This article originally provided by The Charleston Gazette

May 4, 2008

Lawyers give most money to Maynard
Chief Justice Elliot "Spike" Maynard says it's the "worst hypocrisy" to focus on campaign donations from business interests while ignoring big money from lawyers.

By Paul J. Nyden
Staff writer

Chief Justice Elliot "Spike" Maynard says it's the "worst hypocrisy" to focus on campaign donations from business interests while ignoring big money from lawyers.

But Maynard took in the most money from lawyers of any candidate for the state Supreme Court. That's according to an analysis of contribution reports made by the Sunday Gazette-Mail.

Maynard has been attacked for his friendship with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. In January, pictures emerged showing the two vacationing together in Monaco. Since then, Maynard has recused himself from several cases involving Massey.

Last month, he said donations from lawyers deserve at least at much scrutiny.

"We have lawyers every day raising big money for judges, giving money to judges and appearing in front of those judges, when they have million-dollar cases at stake and million-dollar fees at stake," Maynard said during a debate sponsored by The Associated Press and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

"And I don't hear any outrage at that. That's the worst hypocrisy," added the Mingo County native.

Maynard received $134,050 from lawyers and their relatives, primarily from lawyers whose firms represent business interests. That's out of a total of $586,873 raised.

All five Supreme Court candidates received significant contributions from West Virginia lawyers.

Former Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman received almost three-quarters of her donations from lawyers - the highest percentage of any candidate.

Four candidates - Maynard, Workman, Huntington lawyer Menis Ketchum, and West Virginia University law professor Robert Bastress - are on the Supreme Court ballot in the May 13 Democratic Party primary. The top two vote getters will run in the November general election.

The unopposed Republican candidate is Elizabeth "Beth" Walker, a lawyer with the Charleston firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love. Her husband is an executive with Walker Machinery in Belle, which produces coal-mining machinery.

Lawyers biggest donors

Lawyers as a profession are the largest contributors to the Supreme Court race so far, according to Julie Archer, a research analyst with the West Virginia People's Election Reform Coalition.

The group has completed its own analysis of pre-primary contributions made to the five Supreme Court candidates.

"Excluding loans candidates gave to themselves, one-third of the money donated came from the legal profession, 12 percent came from coal and 7 percent came from health-care related donors, including physicians, dentists, hospital administrators and political associations," Archer said.

Archer's analysis also revealed Bastress received the highest percentage of donations from contributors who gave $250 or less.

The analysis of contribution reports made by the Sunday Gazette-Mail reveals:

  • Business lawyers gave the most to Maynard, but trial lawyers also gave $22,500, including: $5,000 from the Charleston firm of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; $3,000 from the J.R. Rogers firm; and $1,000 each from Charleston lawyers Marvin Masters and James Humphreys.

    Maynard received $5,000 from Scott Segal's Charleston-based firm, which won a $405 million jury verdict in Roane County that found Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy withheld gas royalties legally owed to individual and corporate property. Segal also is married to Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis.

    Chesapeake Energy officers gave Maynard $4,000 in donations. The Supreme Court is likely to review the huge Roane County verdict in the near future.

  • Ketchum received $107,271 from lawyers, nearly $45,000 from colleagues in Huntington, where he practices law, including $9,000 from his own firm of Greene, Ketchum, Bailey, Walker, Farrell & Tweel.

    Ketchum also received $5,000 from lawyers in the Charleston firm headed by Rudolph L. DiTrapano, a long-time state Democratic Party leader.

    Former Supreme Court Justice Richard Neely gave Ketchum $1,000.

    Candidates aren't supposed to know who gave them money. But at the AP debate, Ketchum said, "Judges say they don't look to see who gave. But they know who was at the fundraiser. That's why we need merit selection of judges."

  • Bastress received $39,175 from lawyers, nearly 55 percent of all his donations.

    Franklin D. Cleckley, a West Virginia University law professor and former state Supreme Court justice, is running his campaign. Cleckley was the state Supreme Court's first black justice.

  • Walker received $37,200 from lawyers, including $21,600 from her own firm of Bowles Rice and $7,500 from Steptoe & Johnson, another Charleston firm.
  • Workman received $30,325 in donations from lawyers, nearly 74 percent of all money she raised when she filed her first report.

    Those contributions came primarily from plaintiff- and consumer-oriented lawyers, including $3,000 from Berthold Tiano & O'Dell, a Charleston firm.

