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Jim Hood

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Jim Hood
Jim Hood.jpg
Attorney General of Mississippi
Incumbent
In office
2004 - Present
Term ends
2011
Years in position 11
PartyDemocratic
PredecessorMike Moore (D)
Compensation
Base salary$108,960
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First elected2003
Next primaryAugust 4, 2015
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Campaign $$5,378,905
Term limitsNone
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Mississippi
J.D.University of Mississippi (1988)
Personal
Place of birthNew Houlka, Mississippi
ProfessionAttorney
Websites
Office website
Jim Hood (born in New Houlka, Mississippi) is the current Democratic Attorney General of Mississippi. He was first elected in 2003 was sworn in the following January. Hood is currently serving in his third term as attorney general, having most recently won re-election in 2011.[1] Hood's current term expires in January 2016 and he is running for a fourth term in November 2015.[2]

Hood had been considered a potential candidate for governor in 2011, but he ultimately opted for another try as attorney general in 2011.[3] He claimed the Democratic nomination unopposed on August 2, 2011 and defeated former state public safety commissioner, Steve Simpson, in the November general election in 2011.

Prior to becoming attorney general, Hood served as the Third Judicial District Attorney of North Mississippi. In that job, he tried more than 100 jury cases and therefore was able to bring a substantial amount of trial experience to the attorney general's office. One of his better-known trial victories came in 2005 when he successfully prosecuted Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers.[1]

Since taking over as Mississippi's chief law enforcement official in 2004, Hood has carved out a niche for himself as an advocate for the rights of crime victims. He has worked to develop initiatives that are specifically targeted at "Mississippi's most vulnerable citizens," children and the elderly. He and his staff founded the Cyber Crime Unit and Fusion Center, housed within the Public Integrity Divisions of the office of the Secretary of State. The unit serves as a hub for state, federal and local agencies to utilize in investigating and prosecuting internet predators who target children and vulnerable adults. Hood's office created units dealing with vulnerable adults and domestic violence within the public integrity division as well as a separate division for crime prevention and victims services.[1]

Biography

A fifth-generation Mississippian and career public servant, Hood was born in New Houlka and obtained both his bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Mississippi.[4]

After graduating from law school in December of 1988, Hood clerked for Mississippi State Supreme Court Justice Armis Hawkins. He then spent eight years as a District Attorney for the Third Circuit Court District in North Mississippi. Most recently, Hood served for five years under former Attorney General Mike Moore as a special assistant attorney general in the drug asset forfeiture unit.[5]

Education

  • Chickasaw County Public Schools
  • Bachelor's degree - University of Mississippi
  • J.D. - University of Mississippi (1988)

Political Career

Mississippi Attorney General (2003-present)

Hood was first elected in 2003. He won re-election in 2007 and 2011. He is seeking a fourth term in 2015.[2]

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

The day after the United States House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate reconciliation bill on health care reform, Republican Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour called upon the state's attorney general to "challenge the federal government over the constitutionality of requiring individuals to purchase health insurance." He threatened that if Hood refused to do so then he would act on the state's behalf in his stead.[6]

Despite Barbour setting noon on Thursday, March 25, 2010, as the deadline for Hood to decide whether or not to pursue litigation against the federal government on the issue of health care reform, the Mississippi Attorney General's office stated that it needed more time to review the legislation before reaching a decision. Furthermore, Hood challenged, the governor "is not authorized to file suit while the attorney general's office completes its review."[7][8]

While promising not to interfere with the governor's suit, Hood did, however, argue that he believed it would be "cheaper for Mississippi to join the lawsuit once it gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, if some viable cause of action arises during the years of litigation."[9]

Controversies

Mississippi Sunshine Act

On May 22, 2012, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill to restrict the power of the Mississippi Attorney General.[10] Dubbed the Mississippi Sunshine Act, House Bill 211 addressed the need, according to the law's supporters, to "rein in the troublesome practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to plaintiffs' lawyers who are also major campaign contributors to the state attorney general."[11] The issue stemmed from the office's ability to select private lawyers whose contracts and fees were arranged at the attorney general's discretion. The Sunshine Law requires the attorney general to appoint outside counsel to represent a state agency or elected official in the event that the attorney general either refuses or is in conflict with the agency or official. Effective July 2012, the attorney general's office lost its ability to bring suits unilaterally on behalf of a state agency or elected official. Instead, an agency or elected official has seven working days to object and seek out alternate counsel, which is then subject to approval by a commission comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state. If an objection is made, the attorney general is required to withdraw from representing the relevant agency or official.

