No indication WV governor under investigation

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No indication WV governor under investigation

Post by ziggy on Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:47 am

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/06/west.virginia.subpoenas/

The Department of Justice served the state of West Virginia two subpoenas this week, the governor's office said late Friday, adding that they had "not been informed that Governor [Joe] Manchin or any other state employee is under investigation."

The statement came after West Virginia Watchdog, a state chapter of the nonprofit Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, reported the subpoenas are part of a federal grand jury investigation into work done at the Governor's Mansion in Charleston. ................................

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/06/west.virginia.subpoenas/
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Re: No indication WV governor under investigation

Post by Stephanie on Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:22 pm

I wonder just how durable Joe's Teflon is.

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Re: No indication WV governor under investigation

Post by Aaron on Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:41 pm

Normally journalists wait and write a book about how a certain story or series of stories evolved. But after Fridayís story about subpoenas delivered to Gov. Joe Manchin for information from the Dept. of Administration and Division of Highways, I felt the need to give a explanation of how the story came about.

Wednesday evening a received a phone call from a source who told me that two subpoenas were delivered to Manchin that day. The only thing Iíll say about my source is that person was an eyewitness. The source said the subpoenas asked for contracts and records for businesses that have done work at the governorís mansion as well as provided services for parties there, saying the investigation was into whether Manchin has complied with bidding and state contract requirements.

I tried to call the Governorís office that night to confirm, plus sent off emails, but did not receive any returned calls or emails. On Thursday I had to sit on the story due to other matters. I was very surprised someone else didnít break it during that time, but alas Thursday came and gone without a story on the issue.

Friday morning I called the U.S. Courthouse and the U.S. Attorneyís office, but neither office could confirm or deny any grand jury investigation. That is standard procedure, so I figured Iíd get no answer. Lastly, I called the Governorís office.

The Governorís communication office has gone through several leaders the past year. First Laura Ramsburg, then Matt Turner, then Sara Payne Scarbro, who is now heading up press for Manchinís Senate campaign. My call was directed to Jama Jarrett, but she wasnít available so Melvin Smith took my call. He gave me the following statement:

ďFederal investigators contacted state officials early this week to request documents and information. The investigators asked state officials to not discuss any details of the request publicly at this time. The state officials were informed that any such disclosure could endanger or impede the investigation. The state is cooperating fully and will provide any information that is requested.Ē

With that vague statement and the info I had from my source, which I felt to be solid gold, I published my story after 1 p.m. Friday. Little did I know that it would garner the attention of the state and the nation. The newspapers that went to Smith for comment on their own stories received the same statement above, plus the following addition: ďWe have not been advised that the governor or any other state employee is under investigation.Ē Of course that statement isnít a denial.

Other state and national media piled on until 5:30 p.m., when Smith released another statement admitting that the Governorís office was asked for more than just information: ďThe State of West Virginia was served this week with two federal subpoenas. Neither subpoena was directed to Governor Manchin or the Governorís Office. No individual in the Governorís Office was served with a subpoena. The Governor has directed State officials to fully cooperate and comply expeditiously. Governor Manchin wants to get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible.Ē

A couple hours after that Dwane Tinsley, appointed as a special assistant attorney general to deal with the subpoenas, talked to reporter Alison Knezevich and explained the subpoenas were seeking information from the Department of Administration and Division of Highways.

A couple of points I would like to make. Number one, our source was right about the number of subpoenas and who received them. If the subpoenas were addressed to ďThe State of West Virginia,Ē then they did go to the Governorís office, as the Governorís office is the head of both agencies being subpoenaed.

As for the actual purpose of the subpoenas, there is no way to know if my source is right about that, though if the source was right about the subpoenas then Iíd say there is a 50/50 chance the source was right about the purpose as well. The Department of Administration has a number of agencies under it, including the Purchasing Division, which would handle issues involving bidding and state vendor contracts. As for why the Division of Highways was subpoenaed, youíve got me. I have no clue.

So what effect will this have on Gov. Manchinís run for U.S. Senate? That all depends on what other information is floating around out there. For right now this only hurts in the short run. Manchin is running against House of Delegates candidate Sheirl Fletcher and former Congressman and Secretary of State Ken Hechler in the Democratic primary to fill the Senate vacancy left behind by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

If anything this story allowed West Virginia Watchdog to fulfill a key part of its mission: to be a resource for other media outlets. We loosened the lid on the jar, but others, such as Walt Williams of the State Journal, Ry Rivard, and Knezevich with the Charleston Gazette, carried the ball to the next yard line. Many state media outlets were kind enough to give us credit and those who didnít give us credit didnít have to. Many more national outlets gave us credit as well, including Politico and CNN.

At the end of the day we have a great group of capitol reporters in Charleston and West Virginia Watchdog is proud to have a place amongst them. Iím just one guy, and those reporters have resources to take stories to levels that I just canít. At the same time those reporters can get tied up in stories causing other stories to fall through the cracks. Those stories sometimes fall in my lap. This state is better served by multiple statehouse reporters looking for truth and facts.

So thatís my story about the story. I have a feeling this is just chapter one.

Read the blog here.

I highlighted the one paragraph which explains why this story was reported the way it originally was.
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Re: No indication WV governor under investigation

Post by Aaron on Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:38 am

Could the indicagtion be changing?

Wallpapers in Stock worked on the Governor's Office and its reception area, then-chief of staff Larry Puccio's office and two additional offices, according to state records. After Puccio left the Governor's Office, he became chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party.


Puccio announced his departure as Manchin's chief of staff days before charges against Diehl were filed in December 2009. At the time, Manchin's spokesman adamantly denied any connection between the two events.


At his plea hearing, Diehl admitted that he had done the work on the government offices without previously submitting a bid or an estimate. When officials later told him that he wouldn't get paid because his invoices didn't comply with the state's competitive bidding regulations, he fabricated fake bids from other companies to make it appear that Wallpapers in Stock had been the low bidder, he said.

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Re: No indication WV governor under investigation

Post by Stephanie on Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:16 am

US Attorney R. Booth Goodwin is Manchin Senate appointee Carte Goodwin's cousin.

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