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Gibson writes: "What kind of message does it send to the biggest banks that the top attorney for one of the world's largest economies is too afraid to take them to court after those banks swindled that country out of trillions of dollars?"

Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood. (photo: Rogelia V. Solis/AP)
Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood. (photo: Rogelia V. Solis/AP)


Jim Hood: An Attorney General Who Would Jail the Bankers

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

25 September 14

 

hat kind of message does it send to the biggest banks that the top attorney for one of the world’s largest economies is too afraid to take them to court after those banks swindled that country out of trillions of dollars? While Eric Holder’s legal action against states passing laws encouraging voter suppression are to be commended, he’s been nothing but a disappointment in attaining justice for the victims of the biggest banks. The next U.S. attorney general should be one who has a long track record of standing up for homeowners, consumers, and victims of fraud. We need a top lawyer who’s gone after big oil, big pharma, big insurance, and big banks. That person is Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood.

In June of 2012, Hood sued JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC, and Discover for slamming Mississippians with monthly fees on additional programs they had unintentionally signed up for when applying for identity theft protection on those banks’ cards. According to court documents, customers were bullied into taking on the additional charges through deceptive mail, misleading telemarketing calls, and sometimes even being signed up for programs without any contact whatsoever from the bank. Unfortunately, the federal judge in Mississippi’s Southern District dismissed Hood’s suit against the banks. But imagine what Hood could do to the banks if he were equipped with the Department of Justice’s armies of lawyers.

In June of this year, Hood filed a lawsuit against the Experian credit reporting company on behalf of Mississippians. Hood alleged that Experian had mixed up the identities of consumers, and reported customers’ charges as late or still owing when they had already paid their debts. Hood is demanding an undisclosed amount for punitive damages, alleging Experian knowingly violated consumer protection laws and fair credit reporting laws. The suit is currently awaiting action in federal court. However, if Hood were confirmed as U.S. attorney general, he could work hand-in-hand with consumer advocates like Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray and Senator Elizabeth Warren to seek justice for Experian’s customers across the nation.

Jim Hood has a track record of commitment not only to victims of financial fraud, but of insurance fraud. Not long after his first election, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. While most of the media paid attention to the extreme loss of life in New Orleans and the oil-soaked wetlands of Southern Louisiana, large segments of Mississippi’s coastal cities like Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Long Beach were completely wiped out.

When insurance companies were intentionally denying claims from homeowners and business owners in those towns, Hood said they were “... in lockstep like Nazis locking arms, coming at those people down there on the coast.” State Farm eventually agreed to pay $80 million to 600 policyholders who sued the company for refusing to cover Katrina damage, and another $50 million for policyholders who had their claims denied but didn’t sue. However, a county judge in Mississippi threw out Hood’s lawsuits against big insurers in 2009 after claiming he had no standing to bring the suit, since the insurance claims were private contracts between the companies and the policyholders. However, if Hood’s lawsuits against predatory insurance companies were backed by the legal arm of the U.S. government, survivors of natural disasters all over the nation would have a reliable ally in Washington.

After BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Hood was responsible for keeping the oil company honest in paying out claims. Hood alleged that the $20 billion escrow fund BP had trusted to Kenneth Feinberg, an independent manager, was full of “... sweeping deficiencies and violations of law,” and required federal oversight. Hood used the fund’s own documents to prove that only a “paltry” amount had been paid to claim filers since the fund’s inception, and favored BP’s interests over the interests of those who had filed claims.

Additionally, Hood defended Mississippians hoodwinked by BP in the immediate aftermath of the oil spill by saying the company’s hush payments were illegal. Hood alleged BP made victims of the spill sign documents granting individuals $5,000 and businesses $25,000 in immediate payments if they voided their right to sue in the future. Hood argued the 200,000 people who signed the documents still have the right to sue, as they were not in a position to wait for a proper settlement from the courts and were forced to accept immediate cash to maintain their homes and businesses. Thanks partially to Hood’s call for federal intervention, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this past June that BP must fully pay out all claims, even the ones currently disputed in appeals court.

