Cough it up, Darrell

by The West Virginia Record |
Aug. 24, 2007, 7:11am

We've opined repeatedly on these pages that state Attorney General Darrell McGraw's strongarm-squandering of $10 million in Purdue Pharma lawsuit settlement proceeds would soon catch up with West Virginia.

Well, soon is now.

While the Mountain State was sleeping, the federal government was watching McGraw's unauthorized, self-aggrandizing spending spree of its money with utter amazement. Now it has put West Virginians on notice: for our attorney general's faux-generosity, the rest of us now owe Uncle Sam $4.1 million.

Washington is officially withholding that much -- its rightful share of the $10 million siphoned by McGraw -- from its upcoming scheduled dollop of federal aid to our state, money pegged to fund health care for West Virginia's poor and elderly.

For His Highness' profligacy, our state's neediest will just have to figure out how to make do with less this year.

What's the trade-off?

Our poorest will sacrifice so McGraw, girding for a 2008 re-election battle, can continue illegitimately sprinkling $50,000 taxpayer checks to community groups in exchange for good will and support. They'll get less so McGraw's trial lawyer pals -- wealthy men such as David Brumfield, William Druckman and Rudy DiTrapano -- won't have to part ways with the fat fees they split for their "work" on the Purdue Pharma case, a whopping $3.4 million worth.

These lawyers have been paid in full, by the way. West Virginia hospital administrators shouldn't forget this fact when they're soon scrambling to make ends meet, waiting 90 or 120 days for Medicaid reimbursements.

The bottom line: If they were private citizens found to have misappropriated Medicaid funds, McGraw and his complicit staff members would be on the hook personally for the money they frittered away. The $4.1 million would come out of their own pockets.

There's absolutely no reason they shouldn't pay in this case, as well.

Forcing taxpayers to make good on Darrell McGraw's own misdeeds would be just another outrage hoisted upon West Virginia citizens. It's about time someone held this man accountable for his reckless actions.

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