More ads in W.Va. AG race hit the airwaves

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 5, 2016

WASHINGTON – The latest television ad from the Republican Attorneys General Association invites viewers to imagine a world where President Hillary Clinton kills coal mining jobs.

Meanwhile, a new ad from Democratic challenger Doug Reynolds' campaign links incumbent AG Patrick Morrisey to EpiPen maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals. 

And a new ad from Morrisey's campaign claims Reynolds is "Against The Working Guy."

The RAGA ad titled "Imagine," which can be viewed online, was released Oct. 4 by RAGA.

"Her plans are clear. Continue killing coal jobs and forcing her liberal agenda on all of us," the narrator says of Clinton before adding that Democratic AG candidate Doug Reynolds is a campaign contributor and ally of Clinton. "We need strong leadership, not the Clinton-Reynolds team."

RAGA Executive Director Scott Will linked Reynolds and Clinton again.

“If Hillary Clinton is in the White House in 2017, West Virginia will need an attorney general willing to fight her plans to kill more coal jobs," Will said. "Doug Reynolds is a Hillary Clinton donor who would enable her liberal agenda, not fight it.

"In the Legislature, Reynolds tried to undermine the attorney general’s ability to combat the liberal Washington agenda. The Clinton/Reynolds team would be a disaster for West Virginia."

Reynolds' campaign spokeswoman dismissed the ad.

“Another day, another false ad by corrupt pharmaceutical lobbyist Patrick Morrisey and his out-of-state Super PAC,” Lynette Masell told The West Virginia Record. “Morrisey, his D.C. friends, and dark money Super PAC have spent $3.3 million flooding the airwaves with lies trying to once again, buy this election.

"It’s disgraceful; however, it’s just what West Virginians have come to expect from this dishonest, corrupt, self-serving politician that’s looking out for his own political career.”

Maselli says the facts are clear.

“Doug is, and always has been, as strong advocate for coal miners and the coal industry," she said. "That’s why the United Mine Workers endorsed him over the dishonest Attorney General.

"Patrick Morrisey knows he’s just over 30 days away from losing this election and will say anything, truth be damned, to try and protect the office for his big drug company buddies.”

Maselli challenged Morrisey to admit his direct ties to the Mountaineers Are Always Free PAC, which also is headed by Will, who is his former campaign manager.

“The Super PAC is funded by RAGA, which in turn funded by large donations from the pharmaceutical industry," Maselli said. "You connect the dots.

"Doug Reynolds is an honest, ethical, fourth generation West Virginian who will always put people before politics. He was taught to lead by example, and to always do what's right, not what's politically convenient or in his own personal interest. It's those same West Virginia values he's teaching his four children. Doug is one of us and is the best choice for Attorney General."

Also on Oct. 4, Reynolds' campaign released a new ad linking Morrisey to EpiPen maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals. It also invites viewers to visit its recently created website critical of Morrisey.

The Reynolds ad, titled "Corrupt," also can be viewed online. 

“One week after drug company Mylan raised EpiPen prices 600 percent, corrupt pharmaceutical lobbyist Patrick Morrisey held a Washington, D.C., fundraiser where he rubbed elbows with their executives and accepted their campaign contributions,” Maselli said. “He then turned around and held a self-serving press conference, decrying the increase and calling for an investigation.

"Morrisey is a dishonest political opportunist, so the best we can hope for from his office is another secret deal that protects his donors."

Maselli called Morrisey an embarrassment to West Virginia and its residents and said it’s "time to send him back home to New Jersey." 

“Drug companies and Morrisey’s deep pocket, dark money Super PAC have spent $3.3 million to flood the airwaves with lies in an attempt to buy this election,” Maselli said. “He continues to shield the same pharmaceutical companies who flooded West Virginia with addictive pain pills by allowing them to settle for pennies on the dollar, and he’s hoping West Virginians won’t remember the facts that prove he is unfit to be Attorney General.

"West Virginians deserve the truth about corrupt Patrick Morrisey. That’s why we launched PatrickMorriseyIsCorrupt.com, because West Virginia deserves an honest Attorney General who will hold big drug companies accountable, not someone who is lining his pockets and trying to advance his own political career.”

Morrisey's campaign spokeswoman, however, said the ad is another example of Reynolds not telling the truth.

"Contrary to what Reynolds wishes the narrative to be, the facts show that Attorney General Morrisey took swift action against Mylan almost immediately after news of the increased prices broke," Kayla Berube told The West Virginia Record. "The investigation by the AG’s office into the EpiPen manufacturer Mylan regarding allegations of price gouging aims to enforce the law and protect consumers. 

"The Attorney General believed the publicly known facts about Mylan established probable cause for an investigative subpoena, which his office issued Aug. 26. Reynolds stood in opposition to this consumer protection action, calling it “political opportunism.”

Berube said this actually shows that campaign contributors get no special treatment or favors from Morrisey.

“Attorney General Morrisey swiftly and vigorously enforces the laws of West Virginia and protects citizens from predatory actions," she said. "He began his investigation into the allegations against Mylan in August. When Mylan did not turn over the records requested by his office, he filed an enforcement action.

“What ridiculous allegation will come from desperate Doug Reynolds next? Reynolds has always been out of touch with voters, but he’s quickly proving to be totally out of touch with reality, too. We hope the millions of dollars Reynolds has sunk into his flailing candidacy didn't come from the taxpayer funds he directed to his family and hid from the public."

On Oct. 5, Morrisey's campaign unveiled its latest ad, which is titled "Against The Working Man." It also can be viewed online.

The ad says Reynolds has a record of voting for higher taxes and exploiting his workers.

"Liberal Doug Reynolds, like Hillary Clinton, supports higher taxes on hardworking West Virginians," Berube said. "Reynolds voted 16 times for higher taxes and fees, while failing to pay his own taxes, resulting in 59 tax liens and interest charges on his personal and company properties.

"What’s worse is that Reynolds’ company was sued for exploiting workers by not paying his employees’ pension fund payments."

Berube said Clinton and Reynolds both think they are above the law.  

“He’s quick to tout himself as a ‘job-creator’ but conveniently leaves out the ugly details of how he treats his employees,” she said. “Liberal Doug Reynolds stands with Hillary Clinton and against the hardworking taxpayers of West Virginia.” 

The ad also highlights Morrisey’s partnership with law enforcement and his creation of the office’s substance abuse unit to crack down on drug trafficking. It also praises Morrisey’s budget cuts and reforms implemented in the Attorney General’s office, which have resulted in over $33 million returned to taxpayers.

Reynolds campaign dismissed the claims.

“Corrupt pharmaceutical lobbyist Patrick Morrisey isn’t known for his honesty,” Maselli said. “Doug Reynolds has always paid his taxes and he provides hundreds of good paying, West Virginia union jobs with excellent benefits.

"In his latest ad, Morrisey is diverting attention away from his own personal tax problems, as he has had tax liens issued against him for unpaid taxes in California and New York."

Maselli says Morrisey is also lying about his office returning money to the state.

“Patrick Morrisey clearly has a problem with the truth," she said. "In this new, deceitful ad, he says he returned money to the state, when in fact, the Legislature re-appropriated budget surpluses from state agencies to balance the budget during the recent fiscal crisis. 

"The truth is this: Morrisey is a wasteful spender of tax dollars. He asked for a $2 million budget increase and got caught spending money on promotional videos of himself, in addition to being caught hiring a political consultant for $100,000 on the taxpayers’ dime."

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