Big pharmaceutical companies would also have a lot to fear from Jim Hood’s confirmation as attorney general. One afternoon in 2010, when I still covered the state capitol for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Hood called the media into his office to announce an $18 million settlement against pharmaceutical kingpin Eli Lilly, for misleading consumers about ailments the drug Zyprexa could be used to cure. The announcement came on the tail end of a 4-year-long legal battle that had just been made public that day. Thanks to Hood’s lawsuit, Mississippi and 12 other states that sued recovered the settlement through their divisions of Medicaid, which helped more low-income families have access to healthcare.

If Obama were to pick Hood as the next U.S. attorney general, he would be unburdened by the local Mississippi judges that threw out his lawsuits against the big insurers and big banks. If Jim Hood had the legal arm of the U.S. government behind him, the DOJ wouldn’t just secure slap-on-the-wrist settlements from criminal banking enterprises like AG Holder did for Chase’s fraudulent mortgage practices and HSBC’s money laundering for drug cartels. Jim Hood might just be the first U.S. attorney general to put bankers in jail. As the top lawyer for the United States, Hood would have access to consult with attorneys in Iceland, who helped jail the bankers who caused their financial crisis and saw their economy grow as a result.

The Obama administration is still scanning the field for potential attorneys general. Let’s point him in the right direction by rallying behind Jim Hood. Sign this petition for Obama to pick Hood as Eric Holder’s successor, and for the U.S. Senate to confirm him with haste. We deserve an AG who won’t bow down to corporate special interests, and who works exclusively for the people.


Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+51 # indian weaver 2014-09-26 13:12
I don't think anyone good like Jim Hood will ever be allowed in our government again, considering the government is only a shill / front for the Wehrmacht, Banks and similar criminal cults. Obama / the AG sold our government to the banks. The government is no longer a public institution. It is a corporation designed to take over the world at any and all costs, and destroy democracy / We the People worldwide for their personal wealth. Capitalism at the extreme, this is what it looks like.
 
 
+11 # politicfix 2014-09-27 12:33
I don't think it's Capitalism anymore. It's inverted totalitarianism .
 
 
+43 # bobcat4evah 2014-09-26 16:20
My impression is that it's quite unfair to say that somehow Eric Holder didn't want to jail the bankers or is in cahoots with them. If you saw the expression on his face the days around the disclosure of the decision to settle, it's pretty clear he was disgusted. The fact is this country has become an oligarchy - maybe it's always been one: a couple of hundred years of struggle for the vote by those not in the elite doesn't speak well of the Founders' intent. Expecting one or two good people embedded in the system to be able to make a significant difference is fantastic - in both meanings of the word. Being an antiwar veteran of the sixties, I am heartened by the young willing to transform the whole system: capitalism, as it exists, must go; resources must belong to, and be good for, the people as a whole - it's a huge fight. I doubt this AG could do anything differently within the corporate owned system, even if he was perfectly wise... which obviously he isn't.
 
 
+9 # RLF 2014-09-27 09:09
If it is impossible for someone with integrity to get into a position of power in this country, then it is time for this country to no longer exist...it has outlived it's usefulness to the people...and that is it's only purpose.
 
 
+6 # Passing Through 2014-09-27 10:30
Quoting RLF:
If it is impossible for someone with integrity to get into a position of power in this country, then it is time for this country to no longer exist...it has outlived it's usefulness to the people...and that is it's only purpose.


Agreed: but now that the country is a Corporation, We the People are merely assets, to be exploited in all ways like any other piece of property...
 
 
+7 # politicfix 2014-09-27 13:05
If all the people banned together they can do amazing things, but the politicians, who are front men for the wealthiest in the world, have divided the people in order to pass their agenda Thus, the phrase divide and conquer. I guess we haven't hit rock bottom to where all people will fight back against this aggression.
 
