“Trent Lott Called”

I haven’t been covering the Dickie Scruggs case mostly because folo has been covering it very nicely. The short update is the whole thing has exploded as four or five different cases merge into one–and none of it looks good for Scruggs. The Scruggses are due to give a deposition just after the new year in one of these cases, apparently to collect evidence on when they first contracted with two whistleblower-sisters who collected evidence against State Farm and got it into the Scruggses hands.

Lotus posted something today that deserves wider notice. In a post describing Trent Lott’s rather hasty retreat from the Senate (both in general, and last night at precisely 10:45 PM), lotus points out that Trent Lott shows up in some of the filings from this time period, in particular the notes of one of the engineers involved in the case. Trent Lott called, the notes begin.


The notes go on and on about Trent’s anger at State Farm, ending with a record of just how mad Trent is.


Now, lotus speculates more about what this might mean for Trent, particularly since it appears that the Scruggses tried to get State Farm in legal trouble in hopes it would make their lawsuits easier to win.

Asshole though he be, Trent Lott is not totally stupid (though he may have been for a while stupified by rage at State Farm). He knows that, despite all his long years’ effort to the contrary, a large number of Mississippians can read and reason and see this trail he’s left, and where it’s heading. There he is down on paper conferring with the whistle-blower (or thief, depending on your standpoint) who worked with Dickie and Jim Hood to coerce a civil settlement via state-applied – possibly criminally state-applied – pressure. Is he the one who hooked them up to the FBI and U.S. Attorney?

But for the moment, I’m interested in this note, which suggests that the sole reason Trent came back this year is so he could legislate his way to revenge against State Farm–or, at the very least, legislate away the insurance companies’ ability to collude.


Now, perhaps I’m mis-reading this note. But it seems to reflect Trent’s well-publicized contemplation of retirement last year, rather than running for re-election. It seems to provide an explanation for why he decided, in the end, to run for re-election: to get even with State Farm.

Given the explosive mess Trent’s brother-in-law is in now, in his efforts to get State Farm, perhaps Trent decided he would no longer be able to accomplish his aim, to "fix" the insurance mess.

I wonder though. If that’s true, then how did Trent know, the day before Scruggs got indicted, that it was going to get a lot harder to go after State Farm so quickly?

44 replies
  1. scribe says:

    Y’know, even though I never thought much of Trent Lott (A good example of his stomach-souring behavior: remember how he went nuts on WJC for launching cruise missiles against bin Laden – before anyone of us knew who bin Laden was – at the height of the impeachment debacle?), if he was going to avoid retiring just so he could stay in the Senate to “get” State Farm, that raises him a couple notches in my estimation.

    There is no insurance company in the world which does not deserve to be (legally) flayed, just as a matter of principle. Too bad he didn’t get to do it and too bad it seems the means chosen were, um, maybe less-than-exemplary.

    As to “how did he know the day before Scruggs got indicted” – 2 ways. 1. Scruggs got a target letter and word of that got to Trent. 2. DoJ or WH (is there any distinction?) told him to git while the getting was good.

    • bmaz says:

      Ah, see, another resident barrister confirms the carrier carnage! I am sorry they just flat suck; there is not a black hole big enough for them to be collapsed into for eternity as far as I am concerned.

  2. BayStateLibrul says:

    At first, I thought S.F. was San Francisco?

    Was Trent’s claim “Blowing in the Wind?”

    That model of capitalism (the WSJ) took aim at Lott:

    “The Mississippian was “infuriated” by the insurance industry’s refusal to shell out for certain Katrina claims, most notably his own. So Mr. Lott is spearheading a ferocious campaign of political revenge that would make even Henry Waxman envious–replete with investigations, voracious trial lawyers, ambitious state attorneys general and threats of punitive federal legislation. And like most personal grievances that get morphed into policy battles, it’s ending badly for consumers.”

    Funny, how things change went it happens to you..

  3. emptywheel says:

    No–the whole thing was about SF.

    And yes, scribe, my estimation for him does go up a notch.

    Pity a bunch of huge legal allegations prevented him from finishing the job.

