This is so blatant it’s kind of breathtaking:
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has hired a veteran political strategist from Walla Walla, Washington, and put him on the state payroll.
Lance James Henderson, 51, who last worked for Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election campaign in 2014, was hired last month as Morrisey’s deputy chief of staff, a newly created position at the Attorney General’s Office.
Morrisey eliminated an investigator’s job in his Consumer Protection Division to make way for Henderson’s job, personnel records show. Half of Henderson’s $99,500 salary will be paid with monies from the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Recovery Fund, which finances consumer protection activities.
Henderson has never practiced law. He’s been a campaign consultant to politicians for the past 25 years, specializing in field operations and building voter databases. Politicians and their campaign operatives use the voter files to track vote habits and urge likely voters to support specific candidates and go to the polls.
On his resume posted on his LinkedIn.com page, Henderson lists these areas of expertise: “strategy, message and branding, management and organization, media relations, direct and digital marketing, fundraising, research and targeting.”
On Friday, Henderson took part in a West Virginia Republican Party conference call to discuss a possible protest of President Barack Obama’s planned visit to Charleston Wednesday, according to two GOP officials who were on the call.
Morrisey never advertised the deputy chief of staff position on the attorney general’s website or on conservativejobs.com — two places where Morrisey’s office typically posts job openings. The office doesn’t have a chief of staff.
“Hiring a political operative at a huge salary on the public’s nickel is an inexcusable breach of trust and ethics,” said Chris Regan, vice chairman of the state Democratic Party. “Patrick Morrisey has hit a new low in diverting $100,000 in taxpayer money directly to his political campaign.”
This isn’t Morrisey’s first transgression, as the Vice Chair of the Democratic Party, Chris Regan, points out at his excellent blog that you should be reading.