Curbs on AG’s hiring counsel have historical precedent

STARKVILLE — Claims from Democratic lawmakers that Republican legislation aimed at changing the state’s outside counsel process for the attorney general’s office is “retaliation” against Attorney General Jim Hood’s stance on former Gov. Haley Barbour’s controversial pardons ignore a substantial amount of Mississippi legal and political history.

State Rep. Bob Evans, D-Monticello, called Senate Bills 2084 and 2102 “retaliation” against Hood against fighting Barbour’s “release of over 200 Mississippi felons, including murderers, rapists and child sex offenders” at the end of Barbour’s gubernatorial term. The legislation would limit fees outside counsel attorneys can receive from contingency fee contracts with the state. Current law places no limits on attorney’s fees in such suits.

“This retaliatory stunt couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Evans. “At this moment, General Hood is working to recover tens of millions owed to the state’s retirement system, now is not the time to tie his hands.” Evans went on to assert that Hood had recovered over $500 million for state taxpayers that “didn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

Sid Salter