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Mississippi Attorney General Race Turns Toward BP Oil Spill Issues

By Rhonda Miller | Published 12 Sep 2011 09:36pm | comments
Steve Simpson is the Republican candidate for attorney general.

The Republican candidate for attorney general is criticizing his Democratic opponent for not fighting hard enough for Mississippi residents who have BP oil spill claims. MPB’s Rhonda Miller has more on the political skirmish.

Republican candidate for attorney general Steve Simpson said Democratic incumbent Jim Hood has been dragging his feet on legal action to resolve BP oil spill claims. Simpson said Monday in his campaign office in Gulfport the citizens of Mississippi deserve better representation.

"The Louisiana attorney general filed litigation against BP over 10 months before Jim Hood did.The Alabama attorney general, 11 months before Jim Hood. And quite frankly, he has still not pursued BP or TransOcean, the Deepwater Horizon rig owner. He has only filed against Ken Feinberg and the claims office," Simpson said.

After an event in Ocean Springs Monday, Hood said he’s been working through a logical process to get claims paid to Mississippi residents.

"Actually, we started with BP. I’ve been the lead of state coastal attorneys general in trying to force Mr. Feinberg to pay people’s claims rapidly and in a fair manner," Hood said.

Simpson also charges Hood with taking campaign contributions from attorneys who are involved in BP lawsuits. He calls those “tainted donations.”

"And the attorney general, who is the consumer advocate, who protects consumers, who is the chief state lawyer, is the one who is obligated to seek out that litigation to make sure Mississippians are made whole, and are protected," Simpson said. "And he didn’t do it, he waited and collected $125,000 in campaign contributions in the last year from law firms that are sitting on the steering committee for the BP plaintiffs' litigation," Simpson said.

Hood said there’s nothing questionable about donations to his campaign.  

"It doesn’t have anything to do with the BP litigation if those lawyers were friends of mine and contributed to our campaign," Hood said. "Companies have contributed, individuals have contributed to our campaign."

With eight weeks left to campaign, the candidates are likely to continue this debate until the Nov. 8 election.






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