According to Associated Press reports from May 2012, Hood was dubious about the Sunshine Law's constitutionality and he threatened to sue over the limits it imposed on the attorney general's power. He also claimed that partisan bias was a factor in creating a law that targeted his office's authority, as his was the only Democratic-controlled statewide office at the time. He pointed to the all-Republican composition of the newly-formed commission to which he must now submit under the conditions specified above.[12]

Other changes enacted by the Sunshine Law included requiring outside counsel to keep detailed time and expense records and capping the total fee paid to contingency lawyers at $50 million.[12]

ACORN
See also: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

The June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by liberal political organization, ACORN, gave Hood an A letter grade. The report was published to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general, "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," according to the group.[13] The grade distributed to the individual attorneys general "generally broke down along party lines," with the exception of Louisiana's Buddy Caldwell (R).[14]

Pay-to-sue

American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), a non-profit political action committee formed in 1986 for the express purpose of advocating in favor of tort reform regularly published a report called Judicial Hellholes that aimed to identify "areas of the country where the scales of justice are radically out of balance" and provide "solutions for restoring balance, accuracy, and predictability to the American civil justice system."[15] While the report primarily focused on state judicial figures such as judges, a subsection entitled Dangerous Liaisons: Some State Attorneys General Offer Contingency Fee Contracts to Politically Supportive Outside Counsel shifted attention to state attorneys general who had also contributed "to growing concerns in the business community about the ability of defendants to receive fair trials."

One of the individuals highlighted in the 2008/2009 edition of the annual report was Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. Hood's practice of "pay-to-play" or "pay-to-sue," whereby "lawyers who contribute to the campaigns of the state’s highest ranking attorney could then get a contract for a piece of the action and, in some cases, develop the action themselves and receive permission to pursue it in the state’s name," that drew the ire of the ATRA. Within a period of five years, Hood's office hired 27 law firms to represent the state of Mississippi in 20 separate lawsuits. The private legal practices selected by Hood himself contributed nearly $535,000 in his two campaigns for the state attorney general's office. The list of these individuals included Richard Scraggs (contributed $30,000) who had since "been disbarred and is serving a federal prison sentence for an unrelated conspiracy to bribe a Mississippi judge," and plantiff counsel Joey Langston (contributed $130,000), who, prior to pleading guilty to bribing a judge, received $14 million in legal fees from the $100 million settlement with MCI/WorldCom in 2005.[16]

Elections

2015

See also: Mississippi Attorney General election, 2015

Eleven state executive offices in Mississippi are up for election in 2015. The general election will be held on November 3, 2015, following a primary election on August 4, 2015. Runoffs are scheduled for August 25 in case no candidate receives a majority (50 percent plus one) of the popular vote in a given primary race. The following sections summarize filed candidates running for each state executive office on the ballot:

Governor
See also: Mississippi gubernatorial election, 2015

Lieutenant Governor
See also: Mississippi lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2015

Attorney General
See also: Mississippi Attorney General election, 2015

Secretary of State
See also: Mississippi Secretary of State

State Treasurer
See also: Mississippi Treasurer election, 2015

Auditor

See also: Mississippi Auditor election, 2015

Commissioner of Agriculture

See also: Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture election, 2015

Commissioner of Insurance

See also: Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance election, 2015

Public Service Commission (3 seats)

See also: Mississippi Public Service Commission election, 2015
Northern District:

Central District:
Incumbent Lynn Posey (R) is not seeking re-election.

Southern District:
Incumbent Steve Renfroe (I) is not seeking re-election.

