McGraw noted, "Yes, we do a lot of consumer education and, of course, people who oppose consumer protection oppose that education. They don't want people to know what protections they've got."
Morrisey accused McGraw of structuring settlement agreements so that the office retains spending authority over a portion of the funds, which he said are "reserved in a private piggybank."
Morrisey said he would assure that all settlement funds go into the state's General Revenue Fund, to be appropriated by the governor and Legislature.
McGraw countered that courts require that funds be set aside in trusts or for consumer education in "very limited circumstances."
He proceeded to go through much of the $2 billion of settlement funds the Attorney General's Office has obtained for the state during his tenure, reciting a list of legislative appropriations using those funds, including $234.8 million placed in the state's Rainy Day emergency fund, $223.9 appropriated to Health and Human Resources for the Children's Health Insurance Program and for senior citizens' health care, as well as $807 million of tobacco settlement funds, dedicated to the Teachers' Retirement System.
Morrisey, meanwhile, said his background practicing health-care law would be beneficial as the state deals with federal health-care mandates, including the pending issue of whether to expand Medicaid benefits.
Morrisey was admitted to the West Virginia bar shortly before filing to run for attorney general, but said being a relative newcomer to the state will not be a detriment to his election, noting, "West Virginians aren't going to be fooled by these false attacks about where someone was born."
McGraw agreed, noting that his grandfather first set foot in America in Morrisey's home state of New Jersey.
"I do understand people do move to places to make a better life for themselves," he said.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.