  4. bmaz says:

    Two points. Lott has his own insurance claim issue; I am not positive SF is the carrier, but I am almost certain it is. It is a nasty dispute he’s got going too. Now there is not much out there that pisses me off enough to side up with Trent Lott; State Farm Insurance and it’s malicious claim practices is very easily one of them. As much as we around here harbor a jaundiced view of Lott, I am here to tell you, he may literally be a good guy compared to SF. If he went back to the Senate to do something about the colluding, immoral, chiselling state of claim practice in the insurance industry, and State Faarm in particular; that is fine with me. It is a very worthy task. My only gripe here would be that he ripped off his constituents by only serving one of the six years he was elected to and, more importantly, I have seen no progress against the insurance reich.

    Secondly, keep in mind, again, who is on the other side of Scruggs/Lott. The insurance consortium, State Farm and the politically charged DOJ witch hunters. There is no dirty trick, underhanded manipulation nor rule of conduct and/or law that they will not employ to take out their adversaries. Scruggs and Lott are undoubtedly not clean choirboys here, but I still like their side a whole lot better than the insurance henchmen/BushDOJ side. They are all cads in this story, it is simply a question of who are the better cads. State Farm ought to collectively be spending life in prison for the way they run their racket.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Agreed and each Senator who doesn’t think waterboarding is toture, should
      be waterboarded… and if we had a draft, the War might be winding down
      by now…

  5. emptywheel says:


    I’m not disagreeing with you about SF at all–and yes, Lott’s suit is against SF, and Scruggs was representing him. Nor am I saying I’m opposed to teh idea of Lott coming back to the Senate to make it impossible for SF to do this again.

    But it appears that a lot of Lott’s explanations don’t make sense. I find that notable, which is all I was trying to do, note them, going forward.

    • bmaz says:

      I know, I wasn’t taking issue with anything you said; just, ahem, appending the record. As all might have picked up on, I kind of come to this discussion with some, um, pre-conceived ideas…. I have no doubt that Scruggs et. al. have wallowed in the muck, and there is some significant indication they went deeper than was reasonable, and went beyond shading grey areas to flat out violations. I cannot emphasize enough how rough and cutthroat this type of litigation is; if you haven’t seen it close up, it is hard to grasp. The stakes are absolutely enormous and, as rich and powerful as Scruggs and Lott are, they are nothing compared to their adversaries. Scruggs may very well have ginned up and underwritten a couple of little old lady whistleblowers; the better question is are they right about the carriers. The answer is almost certainly, and they probably haven’t seen and disclosed half of the crap the carriers pull.

  6. Peterr says:

    Knowing Trent Lott — not personally, mind you, just by observation — I’d venture a WAG that even if he leaves the Senate now, he’ll keep after SF. He’ll still have friends in the Senate (and House) who will carry the water for him. His best line with them will be simple: “When the next disaster hits your state/district, do you want to have to go through what I’ve had to deal with?” If they balk oe hesitate, his reply is even simpler: “When that disaster comes, and your constituents get screwed, and then they find out you knew how SF and the insurance companies acted and yet did nothing about it, how do you think that’s gonna affect your reelection campaign?”

    But Lott’s still going to have an uphill battle. There’s a big chunk of insurance money on K Street, and weaning his old colleagues away from that trough will be a real trick.

  7. corvus says:

    I am wondering why State Farm didn’t just pay Trent for whatever he claimed. What would the downside for State Farm be? They write him a check, legal bribery, and then call him next time they want something.

    I am not talking about what is legal or ethical but why would any insurance company balk at any claim from any US Senator?

    • bmaz says:

      Lott is too public; it would set a standard the greedy chumps can (supposedly) ill afford. The distinction at bar is wind versus water/flood cause damage. To settle up with and take care of Lott would require giving coverage for water/flood; can’t let the public seeing you do that if you are State Farm, the precedent could cost billions.

  8. emptywheel says:

    Especially one who lost his house as publicly as Lott?

    And if you look at the notes, Lott says he had been compensated for wind damage twice before, so he had reason to think they were fishy in this case.

  9. corvus says:

    If they had paid him right up front why would that amount ever become public?

    I guess I expect that every insurance company is aware of their policies with elected officials and would “resolve” any claims immediately to avoid publicity, to make a friend, and to avoid the kind of trouble a politician could bring them.

    • bmaz says:

      First off, his house is right on the gulf shore, everybody and their brother would see the results and ask questions. Other plaintiffs would subpoena the details of their settlement with Lott and there you go. There would be no way of keeping it confidential under the circumstances extant.

