CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is once again asking for financial support to recoup his campaign debts. But if donors didn’t read the fine print, they might not realize it.
Last week, Team Morrisey, the attorney general’s election campaign team, sent out an email with the subject line “AG Morrisey Survey Request: Impeachment.”
“I want to ensure that you have a platform to raise your concerns and make your opinions known. Let me know what you think,” the body of the email reads, with a link to the three-question survey.
The email also includes a link to donate $25 to “Defend America.” The donation page says that Team Morrisey will take on the “over-reaching” Biden administration and its “far-left policies” with the donor’s help.
The first $1,000 donated from an individual will go to the debt retirement of Morrisey’s 2012 general election campaign. The next $2,000 goes to his 2016 campaign. Then, the next $2,800 goes to his 2020 campaign.
The next $5,000 from an individual will be allocated to Blue and Gold Fund, a political action committee. The next $10,000 goes to the West Virginia Republican Party.
If an individual exceeds the contribution limit as set by state and federal law, the excess funds will be distributed among the committees.
Joint contribution limits are doubled. Donors can also designate where they would like their contribution to go.
“Donations to Team Morrisey are transparent and every donor may determine what account to donate to,” said Charlie Spies, counsel for Team Morrisey, in a statement. “Team Morrisey welcomes support for efforts to push back against media bias and the Biden Administration’s job-killing agenda.”
According to campaign filings from the fourth quarter of 2020, Morrisey’s campaign still owes Morrisey (the person) $1.2 million from the 2012 election, just over half a million from 2016 and just over $50,000 from 2020.
Both federal and state law permit political candidates to take on significant debt by loaning money to their campaigns. What tends to happen next equates to “a legal form of money laundering,” Brendan Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center told The Associated Press.
Morrisey is among just a few wealthy candidates who use the regulation. Others include former President Donald Trump, who requested campaign contributions to pay back his 2016 debt and again in 2020. Similar to Morrisey’s contribution request, donors had to read the fine print of Trump’s request, or else they would have believed their money was going straight to help the president’s election legal battle.