Attorney General Darrell McGraw is on double-secret probation.

One more misstep, and he's in trouble, really. State lawmakers mean it this time.

That's as of last weekend, when both chambers passed a bill that deemed illegal McGraw's prolific siphoning of state lawsuit proceeds for his own purposes.

The Legislature "affirmed" as much on Sunday. It's now against the law for the attorney general to spend state taxpayer money without legislative permission.

Of course, it already was.

Not that this was ever much of a secret, particularly to the elite coterie of West Virginians with law degrees, such as Darrell McGraw.

The principle that elected lawmakers -- not state attorneys general -- make all decisions on spending tax dollars doesn't have gray areas. Unless McGraw forgot every lecture in law school, it's fair to say he knew what he was doing when he started dispensing giant cash lawsuit settlements. He knew where he was treading when he usurped the authority of the Legislature and Gov. Joe Manchin.

But it was worth it because the money -- tens of millions in his control -- was there. Giving some of the money in the form of fees to his trial lawyer pals and campaign donors and spending more promoting himself across the state, the rewards made it worth it. That's why McGraw did it the first time.

He did it repeatedly thereafter because nobody stood up for our state constitution and stopped him. McGraw did it -- and has been doing it -- again and again -- because he can, without consequence.

It all begs the question -- what exactly has changed?

Now that McGraw's money grabs are against the law times two, is justice for West Virginia taxpayers finally in sight? Are consequences on the horizon for a tyrannous attorney general?

What happens the next time McGraw calls a press conference to shell out some more settlement money?

Taxpayers fond of constitutional democracy deserve to see the law followed. But we should all hold our applause until McGraw is stopped and held accountable for his past transgressions against the people and traditions of this state.

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