Charleston, WV - Attorney General Morrisey seeking outside lawyers to represent Gov. Justice in residency case.
“Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is failing to do the job he was elected to do- represent the State of West Virginia in legal matters,” House Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) stated. “Morrisey is wasting taxpayer money by refusing to represent Governor Jim Justice in the case that Delegate Isaac Sponaugle filed to require the Governor to stay in the mansion and show up for work.” The case (Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, III v. James Conley Justice, II, Civil Action No. 18-P-217) is currently pending in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County.
“For the life of me, I cannot understand how the Governor, the Attorney General, or anyone could read the Constitution and not conclude that the Governor must reside in Charleston,” said Senator Roman Prezioso (D-Marion). “Instead of wasting state dollars by paying private attorneys hundreds of dollars an hour, the Attorney General should be able to handle the case with his staff.” Morrisey’s request for outside legal help can be found here.
Patrick Morrisey has a history of billing taxpayers for outside counsel. Between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2016, Morrisey paid $2.8 million more in outside attorneys’ fees than his office policies dictated. “West Virginia taxpayers should not foot the bill for additional attorney fees because Morrisey isn’t willing to do his job,” Delegate Miley urged.
“As a former Finance Chairman, it is remarkable to me that the Attorney General’s more than $2.5 million annual budget for personnel would not include a lawyer capable of reading the clear language of the Constitution,” Senator Prezioso added.
“Perhaps the Attorney General has read the Constitution and realizes that the language that requires the executive to reside in Charleston is crystal clear, or, perhaps he simply doesn’t want to ruffle the feathers of his Republican colleague,” Delegate Miley stated.
“Taxpayers need to know why Patrick Morrisey isn’t doing his job, which is to represent Governor Justice on a very basic constitutional issue,” Miley said. “Morrisey should not hire outside attorneys – at a significant additional cost to taxpayers- simply because of an uncomfortable political situation with Governor Jim Justice. While Attorney General Patrick Morrisey expects every other West Virginia citizen to follow the state Constitution, he is turning a blind eye to his friend, Governor Justice – and this is wrong. The case is simple - the Governor is thumbing his nose at the West Virginia Constitution by failing to reside in the seat of government, as clearly required which, in turn, is used by the Governor as a convenient excuse for why he doesn’t show up every day for work at the Capitol.”
“Attorney General Patrick Morrisey should be spending the time necessary to do his job rather than travel to fundraising events in New York,” Delegate Miley added.