CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates Finance Committee made a late night move Monday to restore proposed budget cuts to several state programs by taking money from state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Consumer Protection Fund.

The proposal, which totals $12 million, came in the form of an originating bill at the end of a long day for the committee. The bill was not on the meeting’s original agenda.   (see details of bill below)

The fund has a $19 million balance. It finances the Consumer Protection Division, which has an operating budget of $4.1 million. It also pays for consumer restitution. The House bill, plus a bill that passed the Senate Monday taking another $5 million from the fund to plug state budget holes, would reduce the fund to less than $3 million.

“We are decimating the Consumer Protection Fund,” Del. Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, said. “We are doing this at 10 o’clock without the attorney general being invited.”

But Del. Kevin Craig, D-Cabell, countered the fund’s balance is too high.

“There’s no reason to have a balance of 19 million dollars,” Craig said. “We aren’t trying to limit the attorney general, but these are quality programs.”

Several programs to be funded are related to health care including the program for seniors that allows them to remain in their homes. Finance Committee Chair Brett Boggs, D-Braxton, has previously stated funding the program is a top priority.

Del. Bob Ashley, R-Roane, said providing the programs funding for one year wasn’t really dealing with the funding problem. He also questioned the motivation for the bill.

“This is a charade. We are putting out false hope. Let the attorney general do his job,” Ashley said. He later voted in favor of the bill.

Reducing the Consumer Protection Division below its $4.1 million annual operating cost could force program changes.

The House of Delegates passed a bill earlier this session that would take some powers away from the attorney general. The bill has yet to be taken up in the Senate.

Finance Committee Vice Chair Doug Reynolds, D-Cabell, reminded committee members they’ve voted in favor of taking money from other funds in this tight budget year.

The vote in favor of the bill was 14-9 with all Democrats voting for the measure and one Republican, Del. Ashley. All nine votes against it were from Republicans. The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration.



                         ATTORNEY: Mark McOwen

House Bill Originating

  (Supplemental Appropriation)

General Revenue Funds



SHORT TITLE:  Expiring funds to the unappropriated surplus balance in the State Fund, General Revenue and making supplementary appropriations to various accounts.


DATE: March 3, 2014


REFERENCE:  FY 2014 Budget Act

FISCAL NOTE: $12,000,000





The Purpose of this bill is to:

•                     Expire funds in the amount of $12,000,000 from the Attorney General – Consumer Protection Recovery Fund to the unappropriated surplus balance in the State Fund General Revenue and appropriates the same as follows:

•                     West Virginia Development Office                                                                               

– Regional Contracting Assistance Center                                              $           166,785


•                     State Board of Education

– 21st Century Innovation Zones                                                                          400,000


•                     Education and the Arts – Office of the Secretary

– Reconnecting McDowell – Save the Children                                                    500,000


•                     Education and the Arts – Library Commission

– Grants to Public Libraries                                                                                    860,057


•                     DHHR – Division of Health – Central Office

– Safe Drinking Water Program                                                                          2,000,000


•                     DHHR – Division of Human Services

– Family Resource Networks                                                                                 150,464

– Domestic Violence Legal Services Fund                                                               30,000

– In-Home Family Education                                                                                  250,000

– Grants for Licensed Domestic Violence

Programs and Statewide Prevention                                                                357,900

– Children’s Trust Fund                                                                                             80,000


•                     MAPS – Division of Justice and Community Services

– Child Advocacy Centers                                                                                       111,908


•                     Bureau of Senior Services

– Transfer to Division of Human Services for Health Care

And Title XIX Waiver for Senior Citizens                                                        6,692,866


•                     WV Council for Community and Technical College Education

– West Virginia Advance Workforce Development                                             400,000



GRAND TOTAL                  $ 12,000,000






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  • JTF

    How much money is in the reserve accounts to operate the House of Delegates, Senate and Joint (House and Senate) accounts?

    Not too long ago there were (in aggregate) tens and tens and tens of millions of $$$ in those 3 accounts.

