By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – State Attorney General Jim Hood said his office has not been disrupted by his decision to move back to Chickasaw County and work primarily out of a newly opened office in Houston.
Hood, the state’s only statewide elected Democrat, spoke of the decision to move back home and a litany of other issues Monday at the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute/Capitol press corps luncheon in Jackson.
When Hood announced in late July his intention to move back home, he said he would use space in his father’s law office on the square in Houston rent-free as a northern satellite office that would be his primary work space. But he said upon further reflection, he feared that would put too much stress on his father’s law practice so he opted to rent space.
Hood already has an office on the Gulf Coast, and he said he had long believed there needed to be one in north Mississippi.
He said the location, which was the lowest bid received for AG’s space, is in the old Federal Land Bank building south of the Houston square, but in the city limits. He said the office is costing the state $750 per month for a 1,680-square-foot space that is used by him and investigators from his office who work in the area.
Because of “the way communications have changed and the way we do business,” Hood said it causes no problems for him to work out of Houston. He said he normally travels from Northeast Mississippi to Jackson every week, but said he has an experienced staff of attorneys whom he trusts.
Hood, who is the incoming president of the National Attorneys General Association, said he intends to run for re-election in 2015.
Hood also said at the Stennis luncheon he has drafted a letter to circulate to the other states’ attorneys general asking for a meeting with Internet search provider Google.
Hood, who heads up the National Attorneys General Association intellectual property theft efforts, has been critical of Google for its search engine leading Internet users to sites to obtain various items such as drugs, movies and songs through methods that bypass the owners of those items. Google has said the sites are removed from the search engine if it receives complaints from the owners of the property.
Hood has hinted before at the possibility of a nationwide lawsuit by AGs to combat Google.
“I hope it does not come to that,” Hood said Monday. “They are such a big company.”
Hood defended his decision to hire attorneys on a hourly basis to try to recoup money from BP related to the massive 2010 oil leak in the Gulf Coast. Hood said numerous attorneys from several firms are working on the case. In the past, he has been criticized for hiring private attorneys on a contingency fee basis.