The PJ Tatler

A Criminal Organization Masquerading as...

… a political party — Democrats, doing what they do best: suing to beggar people and profiting from it. Now with even more kickbacks! What scum:

When they met at the J. W. Marriott Hotel two blocks from the White House, Linda Singer, a former attorney general turned plaintiffs’ lawyer, approached Attorney General Gary King of New Mexico with an unusual proposition.

Ms. Singer wanted him to sue the owner of a nursing home in rural New Mexico that Mr. King had never heard of and Ms. Singer had never set foot in. She later presented him with a proposed lawsuit that did not cite any specific complaints about care. What she shared with him were numbers on staffing levels gleaned from records suggesting that residents were being mistreated there and at other facilities…

The casual nature of the exchange between the two Democrats, which was among thousands of pages of emails obtained by The New York Times, belied the enormous potential payoff for Ms. Singer’s firm if she could persuade Mr. King to hire her and use his state powers to investigate and sue, which he did.

The partnership is part of a flourishing industry that pairs plaintiffs’ lawyers with state attorneys general to sue companies, a collaboration that has set off a furious competition between trial lawyers and corporate lobbyists to influence these officials.

As the old saying goes, it’s not what’s illegal that’s the real crime — it’s what’s legal. Good for the New York Times for reporting this, even though it makes their beloved Democrats look as bad as they really are. Here’s how the scam works:

The lawsuits follow a pattern: Private lawyers, who scour the news media and public records looking for potential cases in which a state or its consumers have been harmed, approach attorneys general. The attorneys general hire the private firms to do the necessary work, with the understanding that the firms will front most of the cost of the investigation and the litigation. The firms take a fee, typically 20 percent, and the state takes the rest of any money won from the defendants…

In no place has the contingency-fee practice flourished more than in Mississippi, where lawyers hired by Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, have collected $57.5 million in fees during the last two years — three times as much as Mr. Hood has spent on running his state office during the same period.

Mr. Hood has taken in $395,000 in campaign contributions from trial law firms over the last decade, more than any other attorney general.

To be sure, it’s an equal-opportunity racket, but some players are more equal than others:

Over all, plaintiffs’ firms have donated at least $9.8 million directly to state attorneys general and political groups related to attorneys general over the last decade, according to an analysis of campaign finance data by The Times, with more than 76 percent of that money going to Democrats…

The boom in the contingency law business has been driven in part by former attorneys general like Ms. Singer who have capitalized on personal relationships with former colleagues that they have nurtured since leaving office, often at resort destination conferences where they pay to gain access…

“Farming out the police powers of the state to a private firm with a profit incentive is a very, very bad thing,” said Attorney General John Suthers of Colorado, a Republican and a former United States attorney.

Ya think? It’s a long story but well worth your time, unless you’re on your lunch hour, in which case — unless you’re a trial lawyer or a Democrat — it will make you hurl.