Since becoming commissioner, Exline has not received travel reimbursement for her commute from her home in Lumberton to Charleston, and is personally responsible for all travel expenses, Adler said.
Each year, the attorney general's office is required to submit a report summarizing activities of the office's Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division, covering a period from mid-November of the previous year to mid-November of the current year.
Given concerns that Attorney General Patrick Morrisey might not be as aggressive on consumer protection issues as his predecessor, this year's report may be getting extra scrutiny.
At first glance, it looks impressive, citing 44 civil actions involving consumer protection claims, including settlements of $1.95 million each against six credit card issuing companies for deceptive marketing practices, and a $13.9 million settlement against CashCall for unlawful lending practices and abusive debt collection tactics.
While Morrisey is listed as the attorney general of record in all 44 cases, a closer examination shows that all but four were initiated under Attorney General Darrell McGraw.
Of the four consumer actions initiated under Morrisey's watch, two are against small-time home improvement scams, one against a company using a "bait-and-switch" to sell above-ground swimming pools, and one against an upholsterer for failing to return furniture.
Granted, that could be a factor of time, since Morrisey has been in office for barely a year, and large-scale consumer protection complaints can take months or years to reach resolution.
So while it's fair to give Morrisey an "incomplete" on his 2013 report, the 2014 Consumer Protection report will probably warrant even greater scrutiny.
Finally, don't expect the Department of Agriculture to hold its Christmas party -- or any other meetings or events -- at the Embassy Suites in downtown Charleston.
Apparently, the hotel is not accepting any reservations (or any other business, for that matter) from the department over an unpaid $8,023 tab for a retirement party last November for then-Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass.
Current Commissioner Walt Helmick has refused to pay the bill, saying prior department management defied an Ethics Commission advisory opinion saying state funds could not be used to pay for the party. (Officially, it was billed as a "Celebration of Agriculture.")
Helmick joked that, until further notice, any Agriculture conferences or meetings in Charleston will be held at the Marriott.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.