An editorial by The Spirit of Jefferson:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Last week’s Spirit included a short but important story about decisions related to how Attorney General Patrick Morrisey went after a convenience store owner for price gouging after the January chemical leak into Elk River sent hundreds of thousands of West Virginians scrambling for bottled water.
Turns out, before Morrisey’s office had notified Achraf Assi of the charges against him – in fact, even before the AG’s office had taken any official action in court – Morrisey shelled out state money to ensure TV stations knew of his role.
Morrisey’s office paid The Media Center to have a video crew at Assi’s Mid Valley Mart in Putnam County when the charges were served so that TV stations had footage of the attorney general they could easily put on the air.
“I will not tolerate bad apples that are trying to misrepresent West Virginia consumers – it’s just not going to happen on my watch,” Morrisey said in the interview that he taped for distribution.
It’s not the first time that Morrisey has gone to great lengths – and great expense – to get his message out. According to The Charleston Gazette’s story, Morrisey has hired The Media Center eight times in the past year. Each time, Morrisey has used state money to have the company record and distribute interviews wherein he discusses gun rights, Medicaid fraud and other topics.
Morrisey’s office has paid $14,080 in public money for the services, according to state purchasing records.
That would be bad enough on its own, but it’s especially tough to stomach given that as a candidate for Attorney General, Morrisey chose to make an enormous to-do about then-Attorney General Darrell McGraw’s spending state money on pillboxes and other trinkets.
When Morrisey came into office, he held a splashy news conference where he showed off pillboxes, magnets and other items from the McGraw era and vowed his office wouldn’t waste the public’s money that way.
“We believe the inappropriate use of taxpayer money is no laughing matter,” said the Republican from Harpers Ferry.
At least under McGraw, West Virginians had pill containers and other doo-dads they might put to good use. Now your state tax dollars are literally going into the thin air – because Morrisey hopes he’ll end up on your TV screen looking like a good guy.