The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

State News

March 1, 2013

Bill targets attorney general's office

CHARLESTON —  In a sign that partisan tensions may be ratcheting up, 11 Democrats in the West Virginia House have introduced a bill highlighting a hiring snafu of Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The bill introduced Friday would require that all state government attorneys who make more than $100,000 have a license to practice law in the state when they are hired.

The bill targets the controversy surrounding Morrisey aide Elbert Lin, who was initially hired as solicitor general. Lin has practiced law in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., but is not expected to have a West Virginia law license for several months. Lin makes $130,000. Lin is very well credentialed, having clerked for Clarence Thomas in the U.S. Supreme Court and worked for the U.S. Department of Justice. Morrisey said Lin took a significant pay cut to join the attorney general’s office.

The bill’s sponsors said Morrisey’s hiring practices run contrary to the themes of fiscal responsibility that he campaigned on. Morrisey called the bill shameful partisan politics.

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