Scruggs Nation, Day 9: sifting through the wreckage

Reevaluation of Scruggs

This is a theme I will be developing over the coming weeks. For today, let’s ponder a passage from a book and think about it’s possible relevance to recent events.

The name of the book is Assuming the Risk: The Mavericks, the Lawyers and the Whistle-Blowers Who Beat Big Tobacco, written by Michael Orey. Check out this passage from pages 266-67:

Even though Johnson’s stealthy maneuvering proved unnecessary, it indicates the lengths to which Scruggs was willing to go to pave the way for success. And throughout late 1993 and early 1994, he took other steps to defuse possible opposition to the Medicaid suit in political circles, holding discussions with various movers and shakers around the state to ensure they would not make any trouble. Sometimes it took more than a discussion. “There were [some] people who had political connections, that I’m not even at liberty to tell you who they are, that had to be touched, that had to be talked to, that had to be given a stake in [the litigation],” Scruggs says. He retained two or three of these mystery consultants to run political interference. “These guys have lots of friends and connections with the legislature,” he explains. “These are people who are lobbyists, but they’re not really registered lobbyists. It’s really sort of the dark side of the force.” Over the course of the litigation, Scruggs says, he paid these individuals well over $500,000.

Dark side of the force? Mama always said, when you play with fire you get burned.

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