West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reviews his first 100 days in office…and puts a West Virginia False Claims Act at the top of his wish list
Virginians will elect a new Attorney General in 2013. Our neighbors in West Virginia, however, elected a new Attorney General last November, Republican Patrick Morrisey.
The first thing we can say about General Morrisey is that he has guts. He challenged five-term Attorney General Darrell McGraw and won handily. Unseating an incumbent is never easy, but he did exactly that.
After his election, General Morrisey set out an ambitious 17 point program for his first 100 days in office. Yesterday he reflected aloud in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch about his first 100 days in office and his progress towards meeting those goals. Not surprisingly, several items on his 17 point list pertain directly to the lack of a West Virginia False Claims Act.
Brief History of the West Virginia False Claims Act
A bit of history is in order here. In the 2010 and 2011 West Virginia legislative sessions, a West Virginia False Claims Act was introduced; in both sessions it failed to get off the ground. Perhaps as a result of these failures in the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions, no one introduced a false claims act bill.
Although this blog is always harping on the need for a multi-term Attorney General, there is an important qualifier. Having a multi-term AG is desirable if — and only if — he or she is going to do something with the office. It doesn’t seem like McGraw did much of anything during his nearly 20 years in office. What’s worse, I know for a fact that McGraw did exactly nothing to support West Virginia False Claims Act in 2010 and 2011.
I find it inspiring that Morrisey would come out of the gate with such an ambitious agenda. Perhaps this plan was put together in an effort to draw a further distinction between himself and the McGraw administration.
Conditions are now optimal for a West Virginia False Claims Act!
Having the state Attorney General on board is of course critical to passage of a state false claims act, so with General Morrisey supporting the effort, perhaps we will see a win in West Virginia for the 2014 legislative session. It is never too early to start planning….and I will, as I have in past years, volunteer to help the great state of West Virginia, but this time, with General Morrisey at the helm, perhaps my offer will not fall on deaf ears.