State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he has stepped aside in another state lawsuit, the third case he has acknowledged recusing himself from in recent weeks.
Morrisey backed away from this case, involving a former employer and a current lawsuit, months ago, spokeswoman Beth Ryan said.
"In the third case, the Attorney General stepped aside earlier this year in a matter involving Bank of America because the company was represented on the matter by his former law firm, King & Spalding, while Attorney General Morrisey was still at that firm," Ryan said Tuesday in an emailed statement.
Ryan said Morrisey isn't certain when he learned King & Spalding was involved in the case. She said Morrisey never worked on it while at the firm, but Chief Counsel Dan Greear is now in charge of handling the lawsuit for the state.
"Any time a lawyer with a large firm changes firms or enters government service, there will be circumstances where it is appropriate for that lawyer to remove himself from involvement in a case in order to maintain the highest ethical standards," Ryan said in the statement.
"This is natural when you have highly experienced individuals from the private sector enter public service.
"That is exactly what has happened here: The West Virginia Attorney General's Office will always place ethics first, which is why the Attorney General always goes beyond the legal requirements of the law to set a higher standard."
She didn't provide any documentation to show Morrisey was not involved in the case, but said it was required that he step aside. The Office of the Attorney General did not publicly state Morrisey's decision to step aside until asked by the Daily Mail.
The lawsuit in question was filed in 2010 by then-Attorney General Darrell McGraw. Bank of America was one of more than 20 financial institutions accused of conspiring to keep millions of dollars from the state through unfair practices involving municipal derivatives.
Municipal derivatives represent a massive economic market, and have been a very common form of investment in recent years. In the original lawsuit, McGraw alleges Bank of America and other companies worked together to either keep money from the state, thwart competitive bidding practices or issue unnecessary fees.
West Virginia's lawsuit is part of a multi-district litigation, involving many other states.
King & Spalding, a massive, Washington-based law firm is representing Bank of America. Morrisey joined the firm in April 2010 and worked there while the firm represented the bank in the lawsuit involving West Virginia.
Morrisey has removed himself from two other state lawsuits, as reported in articles published in the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
The state is suing Cardinal Health Inc., a pharmaceutical company McGraw alleges intentionally made money from and helped contribute to the state's problem with prescription pills.
Ohio-based Cardinal Health gave $2,500 to Morrisey's inaugural campaign, according to records filed with the secretary of state. Cardinal hired a lawyer that headed Morrisey's transition team, Mark Carter, in this case after Morrisey was elected, according to the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
Morrisey's wife, Denise Henry, is a lobbyist for Cardinal Health, which has paid her company, Capitol Counsel, more than $600,000 since 2012, according to public records published by the watchdog website OpenSecrets.com.