CHARLESTON -- The chairman of the state Republican Party is again lashing out at Attorney General Darrell McGraw, this time for not joining 22 other AGs in a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mike Stuart says Massachusetts vs. EPA is a landmark lawsuit in which an electric utility has sought relief from the Supreme Court over eight Northeastern states' attempt to regulate greenhouse gases via a public nuisance lawsuit. The attorneys general are backing the utility.
Stuart compared it to McGraw not joining 28 other AGs in a federal lawsuit against "Obamacare."
"In both instances, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has failed to join the battle in defense of West Virginia families and taxpayers," Stuart said. "Once again, Darrell McGraw is AWOL from the defense of West Virginia jobs and our families from the continuing assault on our economy from Washington.
"Rather than join with state attorneys general in a landmark suit pending before the United States Supreme Court, Darrell McGraw continues to jingle to the beat of his own drum and use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to build his name ID by singing his name on radio advertisements statewide. While McGraw is preparing for reelection, tens of thousands of West Virginians may need to prepare for unemployment if there is an adverse ruling in this lawsuit."
The state's chief deputy AG said McGraw's office won't respond to Stuart's attacks.
"We're not going to respond to every issue that he wants to raise because he's nothing but a political operative with a political agenda," Fran Hughes said Thursday. "He's a political wannabe. We're too busy governing, and he's playing politics.
"He's a politician wannabe, and that's what politicians do. They attack. He's going to issue a press release every day attacking our office. He may even have his sights on our office. He has run a racist foundation (the West Virginia Conservative Foundation) attacking representative (Nick) Rahall. I think it speaks for itself. What he says is politically motivated."
Stuart said an adverse ruling by the Supreme Court in the Massachusetts lawsuit would expose the West Virginia economy to massive job losses.
"It is unconscionable that Attorney General McGraw has chosen not to defend our jobs or our citizens from the whims of federal bureaucrats or wealth-seeking lawyers," Stuart said. "The people of West Virginia could pay a heavy price because McGraw failed to do his job.
Stuart said McGraw has "become a roadblock to job creation in West Virginia."
"McGraw fails to fight for us against Obamacare and, in his most recent assault on us, McGraw failed to sign on to a simple friend of the court brief in a landmark environmental case," Stuart said. "Clearly, McGraw fails to understand our economy or his principal role to defend our citizens as Attorney General."
Kansas AG Derek Schmidt is among the 22 AGs who have filed the amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief said lawsuits seeking past damages for greenhouse gas emissions and injunctions against future emissions undercut state regulatory guidelines.
"Kansas has a large stake in the outcome of this litigation," Schmidt said in a press release. "An adverse ruling by the Supreme Court could further expose large parts of our state's economy -- from agriculture to manufacturing to petrochemical refining -- to further job-killing regulation by litigation."
Stuart said McGraw should either join the other 22 state AGs in the Massachusetts case or file a separate brief with the Supreme Court.
"If McGraw decides to side with the job destroyers, he needs to explain to those who may potentially lose their job or home why he chose Washington over West Virginia," Stuart said. "We seem to be running into repeat violations from this Attorney General failing to protect the people of West Virginia and their jobs.
"I am speaking out about this, but it is time for others to speak out. I don't know why folks are turning a blind eye to some of the conduct happening in the Attorney General's office. The Attorney General's office can be very important in terms of job creation in West Virginia. But instead, it's one of the major impediments to job creation in our state today."