CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's reelection campaign is on the offensive, throwing the word hypocrite back at Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey.
On Wednesday, Morrisey's campaign issued a press release about advertising by a PAC funded by the Democratic Attorneys General Association. In the release, Morrisey called McGraw a hypocrite for welcoming the assistance of "President Obama's out-of-state donors" after saying he "despises out-of-state groups coming in to West Virginia to become involved in political campaigns."
"In 2008, McGraw said in a television ad 'I always stand up for you against out of state special interests,'" Morrisey campaign manager Scott Will said in Wednesday's press release. "But now, when McGraw is poised to lose, he eagerly welcomes the assistance of President Obama's out-of-state donors."
Later Wednesday, McGraw's campaign issued its own release saying Morrisey continues to mislead West Virginians.
"It appears that he has designated the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) as an affiliate of President Obama," McGraw campaign treasurer John R. Mitchell said in the release. "There are many Democratic Attorneys General in the United States who would disagree with that statement."
Mitchell says McGraw could be influenced by DAGA.
"He and his staff always have and will continue to share new ideas and innovative ways of keeping the Office of the Attorney General abreast with other states in our country," Mitchell wrote. "He appreciates the support and respect shown by Attorneys General around the nation."
But, Mitchell says, Morrisey continues to try to link McGraw to Obama.
"There continues to be a misleading notion by the Morrisey Campaign that if you don't like our president, then you certainly can't like our Attorney General," Mitchell wrote. "Attorney General McGraw's record was established long before President Obama came into the picture of United States politics."
Mitchell says McGraw's record speaks for itself.
"That is why Morrisey can do no more than rehash the same rhetoric West Virginia voters have been subjected to every election year," he wrote. "Once again Morrisey is misleading West Virginians with a smoke screen to cover up the fact, for example, that they just received the support of the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) to the tune of $800,000."
CIF on Wednesday unveiled a new television ad as part of what it calls a public education effort "urging ... McGraw to use his authority to stand up to Washington, D.C.'s power grabs that are hurting West Virginia families and intrude on the state's sovereignty."
According to paperwork filed Wednesday with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, the CIF paid Revolution Media Group $1,599,949.50 to run the anti-McGraw ad, which can be seen online.
CIF said the push is part of its State Sovereignty Project, which pushes government officials to "reclaim and exercise the structural powers granted to them by the U.S. Constitution as a bulwark against federal encroachments on state sovereignty and erosion of the individual liberties of the people they serve."
"The U.S. Constitution not only provides for a system of checks and balances within the federal government, but also a check by the various states on the federal government," CIF President Jeffrey Mazzella said in a statement. "The devastating impact that the federal government's overreach - including the assaults on liberty and states' rights represented in the Affordable Care Act, among other policies - is having on West Virginia's economy and families make the state a prime case study on the need for state and local officials to exercise their constitutional authority to fight back against Washington's excessive power grabs."
Mitchell noted that media reports have inferred that CIF has received $2.75 million from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS.
"The Attorney General of West Virginia is being supported by DAGA with a history much longer than the current administration in Washington," Mitchell wrote in the press release. "CIF is funded by pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, and other corporate interests that the Attorney General is supposed to regulate."
Mitchell also mentioned Morrisey's unsuccessful 2000 Congressional bid in his native New Jersey.
"Not too long ago a native of New Jersey ran for Congress in his home state on a platform of making New Jersey a better place to live," Mitchell wrote. "However, only 9.2 percent of New Jersey's voters seemed to have agreed. So what does he do? He moves to West Virginia and gets himself admitted to the West Virginia State Bar four days before filing to run for Attorney General of West Virginia.
"Now he wants to tell us how we in West Virginia should conduct our legal affairs and that he cares for the people of West Virginia. Sounds like a hypocrite to me."