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MORRISEY NAMED CHAIRMAN OF GOP ATTORNEYS GENERAL GROUP


Publication: THE CHARLESTON GAZETTE
Published: Friday, February 10, 2017
Page: 3A
Byline: ANDREW BROWN STAFF WRITER

After receiving $6.8 million in campaign assistance from the Republican Attorneys General Association, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has been appointed as the national political group's chairman.

Morrisey's ascension to the chairmanship of the conservative organization comes after a chain of events that saw Jeff Sessions approved as the next U.S. Attorney General and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange appointed to fill Sessions' now-empty U.S. Senate seat.

Strange had been the chairman of RAGA, an organization that has spent large amounts of money in past years to get conservative politicians elected to attorneys general offices throughout the country.

"In addition to leading the battle against Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, Patrick Morrisey just won the most difficult attorney general race in the country, Strange said in a news release announcing Morrisey's appointment. "He is a tireless advocate for conservative values and the people of West Virginia. He also knows how to run a political organization and will do an excellent job in his new role with RAGA.

Morrisey has had close ties to the organization. The second-term attorney general had been RAGA's vice chairman, and during his most recent election battle he benefited from a RAGA-financed campaign that helped him defeat his Democratic challenger, Doug Reynolds.

RAGA, which made the independent campaign expenditures under the name Mountaineers Are Always Free PAC, hired someone to follow Reynolds during the campaign and take video of the former state lawmaker and Huntington-area businessman.

The political organization's executive director, Scott Will, was Morrisey's campaign manager during Morrisey's initial run for office in 2012.

While offering campaign assistance to Republican incumbents and hopefuls, RAGA also fosters relationships between various industry lobbyists and the conservative politicians who operate as their state's lead attorneys, according to national news reports.

The New York Times published a Pulitzer Prize-winning series that highlighted the connections between energy lobbyists, Morrisey and other Republican attorneys general, including Scott Pruitt, who is now President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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