In our Feb. 17 editorial, we noted that West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw not only enjoys all the natural advantages of incumbency as he seeks re-election to a sixth term, but certain "unnatural" advantages, as well.

His opponent, Harpers Ferry Republican Patrick Morrisey, lamented two in particular, both stemming from the use of taxpayer monies "as an extension of the AG's campaign."

Morrisey protested "taxpayer-funded commercials touting the incumbent" and "the amount of time government employees spend in a campaign capacity."

We cited a third unnatural advantage: McGraw's conversion of settlement-funded public benefits programs into campaign vehicles.

For instance, old Quick Draw's "Save Our Homes" workshops may or may not provide useful information and assistance to West Virginians struggling with mortgages, but it will get the McGraw name out. The satellite office he intends to set up in the eastern Panhandle will be especially helpful, given that McGraw-mania is weak in the region from which his challenger hails.

Among McGraw's many unnatural advantages is a most important one: his ability to raise campaign contributions from attorneys who've received fee-laden state contracts from him in the past or hope to do so in the future.

Not that there's any quid pro quo involved, mind you. Heavens, no. That does happen in other states, but not in the legal utopia of West Virginia where ethical paragons like Darrell McGraw are above suspicion, he insists. [Insert winking emoticon here.]

The attorneys who've received contracts from McGraw in the past may have contributed $36,000 to his 2012 campaign so far, but that's only because they think he's done such a swell job over his first five terms, he contends. [Insert second emoticon.]

McGraw probably thinks they did swell jobs, too, with the contracts he gave them before and will keep them in mind when he's got more to hand out. What could be more innocent? [Insert third emoticon.]

It brings to mind the French phrase, Honi soit qui mal y pense -- shame on him who thinks ill of it. Right, Darrell?

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