Steve Simpson, Republican Candidate for Attorney General, issued the following statement regarding this afternoon’s Supreme Court hearing on Attorney General Hood’s disputed distribution of legal earnings:

“This afternoon, Attorney General Hood’s office took what is in my opinion an indefensible position, claiming that they should be allowed to unilaterally select law-firms to represent the State when outside counsel is required, privately negotiate compensation for legal services and internally distribute the compensation – all without any independent oversight or legislative approval.

Perhaps most disturbing about this process is the fact that Attorney General Hood has chosen to award many of these contracts to the same out-of-state law-firms that have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his political campaigns. Whether or not rewarding his political supporters was his principal intention, it’s simply not right that this was done with no oversight – the people of Mississippi deserve better.

The Attorney General’s office also argued today that the monies recovered from state-funded lawsuits are not public funds and are legally allowed to be held in trust fund accounts run by out-of-state law-firms.

I couldn’t disagree more and I believe that the Supreme Court will ultimately disagree as well.

If elected, I will ask the Legislature to establish a procedure to review the reasonableness of the Contingency fees after an application by the law-firm. I believe that our law-firms in Mississippi are some of the best in the country and will ask that these firms be given preferential treatment when outside counsel is required.

If I’m honored enough to serve as the next Attorney General, Mississippi voters will never once have to question who I’m fighting for in the courtroom – it will always be for them.”

Steve Simpson Campaign Release
8/3/11