        • bmaz says:

          If it was an average citizen, it could probably be slid through; a powerful US Senator like Lott,no way. Lets say you were client living in one of those chloroform/formaldehyde laden Katrina trailers, with a bunch of other similar friends in trailers, who can’t get State Farm to pay your claim; but you see Blockhead Lott rebuilding his house. Don’t you come to me and say “What the hell is going on here, I’m dying in a trailer and they aren’t even going to have to freaking embalm me when I’m dead because I’ll already be pickled from that trailer, and that Blockhead Lott is rebuilding his mansion. That is unfair; go make a stink and expose this fraud or I’ll find a lawyer that can”! So I dutifully go out and start making motions in court and talking to the press about the inequality of it all. And, if by chance you are Cajun or black, I start screaming racism to boot. See where this is going now? Heh heh and that is exactly how it would go too….

  10. JohnLopresti says:

    Based on the news I hear from work associates mostly in MS, that part of the shore is pretty, and the centuries old lifestyle of the sort agrarian landed aristocracy long to retire to enjoy, though Katrina wrought havoc to about half the old buildings there, and as a much earlier thread observed, there is a kind of riverboatgambling zone there now; I heard a segment of an NPR program describing the reconstruction as funneling cash to condos and expansion of the rboatgambl enterprize zone recently.

  11. LS says:

    I don’t like Trent Lott’s thinking in general one iota, but being a flood victim that dealt with the insurance companies for a couple of years…the rage you feel as you view the rubble that was once your home…makes you crazy with rage…

    Now, if he could just learn from this life to empathize with victims of the bombs he helped dropped on innocent victims in the M.E., maybe the mofo could learn something in this life…but that would be too much to ask…next lifetime eh?

    His rage appears “narrow”.

  12. JohnLopresti says:

    The imaged writing about the retirement location is actually a different part of the state, more central and isolated between capitol and MS River, in Hinds County, composite state of MS map of all counties, moderate bytesize. I think there is a second family residence close to the coast; might look like the one on this coastal city web site. It is a region with space agency, commercial maritime, and otherwise something like a miniNorfolk slower with less folks living there.

  13. JohnLopresti says:

    There may be a post on that tryggth in ew’s future. I was reviewing some background in the Chavez and Putin thread the day recently when Putin was still maneuvering before his next election and his anointing of a successor, when he was in Belarus trying to reconstruct part of the CCCP, theorists speculating a new union might allow a new title, and thereby yet another term for Putin; oil figures in that geopolitics. There is some information about the kind of reserves Chavez has compared to the rest of the world, as well, but my research incomplete. The pace has picked up at fdl nicely.

  14. bmaz says:

    Incompetent crony nepotism confirmed again. Senate confirms Julie Myers as head of ICE.

    Myers was among more than 30 people whose appointments were approved by a voice vote of the Senate as it concluded its session.

    Bush had used a recess appointment in 2005 to put Myers, then 36, in charge of ICE, the branch of the Homeland Security Department that enforces immigration laws, when the Senate appeared unlikely to confirm her. Although she was a former Treasury official and assistant U.S. attorney, lawmakers debated whether she had enough experience to lead the agency.

    Critics also noted her personal connections within the Bush administration. She was engaged — and is now married — to John F. Wood, who was chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and is now the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo. Ret. Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is her uncle.

    Her appointment ran into trouble again this fall when she gave the “most original” costume award to a white employee who came to the agency’s Halloween party dressed as an escaped prisoner with dreadlocks and darkened skin.

    Another great day of strategic parliamentary maneuvers for our brilliant Democratic Leadersheep. They confirmed the colossal twit Myers by a freaking single voice vote on a block of 30 different nominations. Pathetic effort by our bozos. I wonder what kind of shoe shine Reid got for shepherding this unfit idiot through?

  15. mangler says:

    Looking back, and without anything but a vague recollection, it sure seems like Trent did his best to patch up his icy relations with the administration over the past year or so, doesn’t it? I wonder if that’s a coincidence…heh heh.

  16. Rayne says:

    Oh good gravy, another SPECIAL REPORT on NBC this morning, like clockwork…

    Punkinhaid Russert gives the intro, cuts to John Yang, who’s apparently at the presidential news conference.

    WTF? Sounds like Dubya’s giving a lecture to Congress before he bails out to Camp David. Cracks a lame-assed joke about the holiday reception for the press, that Gregory should give back the silverware that went missing…

    He looks very tired, to the point of illness, sounds exhausted. Who whipped him into this?

