CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Since he first became West Virginia's attorney general in 1993, Darrell McGraw has won more than $2 billion for the state, mostly from dubious operators who violated state consumer laws.
He sued 23 cigarette firms for gigantic medical bills they inflict on state taxpayers. Although former Gov. Gaston Caperton and Circuit Judge Irene Berger opposed the action, McGraw stubbornly persisted and won $1.7 billion, plus $200 million more from a related suit.
McGraw also sued 21 coal corporations that pulled a shady ploy: They hired "independent contractors" to dig their coal, and the contractors soon went bankrupt without paying workers' compensation fees and other state obligations. Thus the owner corporations ducked these costs. Although former Gov. Underwood opposed the action, McGraw stubbornly persisted, aided by the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation, and won $56.6 million for West Virginians.
He also sued the maker of OxyContin for pushing the painkiller recklessly in mountain regions, causing widespread pill addiction, and collected $10 million.
The attorney general has won scores of other suits, against loan shark "payday lenders" and many different operators. He has compiled an awesome string of victories.
McGraw draws a lot of flak, especially from those he sued successfully. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce even started a giveaway Charleston newspaper, The West Virginia Record, chiefly to attack McGraw.
He's somewhat a lightning rod, always being blasted by critics. But we think McGraw has been good for West Virginia, and we endorse him for another term.