The West Virginia Education Association needs a general counsel, and Richard Thompson, Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, wanted a new client for his law practice. What could possibly be wrong with the two of them hooking up?
Plenty, ruled the state Ethics Commission, stating that having the highest-ranking member of the lower house working for one of the state’s more powerful interest groups would be an “inescapable conflict of interest.”
“I would have liked to have the services of the speaker,” said WVEA executive director David Haney. “We have had a great relationship with him, not only as speaker, but as an individual. He is a well-qualified attorney.”
Judy Hale, president of the rival AFT West Virginia, was taken aback. “This sounds very strange,” she said. “This is the first I’ve heard about it. How could he do that?”