  17. Rayne says:

    AMT bill — good Congress.

    Energy bill — good Congress.

    Mortgage bill — good Congress.

    Anytime now the sticks are going to follow those carrots…

    Ooh, thanks them for the spending bill and the war monies.

    Here’s the sticks: disappointed in the lumping of spending into an omnibus, irresponsible so close to holiday, so many earmarks at last hour w/o debate. Some progress on transparency and earmarks, but not enough.

    [blow it out your butt, Dubya, that’s how you got your freaking war money, by greasing the skids.]

  18. Rayne says:

    Now here comes the BIG stick — whining about the PAA.

    “First priority of Congress after the new year should be passing a good bill” in re: PAA. Mentions liability of corporations — got his slug in about immunity, didn’t he?

    You know, it strikes me he’s actually had to do more reading of notes rather than get his speeches “phoned in”.

    Ooh, first question about the tapes. I’m going to have to get the transcript, not going to do it justice. Parsing his answer too carefully, must have practice this part all night.

  19. Rayne says:

    Blow-off answer about Putin as Man of the Year to Reuters’ Carol Bohan.

    Now running out the clock, filibustering about his relationship with this Congress and Dem leadership in response to question by John Yang/NBC. Jeebus, this part makes it look like NBC actively set up this overlong moving photo-op.

    Bill Plante/CBS, asking about benchmarks set by Iraqis in re: improvements. Uses this as an opportunity to dig at current Congress taking too long to pass bills he wants, says not good to make comparison of Iraqi parliament’s performance comparison to our Congress. “To say nothing’s happening is simply not the case.”

    John Cochran/NBC, on presidential race — based on experience, are religious views important? Dubya avoids the religion question, reframes as principles, hesitant to support anybody who uses focus groups to lead, more filibustering… (Thank you once again, NBC) Jeepers, Cochran gets a followup on same.

    Bret Baier/Fox — asks about review of Afghanistan, sounds like a softball (natch). Dubya answers by defining what a review is, blah-blah-blah…

    Gawd, I want to shut this off, but I’m afraid somebody might ask more about the tapes. He already danced around with his “I have faith in the system” response to first question.

  20. Rayne says:

    Ugh, it goes on…”I’d like to thank the Canadians, the Danes, other countries…uh, the Aussies…”

    {You forgot Poland. Oh, yeah, they bailed out. Maybe he forgot Ukraine.]

    More lecturing, “it’s necessary work, it’s hard work…we will prevail.” Jeebus, that’s so ‘V for Vendetta’.

    • Neil says:

      thanks for the live-blogging. you watched it so we didn’t have to.

      i got most of my christmas shopping done yesterday. traffic was light, roads were clear, lines were short. nonetheless, i arrived home feeling sick (again). the lingering flu that started after Thanksgiving has given way to a head cold and sore throat. time for cold remedies.

      it’s snowing again in boston.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Neil, hope you are feeling better.
        Wow. He is sidestepping the CIA issue…. just like Plame…
        I hope we have found our “Daniel Ellsberg” in the CIA destruction tapes.
        You can’t get any higher crime than this…

  21. Rayne says:

    NYT: How concerned are you about criticism around the world about handling of tapes?

    “Wait and see what happens…we are asking people to do hard things…”

    Fluffy, avoidant answer, has that bit about spreading democracy down pat.

  22. BayStateLibrul says:

    Taxing “hard working” Subchapter S dudes…
    If you listen carefully to this idiot, we should just abolish TAXES.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, that was one of the lamest bits in the entire speech, following his expected but excessively filibustered and parsed “no comment” on the tapes.

      No, we don’t want to tax little companies that form LLC’s and S-corps. We just want the BIG guys in the top 5% of income who form corporations not to do business, but to shelter assets on and offshore.

  23. Rayne says:

    Jeepers. Andrea Mitchell recaps at end about the tapes, with Punkinhaid Russert actually expressing concern about the use of the word “recollection”.

    Neil, I couldn’t stick it out like EW, who can really get the nitty-gritty and still insert snark. My brain locks up whenever the really controversial stuff comes up, need to concentrate on it to the exclusion of on-board CPU required to type at the same time. Hope you’re feeling better soon; there’s warmer weather coming in less than 24 hours your way, if our weather is any indication.

  24. BayStateLibrul says:

    Recommendation: Each question should have a follow-up, to refute
    this fucker and all his parsing, lies, and mis-information..

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