Democrat Jay Nixon dismisses charges his opponent has leveled that he acted against the public trust in appointing attorneys in 1998 to handle the state’s lawsuit against tobacco companies.

In unveiling an ethics proposal, Republican Kenny Hulshof accused Jay Nixon of betraying the public trust when he appointed, without seeking bids, Springfield attorney Tom Strong to lead the state’s case against tobacco companies.

Nixon rejects the charge.

"Taxpayers in the state of Missouri paid zero in attorney fees on the tobacco case," Nixon responds, "We won the case. We made Big Tobacco pay."

It came to light later that five firms representing Missouri in the tobacco lawsuit gave more than half a million dollars to political campaigns over an eight-year period. Nearly all the money went to Democrats. Nixon received $95,000.

Nixon denies the lawyers got the contract, because of the contributions.

"Absolutely not," Nixon says, "We hired a strong team, a team that was ready to go to trial. It’s one of the reasons why we were able to secure billions of dollars for Missouri of which, almost now, over a billion and a half have been spent here in Missouri without the taxpayers paying a single dime in legal fees."

Nixon makes a charge of his own; that Hulshof is a hyocrite because, once upon a time, Hulshof did contract work for the Attorney General’s office on a no-bid basis.

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (1:15 MP3)