    These accounts build up because it is rare that the House, Senate and Joint spend all that is allocated to them in an annual budget and whatever is not spent does not return to the state treasury at the end of the year, but instead remains in those accounts and builds up.

    In some recent years, they have (to their credit) dipped into those 3 accounts to help balance the budget or fund other State programs.

    Just curious as to how much is in those 3 accounts right now. Have they aready swept the surpluses in those 3 accounts before going after the AG funding for next year's consumer protection work?

  • WV Senior

    If your budget is 4.1 million and you have 19 million, you have too much money.

    Math is important. Take $15 million and be done with it.

  • L. Moore

    No agency should be over-funded that much. It doesn't make any sense at all.

    We have a budget shortfall so no agency should get that much extra money.

  • stepenwv

    Can't cut the bureaucracy full of duplication, fraud, and waste. Cronyism is alive and well in WV as everyone knows.

  • Martin Stevens

    Why does an agency that needs $4.1 million per year need more than that this year? Why do they think they are more deserving than other programs?

    Senior citizens have been cutting their personal budgets every year and the AG's office wants to keep that much in his budget? That isn't fair to our seniors in this state.

    Senior citizen's vote and we matter.

    • stepenwv

      Do you mean the Attorney General that returned the millions from the previous administration's slush fund to the state as one of his first orders of business? LOL! He proposes audits to uncover and prevent the rest of the departments in WV government from doing what happened in the Agriculture Dept. Can't have that. How would the government function with all lawbreakers removed? There might be no one left in the current administration.

  • Melissa

    I'm not a fan of the AG. He has too many ethical issues so this is probably a good idea.

    • BAC

      Morrissey is the most ethical AG we've had in many decades. The Charleston Gazette is an evil propaganda machine. Where were they during the McGraw years when Darrell was feeding millions in fees to his plaintiff lawyer contributors? Not only silent, but they endorsed him several times.

      • Aaron


      • Jephre

        +1 +1 +1

    • stepenwv

      Law breakers LOVE the constraints being placed on Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. HR 2 makes sure Tim Miley is in control of who gets protection.

      • Melissa

        Patrick Morrisey, is that you?

        • stepenwv

          Tim Miley? You sneak, what are you doing here?

          • Interesting123

            Based on what Melissa? Your own personal conjecture?

          • Melissa

            The AG is more of a whacko than previously thought.

  • Clint

    Poor little Attorney General, how will he fund his attempts to block our clean water this way?

    Don't worry Morrisey, big business will fund what you want anyway.

    • stepenwv

      Except the special interests are funding the Democrats. Their campaign coffers are overflowing.

  • Michael

    The AG is a joke. He could care less about consumer protection. He only cares about big pharma. Fund programs that need the money and don't waste it on the AG running around doing a jobs tour.

    • stepenwv

      LOL! He thinks it is a good idea to audit all government programs as was done to the Dept. of Agriculture. Now the Democrats are in panic mode. After all, how could the government function if the law breakers were all removed? There would be no one left.

      • Barb

        stepen, FYI: Walt Helmick was the person who ask for an audit of Ag.

  • Mark

    Reynolds is not Chair of Finance. Brent Boggs is.

  • David

    Democrats are the same as communist thugs in the night....

    These people will come for your money and property once they have looted the public coffers....

  • JM

    Why not........ Nobody really cared, or appeared to care when they stripped the operational funds of other agencies last year. Some were left with enough to operate in this budget year, but will more than likely have to cut services next year as a result..... But no griping went on about that.

  • Pickle Barrel

    The final desperate measures of a party on its way out of power.

  • Independent View

    For decades, McGraw ruled the AG office as a king, with impunity from the legislature. Spending hundreds of thousands of $$ on self-promotional political trinkets, hiring outside attorneys to sue deep-pocket companies and those attorneys had made contibutions to his political campaigns. Lawsuit settlements weren't transferred to the general fund, McGraw doled them out as political favors and to pay outside attorneys to file more lawsuits. Part & parcel for WV's moniker as a "judical hellhole." All the while the governor and legislature looked the other way.
    Now we have an AG, unfortunately a Republican, yet elected by the people that has cleaned house at the AG's office and is following the U.S. and WV Constitutions and the Democrat majority in the legislature is pushing a bill to strip most of his authority and now a proposed massive budget cut to his office.
    If anyone cannot see this as smacking of partisan politics run amuck, then maybe you need an appointment with your optometrist!
    Partisan politics at the legislature at its best or its worst, dpending on your perspective.

