Does Mississippi’s attorney general need bodyguards? Until Lynn Fitch got the job, those who served in that position apparently did not think it did.
Fitch, in her first term as the state’s chief legal officer, has been in the news recently over her use — and alleged misuse — of taxpayer-provided security personnel.
Her 80-year-old stepmother, with whom the attorney general is squabbling over the care of Lynn Fitch’s ailing father, claims the attorney general sent bodyguards to seize money, firearms and personal belongings from the stepmother’s home without permission.
Whether that claim is true, we don’t know. But it is a fact that the state Department of Public Safety is providing security for her, allegedly because of an unspecified threat to her safety.
Acting like the good soldier, Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said the expense was justified because Fitch litigates controversial issues and because she defends positions that can be unpopular.
She wouldn’t be the first one in that job to ruffle feathers, though. The last two attorneys general, Mike Moore and Jim Hood, upset a lot more folks than she did, especially because they, unlike Fitch, were Democrats serving in a state that went heavily Republican. Hood, who served for four terms prior to Fitch, declined the offer of a security detail, according to the Clarion Ledger’s reporting. The story does not say whether Moore ever used state-financed bodyguards, but a quick internet search did not turn up any mention of such.
Fitch is only the fourth current state officeholder with a security detail. The others are Gov. Tate Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn.
Reeves should have the protection. Although it’s rare for a state governor to be the target of violence, you never know, especially given how well-known they are and how crackpots tend to fixate on the well-known. Just last year, for example, Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, was the target of a kidnapping plot rooted in anger over the COVID-19 restrictions she has imposed in that state.
As for those lower on the ladder in state government, we’re not convinced the expense is justified. A prosecutor who regular puts violent criminals behind bars has more to worry about than does Fitch.
- The Greenwood Commonwealth