CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Attorney General of West Virginia is vested with powers to protect West Virginians and West Virginia consumers from unlawful opportunists and wrongdoers that seek to take advantage of our good nature and good will. It is therefore a unique and powerful office that, when used effectively, promotes justice on behalf of West Virginia and rights the personal wrongs suffered by West Virginians. It is my hope that Mr. Morrisey is up to this task.
However, since his election to the Attorney General's office of our wild and wonderful state, Mr. Morrisey's actions do not reflect this essential responsibility and duty. While he has stated countless times in multiple media that he will protect West Virginians and West Virginia consumers, his actions do not convey confidence that he has any intention of continuing the undisputed success of his predecessor Darrell McGraw in protecting the rights of all West Virginians.
Upon taking office, Mr. Morrisey appointed as deputy Attorney General, the former executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WVCALA). WVCALA is an organization dedicated to restricting the right of injured West Virginians and West Virginia consumers to seek just remedy in our courts. In fact, WVCALA has never championed the cause of a wronged or injured West Virginian, or supported the pursuit of any meritorious action on behalf of a West Virginia consumer. Further, WVCALA holds the unique and inconsistent position of allegedly supporting job growth in West Virginia, yet declaring loudly and proudly (and incorrectly) every year, to anyone who will listen, that West Virginia is a bad place for business. Given this specific appointment, it strains the bounds of reason to believe that Mr. Morrisey will continue Mr. McGraw's tradition of protecting West Virginians and West Virginia consumers.
When you couple this appointment with the out-of-state support Mr. Morrisey garnered in his run for office, West Virginians have every reason to question Mr. Morrisey's sincerity. According to Mr. Morrissey's campaign financial statements, just under 60 percent of all individual contributions greater than $250, and totaling about $300,000 came from out-of-state lobbyists and special interest groups. On top of these, several hundred thousands of dollars in out-of-state support, Mr. Morrisey also received assistance to the tune of $1.6 million dollars from a Washington D.C. based organization that used to be a front group for the Tobacco Lobby.
Yes. You read that correctly. The bulk of Mr. Morrisey's support originates from an industry that is hostile and adverse to the rights and protections of consumers. So, nearly $2 million dollars of all money received, raised, accepted and spent on behalf Mr. Morrissey are out-of-state dollars from out-of-state individuals, lobbyists and/or special interests that very likely have no concern for the rights, protections and plight of individual West Virginians and individual West Virginia consumers.
While Mr. Morrisey claims a connection to the people of West Virginia, the foregoing facts simply suggest otherwise. Our state needs homegrown leaders who actually have experience -- real life experience -- in the personal toils and troubles of West Virginians. Actions speak louder than words, and West Virginians expect and deserve action on their behalf, in their interests, and to their benefit, from their Attorney General.
Lindsay is a lawyer in Charleston.