NOVEMBER 29, 2007
A wealthy attorney, who donated unusually large amounts of money to Democrats in a sparsely populated state considered to be a small political market, has been indicted for trying to bribe a judge.
The question now is whether Democrats in North Dakota, for years rife with political and judicial corruption, will return the tainted money to the generous donor who doesn’t even live in the state?
According to North Dakota Secretary of State Disclosure reports, the indicted donor, prominent lawyer Richard Scruggs, gave Democrats $10,000 in the last election cycle alone.
Prosecutors say that Scruggs conspired to pay a Mississippi judge $50,000 to rule in his favor in a lawsuit relating to Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. The circuit court judge (Henry Lackey) immediately reported the hefty cash offer to federal authorities, however.
Scruggs’ son, also an attorney, was charged too. The elder Scruggs, who is the brother-in-law of Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, made his fortune from asbestos litigation and brokering multibillion-dollar settlements with tobacco companies in the 1990s.
Perhaps a conviction will finally push North Dakota Democrats to return Scruggs’ overly generous out-of-state donations.
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