17/8