Republicans are scrambling to salvage a win in West Virginia against Democratic senator Joe Manchin, while GOP candidate Patrick Morrisey comes under scrutiny from opposition researchers.
Morrisey has garnered the scorn of some conservatives due to his wife’s firm’s lobbying for Planned Parenthood, which has not stopped Morrisey from receiving the support of Vice President Mike Pence. Morrisey won the West Virginia primary with Mitch McConnell’s support over Don Blankenship, the conservative insurgent.
“A Washington, D.C., firm partly owned by the wife of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey lobbies on Capitol Hill for Planned Parenthood, a group Morrisey and other Republicans have routinely used as a political punching bag.
Denise Henry Morrisey holds the second-largest ownership stake in Capitol Counsel, a high-powered lobbying shop that has represented Planned Parenthood’s opposition to federal legislation designed to defund the organization and prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions, federal records show. Last week, the U.S. House passed a bill that scraps the Affordable Care Act and defunds Planned Parenthood for a year.
In March, Capitol Counsel also represented Planned Parenthood in lobbying against the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to lobbying disclosures. A month earlier, Patrick Morrisey led a group of 20 GOP state attorneys general who sent a letter to the Senate urging Gorsuch’s confirmation.
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Morrissey has worked on behalf of Big Pharma, which undercuts his lawsuits as state attorney general against opioid drugmakers.
But the fight against opioids in West Virginia is complex, as one look at Morrisey’s career path makes plain.
“In my past practice I was the co-chair of a large healthcare pharmaceutical practice. But I had worked on Capitol Hill before. So I’ve done a lot of compliance work, regulatory work,” Morrisey told CBS News.
“From 2010 to 2012 were you lobbying on behalf of health care companies, pharmaceutical distributors?” we asked him.
“Well I was a private lawyer and we did do some lobbying work,” Morrisey explained.
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.
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Former lobbyist Morrisey finds himself trailing badly in the polls, according to a host of surveys performed recently in the Mountain State. Manchin leads by 9.4%, according to Real Clear Politics.
Morrisey is also going to have to answer for his knowledge of an assault on the daughter of a Republican political operative, Elgine McArdle. Witnesses at the Republican confab in 2011 tell Big League Politics the assault was widely known by leaders in the Republican Party in West Virginia.
On a phone call, Elgine McArdle confirmed that she “smacked [her] daughter in the mouth” because she was being a “smartass.”
McArdle’s daughter confirmed to Big League Politics that she filed a Domestic Violence Petition against her mother, which was later rescinded.
Morrisey’s efforts to claw back into the polls come in the aftermath of the fight to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, a fight that stemmed from the bogus claims of assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Julie Swetnick.
Elected Republican officials everywhere rushed to signal their concern for the alleged victims. Ford has since dropped the pursuit of all claims she made against Brett Kavanaugh. Claims made by accuser Julie Swetnick and creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti have been thoroughly discredited.
In the case of McArdle, top West Virginia law enforcement officers confirmed the daughter’s filing of the Domestic Violence Petition, as did the alleged assailant herself.
The elder McArdle, Elgine, works as an attorney, and serves as Chair of the Ohio County Republican Party. McArdle is also currently seeking higher office, running for Circuit Court Judge.
It remains to be seen whether the Republican establishment, including the NRSC, Mitch McConnell, and the Chamber of Commerce will get their guy across the finish line in West Virginia.
In associating closely with Planned Parenthood, working to peddle opioids to West Virginians, and hanging around with accused domestic abusers, Morissey isn’t doing himself any favors.
Here is a photo of Morrissey with McArdle:
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