 
0 # ritawalpoleague 2014-09-29 05:37
Sad to say, bobcat4evah, I also was "...heartened by the young willing to transform the whole system...". It gave me a huge ray of hope, back in '08 as Obama was going up against Hillary Clinton for nomination as Dem. candidate for Pres., to see the extremely mass numbers of young folks, in Denver, turn out to cheer and hold dear candidate Obama, the man who promised HOPE and CHANGE. Wow, were we all conned.

This pres., whom I now call Oh Bomb Ah, was and is, along with his appointees such as Eric Holder, the DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE CENTURY.

So obvious it is, for any of us paying close attention, that this administration is a mere continuation and upping of the Bushwhacked presidency, with far too many pols. jumping as their strings are pulled by the evil villainaires, our actual rulers. These evil villainaires include not only the CEO's of the big/bad banks, a.k.a. Wall Streeters, but also are endless warmongering and earth destroying military-indust rial complex (MIC) and fossil 'foolers', a.k.a. the Kochsuckers.

Not an accident that this pres. stated he was going to veto the 2012 NDAA, then silently signed it, late on New Year's eve, in Hawaii. Nor was it accidental that AG Holder and his staff refused to investigate the dreadful brutalizing/tor ture by cops of permitted parade participants. Could not deter govt. operatives now having total control in this our...POLICE STATE AIN'T GREAT
 
 
+31 # hsfrey 2014-09-26 17:16
Just look at Obama's other appointments, to his Cabinet and Regulatory agencies.

The LAST thing he wants is someone who will go after the big banks that put him in office.

And don't expect action from Hillary either, who has even sat on the Board of Directors of mega-banks.

The only one who would do anything positive, won't run.
 
 
# Guest 2014-09-26 17:17
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+9 # cymricmorty 2014-09-27 02:44
Quoting moafu@yahoo.com:
Thanks, Carl,
Holder stripped Lady Justice of her blindfold, painted her black, and then crapped on the scales. Would not want to be him when he stands before the "Judge of all the earth".


The bible-thumping racist weighs in.
 
 
+46 # Texas Aggie 2014-09-26 18:06
This guy really sounds too good to be true. Let's have some more information on him.

If someone like this were nominated while the prohibition against filibusters is in effect, the repubs would have a hissy fit. They would yearn for the good times with Eric Holder.
 
 
+4 # JSRaleigh 2014-09-28 14:37
Quoting Texas Aggie:
This guy really sounds too good to be true. Let's have some more information on him.

If someone like this were nominated while the prohibition against filibusters is in effect, the repubs would have a hissy fit. They would yearn for the good times with Eric Holder.


That he's the kind of guy who would try to put the banksters in jail practically guarantees he would never even be considered for the job.
 
 
+43 # lorenbliss 2014-09-26 18:24
Thank you, Mr. Gibson. Though I'm not a Southerner, familial dysfunction decreed I lived much of my boyhood in the South; hence I know the region can produce some fine human beings despite its deservedly bad reputation for racism and Christian fanaticism. Obviously Jim Hood is one of those good people -- and, yes, I have therefore signed the petition that he be named Eric Holder's replacement.
 
 
+10 # tedrey 2014-09-26 18:37
Here's some information to start forming an opinion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Hood

http://www.ago.state.ms.us/

http://www.governing.com/photos/mississippi-attorney-general-jim-hood.html

Looks good to me so far.
 
 
-22 # MidwesTom 2014-09-26 19:18
I will bet my apples on a woman, maybe even a lesbian, or a Muslim for political reasons. To chose someone lake Mr. Hood would be way out of character for Obama, and the NYC bankers will not let him do that. Eric Holder has made progress in many areas, but I am sure that he will command a salary in private life that puts hum safely in the 0.01%.
 
 
+21 # reiverpacific 2014-09-26 20:30
Quoting MidwesTom:
I will bet my apples on a woman, maybe even a lesbian, or a Muslim for political reasons. To chose someone lake Mr. Hood would be way out of character for Obama, and the NYC bankers will not let him do that. Eric Holder has made progress in many areas, but I am sure that he will command a salary in private life that puts hum safely in the 0.01%.

