Oddest moment of the week: What was the purpose of Charleston Mayor Danny Jones' press conference regarding Phil Reale's three-month-old and since-dismissed solicitation charge other than to assure that Reale's embarrassment was shared with a larger audience than the Daily Mail's 16,000-some subscribers?
If Jones' concern, rightfully, was that Charleston police had erred in omitting Reale's name from a press release, that matter could have been handled internally, and in fact, Jones said no action will be taken against the officer who made the omission.
I'd heard the Reale rumor back in September, and dismissed it because it seemed at the time to be implausible, and I was suspicious of the motivation behind those spreading the rumor.
The relationship between lobbyists and their prospective clients is not unlike college football coaches and potential recruits; i.e., in talking down the competition in hopes of signing the prospect.
Competition for top lobbying clients can be fierce, and one can be certain there were parties interested in seeing Reale's lapse in judgment widely publicized, in hopes of shaking loose his impressive list of clients, ranging from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association to the West Virginia Press Association.
One wonders if Jones would have had the same zeal in calling a press conference had a prominent Republican lobbyist or former advisor to a Republican governor gotten into trouble.
Certainly don't recall any press conference after Charleston police busted GOP operative Roman Stauffer for DUI this summer, and I think we would all agree drunk driving is a much more serious, and potentially deadly, offense.
Finally, just to make things more confusing, the new communications director for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is Becky Neal. No, not the longtime state Senate aide and current executive aide to the governor Becky Neal.
Fortunately, the new Becky goes by Rebecca. She's a Dunbar native who has previously served as communications director for Congressman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and as press secretary for Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.