REPORT: “Manchin Wanted to Use Opioid Funding on Personal ‘Governor’s Helicopter’”

CHARLESTON, WV — This morning, there is a new report out exposing Joe Manchin’s 2007 request to use drug settlement funds from his time as governor to pay for a personal “Governor’s Helicopter.”

The Washington Free Beacon report unveils an internal memo from 2007 circulated in Joe Manchin’s governor’s office outlining how Manchin wanted to use opioid settlement funds for a personal “Governor’s Helicopter.” The memo drafted by the Director of Criminal Justice Services also raises “RED FLAGS” regarding Manchin’s request for a helicopter, noting public perception concerns with allocating money received as a result of a pharmaceutical settlement to benefit Joe Manchin personally.

Read the internal memo here.

Check out The Washington Free Beacon report here or read excerpts below.

Manchin Wanted to Use Opioid Funding on Personal ‘Governor’s Helicopter’ 
Opioid overdose deaths nearly doubled in West Virginia under Manchin’s watch
The Washington Free Beacon
By Elizabeth Harrington
October 11, 2018

A decade ago, West Virginia was set to receive millions in a prescription drug settlement from the maker of OxyContin. Then-governor Joe Manchin vowed the funding would help his state win the “drug war once and for all.”

Behind the scenes, however, Manchin was trying to secure a personal “Governor’s Helicopter” with the funding, at a time when opioid deaths were climbing to the highest rate in the nation.

Manchin’s request of $3 million for the helicopter raised a “RED FLAG” from the head of West Virginia’s criminal justice programs, according to an internal memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Manchin, who served as governor from 2004 until 2010, was taking “the lead” on how to spend the $44 million settlement from Purdue Pharma for its misleading claims about the addictiveness of OxyContin.

The governor wanted to “think out of the box a little bit” on how to spend the settlement money.

“We may want to put forth a good, detailed plan to satisfy those areas [of prevention, awareness, education] but we may be wanting to think out of the box a little bit,” said Joe Thornton, Manchin’s cabinet secretary for military affairs and public safety. Thornton’s comments came in September 2007 just as the state was about to receive its first payment, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

“The governor’s office has a keen focus on this being spent in the law enforcement arena in these specific areas and knows what a dent this can put in our drug enforcement efforts throughout the state,” Thornton said.

A month earlier, Manchin’s administration was busy coming up with ways to spend the settlement funding. A memo circulated by Carte Goodwin, Manchin’s chief counsel who he later appointed to fill the vacant seat left by Robert Byrd, included numerous proposed projects.

One request came from Manchin himself, marked, “Governor’s Helicopter.”

Continue reading here.