Give it up, McGraw

by The West Virginia Record |
Oct. 8, 2010, 4:13am

State Attorney General Darrell McGraw's unrelenting efforts to avoid the consequences of his fiduciary shenanigans definitely are costly -- even if comedic at times -- and raise serious questions about the judgment of our chief law enforcement officer.

We the taxpayers are ultimately the ones who will make restitution to the federal government for Quick Draw McGraw's misappropriation of million-dollar settlements with pharmaceutical companies for alleged overcharges. Significant portions of those settlement should have been returned to the Feds who subsidized the original payments, but crafty old Quick Draw conspired to cut the Feds out.

Big mistake for which we will pay.

The Feds will get their share by withholding Medicaid payments to West Virginia. That means the state government will have to make up the difference and we the taxpayers will get the bill.

A district court rejected McGraw's challenge to a federal withholding of more than $400,000. Unwilling to admit defeat and unmindful of the cost to us of protracted litigation, McGraw appealed.

On Sept. 27, the Feds filed their response to that appeal, affirming that West Virginia failed to reimburse the Department of Health and Human Services for "the federal share of its Medicaid over payments. . . . Instead, the State gave $750,000 to [the Public Employees Insurance Agency] -- i.e., roughly five times the State's own damages estimate for PEIA -- and gave the remaining $100,000 to the Consumer Protection Fund of the West Virginia Attorney General's Office."

The brief also notes the defendant's separate payment of $250,000 in fees for McGraw's favored outside counsel.

That accurate summary of events raises several questions, the most obvious being, why is McGraw appealing? The Feds are entitled to their share of the reimbursement and they're going to get it one way or another, so why waste more state funds in a futile effort?

More important, what right does Quick Draw have to direct the disbursement of court settlements, why did $100,000 go to his office, and why should the taxpayers of West Virginia be left holding the bag?

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