    • whatamoroon

      You could not have said it any better. Everyone should take names now and remember them well in November. State government needs to shed those who looked away for years while millions were being wasted at the A.G's office and now want to strip it's power because the people through their party out of it.

    • Interesting123

      You hit the nail on the head. McGraw was allowed to do whatever he wanted. He was rated as one of the worst AG's in the country yet the legislature turned the other way. Now they will gut the consumer protection budget and make a campaign out of asking why he didnt do more for consumer protection.

  • JJ

    You can bet if we had a Democrat Attorney General that played ball with them this fund would never be touched. Partisan and punitive politics at it's finest. Taxpayers and voters lose again.

    • Mark

      Those are all great sound bites, but not factually accurate.
      The Democratic Leadership proposed a bill when McGraw was AG very similar to the one which passed the House last week. Many of the same Republicans who voted for it then were against it last week.
      Taking excess funds from the AG has been an ongoing issue. Appropriating the settlement money is an ongoing issue. Once again, Democratic leaders went after the same funds when McGraw was AG.
      I'm curious who "rated" McGraw as "one of the worst AGs in the country." I'm not aware of any legitimate ratings of Attorneys General, like by bar associations or courts. So who did these "ratings" you speak of? Nielson? AP? The Koch Brothers?
      Right or wrong, this session the Legislature has swept excess funds from many accounts in order to balance the budget. This is done almost every year when there is a budget shortfall. Why should the AG budget be any exception?

  • The bookman

    I was actually shocked that there was a coffee can anywhere in Charleston that had any spare coin left. As Miley and Kessler leave at the end of the session, no need to stop and lock the doors. There will be nothing left to steal, as it will already be spent or leveraged in an effort to retain power. Let's hope the voter is paying attention.

    • Sarah

      Stealing? Strong words for state money.

      If funding good programs equals an effort to retain power, I say KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! Voters need these programs more than they do an Attorney General pretending to do a jobs tour around the state.

      • The bookman

        The budget for the Consumer Protection Division is 4.1M. They are taking all but 3M. I would say waking up in the morning to find out a Department holding 19M now only has 75% of its operating budget left constitutes theft. Does the state need the money? Yep! Is this the type of solution you expect from your government? You'll have to answer that for yourself!

        • stepenwv

          You mean the Attorney General that gave the slush fund back to the general fund as one of the first orders of business??? Now to make sure Patrick Morrisey can't stop Washington from running roughshod over West Virginia and stop corruption in West Virginia Government, HR 2 and Tim Miley spring in to action to make it right for business as usual in the WV Legislature. Who has to go? You'll have to answer that for yourself!

          • reality check

            Tim is "the Tiger" - don't mess with him!

        • Sarah

          Yes, I expect them to fund programs every year, not hoard the money. ESPECIALLY when all the other state agencies are CUTTING their budgets. Why does the AG get a pass? That is completely unreasonable.

          • Sarah

            You make him sound like such a victim. Why is that? It is excess money that would run the consumer protection program for 4 YEARS.

            That is not debatable. He is not a victim. Use what you need and give the rest back to the state. There is a budget shortfall.

            This isn't an emotional issue, just a factual one. One account is in the red while another is in the black (that won't be used for several years) TRANSFER THE MONEY.

            You really need to stop making him a victim, take your emotions out, and balance the budget as best as you can. That is common sense. If you call it partisan - so be it.

