By VIC SPROUSE
CHARLESTON -- One thing is certain after this last interim legislative session: Democrats, as well as Republicans, have had it with Darrell McGraw.
At least a dozen Democratic lawmakers I spoke with during this interim session have had it up to their ears with Darrell McGraw.
And, Darrell's latest antics have thrown them for a loop.
While I won't be back there next year, the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate will have a budget hole to fill that was dug by Darrell McGraw.
What am I talking about?
The Purdue Pharma settlement.
You remember the one?
The one where Darrell lined the pockets of his wealthy trial lawyer buddies with millions of dollars of contingency fees.
The same one that Darrell decided he knew best on where the money should be spent, thumbing his nose at the legislative leadership and even putting money into Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin's district as the ultimate slap in the face to the Senate leader?
In this same ,Darrell set up a scheme to defraud the federal government of the dollars due it by not giving any of the money back to the DHHR who was a plantiff in the case.
Imagine the scenario where you are wronged. You hire a lawyer. The lawyer settles your case. And, THEN, decides to give your money to charities that he deems appropriate.
That's what Darrell did here. And, his High Priestess, Fran Hughes actually had the audacity to say, "We have arranged a methodology that has prevented the federal government from coming back and seizing money."
In other words, we have figured out a way to screw the federal government and keep all this money so that Darrell can give it away and insure his campaign contributors get rich.
But, the High Priestess was wrong.
And now, the taxpayers of our state will have to pay. Dearly. And, trust me, the Democrats in the Legislature (as well as the Republicans) are fuming.
Their first order of business during the next legislative session? Filling the McGraw Hole in the budget.
The bottom line is this. Darrell and Fran royally screwed this one up. This entire settlement was wrong from start to finish and is the clearest indication of why we need a new AG.
Darrell took money that wasn't his.
He distributed it with no accountability or transparency or even mention to the constitutional spending authority, the Legislature.
He represented 'clients,' DHHR, Workers' Comp who never saw a penny of the claim.
His High Priestess outrightly claimed that the scheme was meant to defraud the federal government of money due them.
He handed that money by the millions to campaign contributors.
And, now, the federal government is going to make the rest of us taxpayers pay back the amount of money they were defrauded.
Just another day in the life of West Virginia under Attorney General Darrell McGraw.
I'm sorry, but Darrell will be lucky to round up 20 Democratic Senators and Delegates total who will vote for him. Hopefully, the average West Virginia is able to see the disasterous effects of the McGraw legacy on West Virginia.