Attorney general Patrick Morrisey announces ethics plan - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Attorney general Patrick Morrisey announces ethics plan

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In addition to minimizing the use of what he calls "trinkets," West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Feb. 11 announced many other ethics reforms he wants to see in the office.

"We were initially thinking about doing something creative with trinkets," Morrisey said in a news conference, referring to boxes of keychains and pillboxes on the conference desk.

"But we're not engaging in any shenanigans in trinkets. The inappropriate use of taxpayer money is not a laughing matter."

So what will happen to these trinkets?

Morrisey said his office will donate them to a charitable cause.

Morrisey  said he wants to propose a constitutional amendment to limit the attorney general terms to two four-year terms.

He also wants to change the policy for advertising.

"We are going further than any other state official in the country," he said, adding that he will not purchase trinkets with the office of the attorney general's name on it.

"We are dismantling the incumbent's self-protection tools. We are not going to allow the incumbent's self-protection tools to dominate West Virginia politics."

The advertising policy would ban the use of advertisements during an election year with Morrisey's name on them, he said.

"This goes further than any policy in the state," he said.

The use of his and his office's name would extend to constituent educational materials, Morrisey continued.

"This office, in the past, has disseminated office materials under the guise of consumer protection," he said. "This campaign literature will come to an end."

Morrisey said it is important to have educational material but the policy will be similar to that of the trinkets.

"Brochures will not have my name on it unless it is incidental in nature," he said. "I want to make it less about me as a person and more about serving the public."

So what does incidental in nature mean?

Well, he said his name will be on business cards, envelopes and press releases. He also said he will minimize the use of trinkets by using only functional items for the office.

"You just won't be seeing a TV ad with my likeness or name on it. I won't have a radio ad with my name on it," he said, later adding. "If I were to run for reelection … there won't be any ads run during that election year with my name on it paid by taxpayers."

His next ethics item is to stop the use of public vehicles in a parade, he said.

Morrisey continued, saying he wants to ask the Legislature to prohibit conflicts of interests in distributing public money to private entities.

He said he will ask for a one-year prohibition "to prevent a state employee from performing compensated work or assuming employment with an entity over which that employee exercised authority with respect to conflicts or the awards of monies."

"We don't want self-dealing provisions," he said.

The last policy on which Morrisey focused was to regulate the use of outside counsel. He said he wants to move to a competitive bidding system.

"I've had requests to use outside counsel. In every instance, I talk to the client and say let's try to use inside counsel as well," he said. "There are a lot of good lawyers in our office, and we want to make sure they have the chance to do that work before engaging in hiring more expensive outside counsel."