Mississippi's Attorney General says he wants to preserve records involving a $2 million dollar road project that has come into question for an independent investigation. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
State Attorney General Jim Hood says it's his duty to investigate a proposed $2 million dollar frontage road project in Flowood near Jackson. The road would connect a gated community where Lt. Governor Tate Reeves lives with a shopping hub. The Clarion Ledger reported the director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation said there was political pressure from the "Senate side" to get the project done. Reeves presides over the Senate. MDOT put the project on hold to reassess the need. Jim Hood has notified all agencies involved to preserve emails, texts and documents about the issue.
"If they don't have anything they oughta turn over all of them and turn them over to the media, any kind of emails, texts, those type transmissions regarding this project oughta be turned over. If it were me and I were in that position, I certainly would do that particularly if it was property of a legislator that could increase the value," said Hood.
Hood explained that legislators are exempt from the Open Records Act. He said the notification is necessary to preserve the evidence for an independent review.
"Any information they have on it good, bad, or indifferent, if anybody who wants to come in and talk to us they will be treated as a confidential informant. We'll take that type of information as well," said Hood.
The investigation creates a clash between Hood and Reeves who are both expected to run for governor in 2019. Republican Reeves says in a statement the letter is political grandstanding by an ambitious Democrat running for office. Reeves says he's committed to finding out if there was any undue political influence by the senate or staff members. He added he has asked the director of MDOT for any documentation to support her suggestion. She hasn't yet responded.