An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — For 20 years, the Democrat-controlled Legislature gave former Attorney General Darrell McGraw free rein to run the office in the most unprincipled manner possible.
Whether they were afraid of him or did not want to make waves in a political sea, lawmakers sat on their hands while McGraw ran the office as his own personal fiefdom, allowing him to routinely hire outside lawyers, mostly ones who donated to his election campaigns, to handle lawsuits he filed on behalf of the state.
Many of those cases were settled with extremely lucrative monetary awards, along with hefty attorney fees that went into the pockets of the lawyers McGraw hired.
And lawmakers certainly sat on their hands during the unsuccessful attempts by Republicans in the Legislature to have those huge awards placed in the state budget where they would be under the control of 134 elected senators and delegates. The Legislature allowed one man, McGraw, to divvy the money in ways intended to keep him in office as much as it benefited any groups who may have been fortunate enough to receive funding.
But the voters in 2012 did what the legislators would not. They voted the Democrat McGraw out of office and elected the Republican Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey almost immediately instituted reforms, not the least of which were changes in how outside attorneys are hired and that settlements won by the office go into the budget under the Legislature’s control.
Now politically motivated members of the House of Delegates claim they see potential ethics violations in the attorney general’s office at every turn and they are moving at lightning speed to address it…