Hughes' 'brilliant plan' for a satellite office in the eastern Panhandle

One thing you can say about State Attorney General Darrell McGraw: He's persistent. When old Quick Draw gets an idea for tooting his own horn at taxpayer expense, there's no talking him out of it. The state Legislature can deny the funding necessary to finance the glorification of McGraw, but that won't stop him. He'll just try to find another way for us to foot the bill –- often with funds acquired in lawsuit settlements. For years now, McGraw has wanted to open a satellite office in the eastern Panhandle, but the legislature so far has refused to appropriate the $300,000 plus, he deems necessary. Having a satellite office in Martinsburg, for instance, could help to shore up McGraw's tenuous political support in the Panhandle. That, of course, is the furthest thing from Quick Draw's ever-altruistic mind, he would insist. He would claim that he just wants to serve the area better and help the neglected Panhandlers feel more like being a part of West Virginia. Such, no doubt, was the motivation for his expenditure of $140,000 in public funds on eponymous trinkets distributed in the Panhandle during one re-election bid. (Chief Deputy AG Fran Hughes was the self-described "chief architect" of that "brilliant plan," according to court documents.) With the Legislature refusing to subsidize his latest scheme for self-serving public service, old Quick Draw has once again resorted to creative financing, proposing to support the satellite office with proceeds from West Virginia's share of a multi-state suit against mortgage companies. According to Hughes, the eastern Panhandle will be one of the areas receiving special attention from McGraw's "Save Our Homes" program. "We're using some of the mortgage settlement money for that because there are so many mortgage issues over there, and they need a satellite office," she explained. Hughes may be the "chief architect" of yet another "brilliant plan," but the taxpayers, through their elected representatives, have the final say over financing. and it's time to demand an end to these abuses.

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