The third story on tonight's CBS Evening News after Clinton's attack on Trump's foreign policy qualifications and more news about Prince's opioid problems was an excellent 4-minute segment on West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's conflict-of-interest with the drug companies that have compounded the state's drug problem.
The CBS News report does an excellent job of summarizing the Morrisey story. Special kudos go out to the Charleston Gazette (now Gazette-Mail) which has been investigating and writing about this for a couple of years while the rest of the state's media sources paid no attention to the story. (Of course, our local "newspapers" have totally ignored Morrisey's conflict of interest-- the Attorney General is one of their favorites.) Finally, another media source, and a national one at that, has taken notice.
From the CBS News article that accompanies the video:
As a lobbyist, Morrisey was paid $250,000 to represent a pharmaceutical trade group funded by some of the same distributors West Virginia is now suing.
Records show he also took more than $8,000 in political contributions from Cardinal Health, a defendant in one of the state's lawsuits. The West Virginia bar was concerned enough about a potential conflict to launch an investigation.
When he first took office in January 2013, Morrisey said he would step away from cases involving Cardinal. But five months later he met with senior representatives from the company.
The questioning continues:
While he's been in office, his wife's firm has made roughly a million and a half bucks from Cardinal. "I -- you'd have to talk and take a look at those numbers. I don't pay attention," Morrisey told us.
How does that not present an enormous appearance of a conflict, if not an actual conflict, CBS News wondered.
"Well I think we've gone through this, and people have determined that there was no conflict," Morrisey said in response.
The West Virginia bar ruled Morrisey's past lobbying work does not present an ethics issue now that he's Attorney General, but said his wife's work with Cardinal Health could "diminish the integrity of the process and create the appearance of impropriety."