CHARLESTON – In its latest television commercial, Doug Reynolds’ campaign for state attorney general says incumbent Patrick Morrisey is lining his pockets with drug money while “West Virginians overdose in record numbers.”
Morrisey’s campaign responded, saying the ad is another attempt by Reynolds “to divert attention away from the fact that he has no plan to fight substance abuse.”
Reynolds’ ad, titled “Pockets,” can be viewed online.
“Morrisey contends he’s fighting the drug epidemic, but he’s actually lining his pockets with millions of dollars from the same companies that are flooding West Virginia with addictive pain pills,” said Lynette Maselli, Reynolds’ campaign spokeswoman. “The ad also reveals what Patrick Morrisey is trying hardest to hide: that drug companies and his D.C. friends have spent $2.5 million, to date, on his election.”
Maselli also says West Virginians shouldn’t forget that Morrisey’s wife was paid nearly $2 million to lobby for drug companies.
“Morrisey repeatedly lied to the public about his involvement in the Cardinal Health lawsuit, only admitting his involvement to the Lawyer Disciplinary Board after being exposed by the Charleston Gazette-Mail,” Maselli said. “Undoubtedly, our drug epidemic is one of West Virginia’s biggest challenges.”
She said Reynolds has a plan to attack the problem and that Morrisey “is only talking about the crisis now because he’s up for re-election.”
But Kayla Berube, campaign spokeswoman for Morrisey, said Reynolds is like Hillary Clinton in that “both appear to have a problem telling the truth.”
“Voters know that bringing in over $30 million in drug settlements and aggressively pushing an initiative to reduce opioid use by over 25 percent is serious,” Berube said. “Reynolds is simply trying to divert attention away from the fact that he has no plan to fight substance abuse, knows virtually nothing about the Attorney General's office and cannot name one thing he has done to fight substance abuse during his 10 years in the Legislature.”
In a statement to The West Virginia Record, Berube also shared a link that she says shows how “Reynolds’ thin legal experience includes working to defend drug dealers in West Virginia. He even fought for lighter sentencing for repeat offender drug dealers.”
Berube also disputes some other parts of Reynolds’ ad, such as noting that the Lawyer Disciplinary Board said Morrisey never was involved in the Cardinal Health “litigation in a substantive way” and that the "frivolous" complaint was dismissed.
She also says Morrisey is “aggressively fighting the state’s substance abuse epidemic” by earning tens of millions of dollars for taxpayers from settlements against drug companies, creating the office’s first Substance Abuse unit and partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s office, which has resulted in the conviction of multiple drug dealers.
Berube also said Morrisey’s Best Practices Initiative, which is meant to eradicate prescription drug abuse by better equipping the state’s prescribers and pharmacists, has earned state and national praise.
“The Attorney General will continue to fight every day for hardworking West Virginians, while liberal Clinton supporter Doug Reynolds continues to sling mud in a desperate attempt to advance his own political career and personal business interests,” Berube said.