W.Va. deputy AG says she has right to defend office

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 6, 2012


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia's chief deputy attorney general has responded to criticisms that she made comments about her boss's Republican opponent in this fall's general election.

Last week, the chairman of West Virginia's Republican Party and others said it was wrong for Fran Hughes to make remarks to a member of the media about this year's election.

On Tuesday, Hughes was quoted in an article in the Charleston Daily Mail talking about Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey and his campaign against current AG Darrell McGraw.

"He's going to have to respond to why he thinks he should be attorney general when he's never worked in West Virginia," Hughes told the Daily Mail.

State Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart said Hughes "sounded more like a campaign spokesman than a high-ranking official of state government."

"Did Fran Hughes provide that interview during working hours?" Stuart asked in his press release last week. "Was she sitting in a state office or using a state phone? Is Darrell McGraw planning on using taxpayer resources to run his re-election campaign?

"Fran Hughes is paid to work for the people of West Virginia, not to be a campaign spokesman for McGraw. We need to know if the Attorney General plans to run his campaign from his taxpayer funded office on his taxpayer funded salary and his taxpayer funded staff."

On Monday, Hughes responded.

"Patrick Morrisey has been attacking our office and things we've done," Hughes, who said she had been out of the office working last week, told The West Virginia Record. "It is an attack.

"Regardless of whether it's a campaign or not, when Mr. Morrisey begins attacking the office, it's entirely appropriate for the chief deputy to respond."

To view the entire article, visit the West Virginia Record.

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