It’s called a double standard: one set of easy, flexible rules for you and your friends, another set of strict and stringent rules for everyone else.
Last week, Democrats in the West Virginia House of Delegates passed the Attorney General Ethics and Accountability Act (House Bill 4490) by a strict party-line vote. They finally saw fit to address the issue of ethics in the AG’s office more than a year after the defeat of the man who abused that position to benefit himself, his cronies, and his fellow party members for two decades.
This week, the House Finance Committee proposed to take $12 million from the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Fund and transfer it to the General Fund to cover other programs.
This, too, comes after a 20-year ethical nap, during which time five-term Attorney General Darrell McGraw continually exploited his position to hire plaintiffs attorneys who just happened to be ardent financial backers of his reelection bids. With settlements and nice fees secured by these outside attorney-friends, McGraw established a slush fund that he used to perpetuate himself in office.
But that was then when a Democrat was the attorney general, and this is now when a Republican has replaced him.
During his successful run to unseat McGraw, current AG Patrick Morrisey sought to ensure “that taxpayer monies [were] not used as an extension of the AG’s campaign.” He cited “taxpayer-funded commercials touting the incumbent” and “the amount of time government employees spend in a campaign capacity” as two examples of such abuse.
McGraw’s diversion of settlement funds to finance public benefits programs that advanced his candidacy was yet another abuse.
Needless to say, Democrats did not share Morrisey’s ethical concerns at that time.
The House bill passed last week and this week’s proposal would both impede the proper functioning of the attorney general’s office. That is no concern for Democrats touting both measures, determined as they are to maintain a double standard with no regard for the public they allegedly serve.