"Maybe even a LESBIAN"????
You're apples must be fallen and rotten!
As the loving and proud father of a Lesbian daughter (A fine and respected chef in your neck of the woods at that) who emerged as such of her own volition and experience, what's your fucking point in using this kind of rhetoric which is right up the alley of "Fixed" news lie and bigotry-merchan ts if you have one you smug, self-satisfied git?!
 
 
-9 # RLF 2014-09-27 09:14
I'm afraid you're right Tom...and it will be the most important thing to the president along with a closer second that they prosecute no torturers, bankers, police murderers, etc. He certainly won't pick a minority with spunk and integrity that they would express...and there are plenty off those around...in fact...I voted for Obama hoping for that and got just another Harvard Law asshole.
 
 
+12 # Passing Through 2014-09-27 11:16
While I agree wholeheartedly that the reality of the Obama presidency looks very different from what we dreamed of back in 2008 and 2012, I'm still not sorry that I didn't vote for McCain/Palin or Romney/Ryan. However bad things are, I firmly believe they would be far, far worse under either of those cretinous combos.
 
 
+26 # Shorey13 2014-09-26 19:41
Holder was simply following the orders of his boss, who will never appoint someone like Jim Hood. Not only that, Congress would never approve his appointment anyway. The whole national government has been bought, lock, stock and barrel.
 
 
+18 # Majikman 2014-09-26 22:12
Carl, he sounds like a man of courage and morality with the best interests of the citizens of his state at heart. Clearly this disqualifies him for US Atty. Gen'l.
 
 
-12 # lnason@umassd.edu 2014-09-27 10:02
As a citizen who has been sickened by the news of Holder's extortion of deep-pocketed businesses, this guy would be a breath of fresh air.

We will never actually know whether or not the banks were guilty of anything since neither the banks nor Holder (Obama/Geithner /Lew/etc.) wanted to air the case in a public court. And we have no way to know whether the various plea deals were unfair to banks or unfair to consumers or unfair to taxpayers.

And I expect that most Republicans would also welcome an AG, no matter how biased his antibusiness positions might be, who would actually take the banks to court. They believe the banks are innocent and would be vindicated in court.

I am not sure whether the banks were innocent victims of federal extortion or the evil fraudsters that most respondents here assume, but it would be nice to have a court case so that the facts can be made public.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+8 # Passing Through 2014-09-27 10:36
Well written, nicely worded, completely inaccurate bulls**t.
 
 
+3 # Walter J Smith 2014-09-28 09:22
He has been the civic equivalent of comatose since 2007.
 
 
+11 # cymricmorty 2014-09-27 11:16
Quoting lnason: "I am not sure whether the banks were innocent victims of federal extortion or the evil fraudsters that most respondents here assume..."

Koch programming at work here.
 
 
+3 # Passing Through 2014-09-27 19:59
Quoting cymricmorty:
Quoting lnason: "I am not sure whether the banks were innocent victims of federal extortion or the evil fraudsters that most respondents here assume..."

Koch programming at work here.

That's some serious malware, dude...
 
 
0 # PeacefulGarden 2014-09-28 07:38
Ah, forget it. We don't need an Attorney General. Lets just leave the position empty.

Or, how about hiring someone like that amazon.com CEO, or how about the CEO of Burger King, no wait, how about the second cousin of the CEO of NRA. No, wait, lets resurrect Robert E. Lee!
 
 
+2 # Walter J Smith 2014-09-28 09:20
The primary purpose of the Attorney General is to protect the Bankers and Financiers. Those bankers and financiers are the primary winners in the auctions for the Democratic and the Republican votes - every vote that comes up.
 
 
0 # video4315 2014-09-29 12:52
The reality is that Eric Holder announced his intention to leave, just as soon as his replacement is confirmed. Given the intransigence of Congress, a confirmation for anyone Obama nominates doesn't appear to be something to expect for some time to come. On the other hand, so many Republicans hate Eric Holder so much that if Obama nominated a lightweight, they might go for it in order to get Holder out as soon as possible.
 

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