Kelley Goes, state director for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is leaving her post to join the "prestigious" Charleston-based law firm Jackson Kelly, according to a news release.
"No matter what the issue, I could always count on Kelley to see the ripple effect and to understand the impact on the lives of West Virginians," Manchin said in the statement.
"I will miss the energy, creativity and dedication she brought to my office. But I know she will bring the same enthusiasm, wit and commitment as she moves to the private sector," he said later in the statement.
The announcement comes less than a week after Manchin criticized attorneys at the same law firm for allegedly hiding medical evidence in black lung benefits cases.
The first story in a three-part series from the Center for Public Integrity, a national nonprofit investigative journalism organization, alleges Jackson Kelly attorneys helped coal company clients in attempts to not pay black lung benefits to coal miners.
Attorneys for the law firm repeatedly did not disclose medical evidence during legal proceedings that could have shown coal miners did have black lung and were entitled to benefits, according to the center's report.
"The reported allegations appear to show that hardworking miners and their families were denied the benefits and health care services they deserved to treat black lung and provide for their families," Manchin said in a statement emailed last week to the Daily Mail.
"If these reports are true, and the individuals illegally withheld evidence at the expense of sick miners, they should be punished by the appropriate authorities to the fullest extent of the law."
Manchin did not mention Jackson Kelly by name in the release, but it's the only law firm accused of any hiding evidence in the center's report. Instead, Manchin admonished any law firms that take advantage of the legal system.
"No legal firm, lawyer, doctor, or solicitor should be allowed to intentionally and illegally manipulate the court system in order to protect corporations from being held accountable for failing to support their workforce," Manchin said in the release.
Since 2009, Jackson Kelly employees have contributed more than $50,000 to Manchin's campaigns, according to watchdog website OpenSecrets.org.