Greear seeks investigation into McGraw campaign practices

John O'Brien Nov. 4, 2008, 5:00pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - Republican attorney general candidate Dan Greear is calling for a full investigation into campaign activity within incumbent West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office.

In a press release issued late Tuesday night, Greear listed six incidents in the closing days of the heated campaign that he calls "clear evidence of campaign activity within the taxpayer funded Office of Attorney General in the weeks leading up to election day."

That list includes:

* "Many state employees, some of whom bragged they were campaigning on state time, took to the streets" Monday, Nov. 3 to wave McGraw signs.

* An employee in the AG office's consumer protection division giving "a campaign speech at a senior services event ... while on state time."

* Scott Johnson, a lawyer in the AG's office, "using state time to work on a motion to place before a Marshall County judge" on Friday, Oct. 31 to stop state Chamber of Commerce advertisements against McGraw.

* An AG office employee by the name of Shirley E. Smith sending an e-mail "to the entire AG staff telling them (while on state time) to go to a blog and make comments on behalf of Darrell."

Greear also noted that "time after time, campaign questions were returned by [Chief Deputy AG] Fran Hughes."

"It is clear to anyone who objectively looks at this race that the attorney general has used his office resources to attempt to win this campaign," Greear said. "It's a disgusting practice, but not surprising. The Attorney General is past the point of even trying to cover up this unlawful activity."

On Tuesday afternoon, Hughes was critical of Greear and his campaign tactics.

"His slander is astounding," she said. "I'm sure he's desperate, and that's all he has to offer.

"He throws out these bombs. He makes up allegations. That's been a pattern of his throughout this election. He casually engages in defamation."

Greear also noted that former Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Charnock resigned from office because of his use of a state computer to make campaign flyers.

"The current Attorney General has clearly used state resources to assist his campaign and the authorities need to investigate it with as much vigor as they did Prosecutor Charnock," Greear said.

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