    Coal donations

    Maynard has received the most donations from the coal industry, by far.

    Maynard has received at least $97,000 in donations from coal companies, related mining machine and mine maintenance firms. He also received at least $12,500 in oil and gas donations, according to a Sunday Gazette-Mail analysis of his two campaign reports.

  • Coal donations came from several companies, including: Massey Energy, Magnum Coal, Arch Coal, International Coal Group (ICG), Pritchard Mining, Eastern Associates, Patriot Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Eagleback Carbon.

    After the vacation photos of him and Blankenship became public, Maynard recused himself from two major appeals to the Supreme Court. One involved a Boone County jury verdict now worth $76 million against Massey in a case filed by Harman Mining and Hugh Caperton. The second involves a Brooke County jury verdict worth $240 million against Massey in favor of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel.

    Last month, the court upheld its November 2007 ruling overturning the Harman verdict. The Wheeling-Pittsburgh case in still on appeal.

    Walker received $7,500 from coal companies and their lawyers, including donations from: Arch Coal, ICG, Trinity Coal, and Pritchard Mining. She received at least $10,900 from Walker Machinery and other mining machine and trucking companies.

    Ketchum received $6,500 in coal contributions, including $2,500 from Eaglehawk Carbon and companies owned by the Bunn family.

    Ketchum also received $1,000 from D.C. Offut, a Huntington lawyer who represented Massey Energy, and $5,000 from Berthold Tiano & O'Dell, the Charleston firm that represents Harman Mining in the case that will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Coal companies gave no donations to either Bastress or Workman.

    Other donations

    Ketchum also received $8,000 in donations from eight unions, including: the United Mine Workers, American Federation of Teachers, West Virginia Laborers' District Council and state AFL-CIO COPE, its political action committee.

    Workman received $4,000 from unions including: the Building and Construction Trades, District Council of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Laborers District Council and West Virginia AFL-CIO.

    Bastress received $1,000 from the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

    Neither Maynard nor Walker received labor donations.

    Ketchum also received $1,000 from retired Gen. H.F. Mooney and $500 from former Marshall University football coach Bob Pruett.

    Bastress received $1,000 from Emily Spieler, a former West Virginia Workers' Compensation commissioner and now dean of the Northeastern University Law School, and $500 from Gene R. Nichol, president of William and Mary College.

    Walker received $500 from Scott Rotruck of Chesapeake Energy's offices in Charleston; $500 from Steven Cohen, executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse; and $100 from Gregory Thomas, who has worked for CALA and Blankenship.

    Maynard may have raised the most money, but Ketchum has spent more. At the end of the first reporting period, expenditures came to: $314,712 by Ketchum, $143,878 by Maynard, $40,874 by Bastress, $34,816 by Walker and $2,456 by Workman.

    Those expenditures do not include independent expenditures by other organizations.

    In this election, independent expenditures have included money spent by the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation to air television ads criticizing Maynard and money spent by the Chamber of Commerce to air ads backing Maynard.

    Most campaign expenses for all candidates went to pay consultants and to air television ads.

    Workman's expenditures also included $24.25 in costs to mail packages of honey to four local Democratic committees.

    Archer pointed out how much expenditures have increased since previous elections.

    "When Maynard first ran for the Supreme Court in 1996, he raised only $181,755 in the whole primary cycle. He raised $411,805 during that entire election," Archer said - compared to almost $600,000 so far this election.

    In 1988, when Margaret Workman became the first woman to win a Supreme Court seat, she raised a total of $143,133, Archer said.

    To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail or call 348-5164.

    Campaign finances

    This year's first pre-primary campaign finance reports in the state Supreme Court race reveal:
    Elliot "Spike" Maynard raised $484,775 in contributions, but made no personal loans to his campaign. According to his second campaign report that became available Friday, Maynard raised another $102,098 for a total of $586,873 in contributions.
    Margaret Workman had $644,550 in her campaign coffers, including $41,050 in contributions and $603,500 in personal loans.
    Menis Ketchum had $546,727 - $356,729 in contributions and $190,000 in personal loans.
    Robert Bastress raised $73,736 in contributions and loaned his campaign nothing.
    Elizabeth Walker has $118,205, including $113,514 in contributions and $4,691 in personal loans.

    Voter-Owned Elections

    Citizens for Clean Elections P.O. Box 6753 Huntington, WV 25773-6753 304-522-0246