Republican AG candidates pledge greater transparency

Chris Rizo Oct. 21, 2008, 3:32am

Mike Crites, R-Ohio.

Dan Greear, R-W.Va.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-The Republican candidates for attorney general in Ohio and West Virginia have pledged to run their respective offices with a greater degree of transparency and accountability.

Republicans Mike Crites of Ohio and Dan Greear of West Virginia have pledged to adopt the American Tort Reform Association's "Attorney General Transparency Code" if they are elected Nov. 4.

The five-point pledge calls for, among other things, greater oversight of contingency fee-based contracts and disclosure of contracts with the attorneys general offices, including agreements for outside counsel.

"Ohio and West Virginia have both seen their share of political corruption," Crites said in a joint statement. "With the crisis on Wall Street only compounding voters' distrust, now is the time to elect leaders who will put the needs of the taxpayers before their own political interests."

Crites, a former U.S. attorney, is running for Ohio attorney general against state Treasurer Richard Cordray, a Democrat. They are vying to complete the two years remaining on former Attorney General Marc Dann's term. Dann resigned under pressure in May amid a sexual harassment scandal.

Greear, who signed the American Tort Reform Association's pledge in July, is challenging Attorney General Darrell McGraw, who is seeking a fifth term as West Virginia's chief legal officer.

"Conducting business in a fair and open manner is good basic government in its simplest form. We need to return the attorney general's office to its intended function and end the practice of abusing the office for political gain," Greear said.

Throughout his campaign, Greear has hammered McGraw for his handling of a lawsuit in which he used outside counsel to sue Perdue Pharma over the deceptive marketing of its painkiller OxyContin.

The case settled for $10 million, a third of which went to the private attorneys who litigated the case on behalf of the state's Medicaid program.

The remaining money went to the attorney general's Consumer Protection Fund. As a result, the state may lose more than $4 million in Medicaid funding for not sharing the lawsuit's proceeds with the federal government.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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