          • The bookman


            I'm not being partisan by standing for an above board approach. The AG not only campaigned on the principle of turning over the peoples money to the legislature, but agreed to do so following his election to office. The framework for such appropriation should include the AG's office, and the development of an appropriate balance to maintain should come with his input. The revenue stream for this fund is not predictable, nor is it certain. The democratic leadership detests Morrisey, and they are taking what might be their last shot at him on their way out the door. By blindly following them over the cliff, you reveal your true partisanship. How can anyone hound this AG over his use of the Consumer Protection Division while turning a blind eye to his predecessor and his actions as AG? But there's always at least one, isn't there Sarah?

          • Sarah

            You're calling me transparently partisan? Pot meet kettle.

            As far as leaving the operational budget less than what is needed, they can probably fix that if it becomes an issue but there is NO REASON to keep 19 million in there. If the AG ran on that, then he should have already given it back. He should have 4.1 million in that account for operational use if that is what he campaigned on. (PERIOD)

          • The bookman

            The AG agrees that the CPF should not be held as a slush fund by his office and go through appropriate channels, unlike the previous AG. He ran on that issue. But to raid the fund leaving less than its operational budget is about as fiscally responsible as the rest of this poor excuse for a legislative session. Try to open your eyes and not be so transparently partisan.

          • stepenwv

            I do not expect this group of "them" to get rid of the duplication, fraud, and waste in the bloated bureaucracy of WV cronyism that is one of the top ten states in bureaucrats per capita. I expect this group of "them" to do all possible to fight the only one willing to fight for Mountaineers not the special interests. Get rid of this upstart that won't play ball for business as usual.

    • Aaron

      I remember when Gaston Caperton won office in 1988 and after taking office, he lobbied for and had pushed through the legislature a 6% foot tax. When questioned about why he would implement such a tax increase that he did not campaign on, he stated that he did not realize the state finances were as bad as they were.

      At the time, I thought he should have at least had an inkling as to the state of affairs but the one thing I gave him credit for was his leadership in stating what the problem was, what he believed the resolution to be and then stood behind his decision.

      Our leaders have know since they came to Charleston that the budget faced a significant yet nearly 2 months later, no one in a leadership position has addressed our financial situation in a meaningful way. If anything, by pushing through the Future Fund along and opening up the rainy day fund to cover shortfalls, they've done the exact opposite in that they have essentially ignored our problems.

      It's not like options were not put forth. One legislature put for a sales tax increase similar to the one you proposed on more than one occasion but it was shot down each time with the reason being leadership did not want they and their members to have to answer for a tax increase in an election year.

      Both Miley and Kessler lobbied hard for their current leadership positions yet when leadership was required, neither offered any. Were I a Democratic Legislature and the voters of Miley's and Kessler's (if he is running this year) respective districts were foolish enough to return either to Charleston, I would certainly look to remove both from their positions next year as both have failed miserably in their current roles.

      • Steven

        Aaron, you realize budget week comes next week right? That is when they focus on the budget. AFTER the session is over.

      • The bookman

        Agreed Aaron. I hate taxes. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see we can't cover current expenditures, and you can only implement a hiring freeze for so long to execute the 7.5 % mandated cuts. Prezioso has been highlighting the coming shortfall for years, so where was the plan. The sad part is Miley will be right back in his seat as the voters of his district desire that power to be connected to their district in Clarksburg and the same goes for Kessler,(he isn't up until 2016.). I hang this mostly on Tomblin and here is why.

        When Manchin was Governor he spoiled the Legislature by putting the legislative package together and selling it before the session convened. The session was more like reading a book. The legislature became lazy and could deflect any negativity toward Manchin as it was his agenda, not the legislature's. All the while they would vote lockstep with Manchin and approve his package. And then the session was over. Tomblin had no plan from the revenue side of the ledger, only spending. The heavy lifting was left for Prezioso, Miley, and Kessler. In the absence of will and leadership, we are left with government in disarray, and a complete lack of direction in where we are going with the budget. Session ends Saturday, and calling a special session or extending the current one won't help, as they are still deficient any real solutions. It isn't time they need, it is the recognition of the real problems and the available solutions for those problems. They are going on a deep post into the Rainy Day Fund, and next year they better bring their A game as it's Baylor all over again!