2011

See also: Mississippi attorney general election, 2011

On March 21, 2010, Hood announced his intention to seek another term as attorney general, settling rumors that he might run for governor in 2011.[3] He claimed the Democratic nomination unopposed in the August 2 primary and defeated former Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson in the general election on November 8, 2011.

General election

Mississippi Attorney General, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Hood 61.1% 536,827
     Republican Steve Simpson 38.9% 342,086
Total Votes 878,913
Election Results via Mississippi Secretary of State

2007

General election

Mississippi Attorney General, 2007
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Hood Incumbent 59.8% 440,017
     Republican Al Hopkins 40.2% 295,516
Total Votes 735,533
Election Results via Mississippi Secretary of State

Primary election

Jim Hood ran unopposed in the 2007 Democratic primary election.

2003

General Election

Mississippi Attorney General, 2003
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Hood 62.7% 548,046
     Republican Scott Newton 37.3% 325,942
Total Votes 873,988
Election Results via Mississippi Secretary of State

Primary election

Jim Hood ran unopposed in the 2003 Democratic primary election.

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Hood is available dating back to 2003. Based on available campaign finance records, Hood raised a total of $5,378,905 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[18]

Jim Hood's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Attorney General of Mississippi Won $1,786,598
2009 Attorney General of Mississippi Not up for election $220,684
2007 Attorney General of Mississippi Won $1,804,877
2005 Attorney General of Mississippi Not up for election $113,104
2003 Attorney General of Mississippi Won $1,453,642
Grand Total Raised $5,378,905

2003-2011

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Jim Hood's donors each year.[19] Click [show] for more information.


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Personal

Hood currently resides in Mississippi with his wife, Debbie, and their three children - Rebecca, Matthew and Annabelle.

Contact Information

Mailing address:
MS Attorney General's Office
Post Office Box 220
Jackson, MS 39205

Mississippi

Street address:
MS Attorney General's Office
Walter Sillers Building
550 High Street, Suite 1200
Jackson, MS 39201

Phone: 601-359-3680
E-mail: msag05@ago.state.ms.us

See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mississippi Attorney General, "About your attorney general," May 11, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Clarion-Ledger, "AG Hood qualifies for re-election," February 20, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mississippi Business Journal', "Hood going for another term," March 21, 2010
  4. Bloomberg Business, "Jim Hood Attorney General, Mississippi Attorney General's Office," accessed January 29, 2015
  5. National Association of Attorneys General, "Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood," May 11, 2011
  6. The Clarion Ledger, "Bill draws praise, fire" 23 March, 2010
  7. The Dispatch, "AG wants more time to study health care law before filing suit" 25 March, 2010
  8. The Commercial Appeal, "State AG still considering federal health care lawsuit" 28 March, 2010
  9. The Mississippi Link, "Attorney general won't stop health care lawsuit" 12 April, 2010
  10. Forbes, "Mississippi Reins In Use Of Contigency-Fee Lawyers," May 21, 2012
  11. Businesswire.com, "U.S. Chamber Applauds Signing of Landmark Mississippi Outside Counsel Sunshine Law," May 22, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 Yahoo.com, "Bryant signs law limiting attorney general's power," May 23, 2012
  13. ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
  14. Majority in Mississippi, "Jim Hood Received An “A” From ACORN In 2008" 17 Sept. 2009
  15. ATR Foundation - Judicial Hellholes 2009/2010
  16. Respond Mississippi, "Mississippi's Dangerous Liason: Jim Hood" 12 Jan. 2009
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 17.15 17.16 17.17 17.18 17.19 17.20 17.21 17.22 17.23 17.24 17.25 17.26 17.27 17.28 17.29 17.30 17.31 17.32 17.33 17.34 17.35 17.36 17.37 17.38 17.39 17.40 17.41 17.42 Mississippi Secretary of State, "2015 Candidate Qualifying List," accessed March 4, 2015
  18. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Jim Hood," accessed July 17, 2013
  19. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Moore (D)
Mississippi Attorney General
2004-present
Succeeded by
NA