Serious Concern

Darrell McGraw’s tenure as West Virginia attorney general was one in which he ran the agency in some ways not as part of the executive branch of government but as his own little kingdom. More evidence of that was provided Monday when the new attorney general revealed some improvements he plans to make, while at the same time exhibiting boxes of “trinkets” McGraw was so famous for handing out – usually during an election year.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, noting his staff found “many areas of serious concern” after taking office last month, said he plans to install a centralized system to manage files, as well as a program to avoid conflicts of interest among staff members. He also said there would be no trinkets passed out by his office.

The file management system is needed to make the office more efficient, Morrisey noted. Lack of it means “finding even the simplest of documents can often be a time-consuming process,” he added.

Fran Hughes, who served as McGraw’s deputy, told a reporter their staff was able to operate without a file management system. Besides, she added, “We weren’t given the money to purchase such a system” by the Legislature. That could cost as much as $50,000, she noted.

Oh, come on now! During his tenure, McGraw collected millions of dollars in settlements from various lawsuits his office filed. Never did any of the money go to the state Treasury, as it should have.

Instead, McGraw spent the funds as he pleased – often for election campaign trinkets or other purposes that helped him win votes.

Yet if Hughes is to be believed, he couldn’t come up with $50,000 to make the attorney general’s office run more efficiently.

When West Virginia voters finally grew sick and tired of McGraw’s antics – and his attitude about our money – we kicked him out of office.

Clearly, as clean-up actions Morrisey is having to take, along with Hughes’ absurd reaction, indicate, it was a step the electorate should have taken years ago.