Watchdog Group Uncovers Investigation into Trial Lawyers’ Suspicious Donations to State Supreme Court Justice and Candidates
CHARLESTON, W.Va., Jan. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) uncovered an investigation conducted by the West Virginia Secretary of State into suspicious campaign contributions made by Michael Fuller, Jr., a partner in the Mississippi-based McHugh Fuller Law Group, and Steven Edwards of Plant City, Florida. Specific subjects of the investigation were: identity theft, forgery/uttering, computer fraud and falsifying accounts and similar felonious violations of West Virginia law, according to official law enforcement files. These files, including email, letters, minutes of official meetings and electronic recordings of witness statements, were obtained through the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The recipients of the money, the campaigns of Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis, former Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Letitia Chafin for Supreme Court, were not the targets of the investigation and are not accused of any violations of law.
The report from West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, referring the matter to Kanawha County Prosecutor Charles Miller, described a series of “unlawful ‘strawman’ campaign contributions made through a scheme orchestrated by Michael Fuller, Jr. and Steven Edwards. The facts and circumstances are contained in the report and supporting documentary evidence.” The evidence includes copies of suspicious checks and a confession from one of the straw donors who claimed that Mr. Fuller asked for the donations and would repay the donors – which is a conduit contribution and crime.
“The Secretary of State gathered evidence describing felonies and misdemeanors, so why aren’t there any files to show the prosecutor presented the evidence to a grand jury, as required by law? Why did the prosecutor instead brief former Obama Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole, now in private practice, when his client was not implicated in the case? Why did the prosecutor alert Jim Cole when we submitted a FOIA request,” asked Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.
“Lawsuit abuse around the country costs honest businesses millions each year and makes it difficult to create economic opportunity for anyone except the trial lawyers. Trial lawyers with business before the courts should not be able to continue to finance the elections of the very judges who preside over those courts. Reform is just common sense and way past due. That is why we filed the FOIA request and why we continue to demand transparency and accountability,” Stauffer concluded.
West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) is a non-profit citizen watchdog group committed to equal justice for all West Virginians. WV CALA has been fighting lawsuit abuse in the state for more than 10 years, and our organization now has more than 30,000 members located in every county throughout the state.
Read more: http://www.wvcala.org/about-us
View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/watchdog-group-uncovers-investigation-into-trial-lawyers-suspicious-donations-to-state-supreme-court-justice-and-candidates-300576978.html
SOURCE West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse