CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Days after West Virginia University hired two lobbyists to represent it in Charleston, it hired another lobbyist to represent it in D.C.
All told, WVU could soon be spending nearly a half million dollars a year on lobbying.
The newest addition to its stable of lobbyists was announced Wednesday.
That's Richard V. French, a former director of planning at the U.S. Department of Labor. He's also a former staffer for Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick J. Rahall, both D-W.Va.
French will earn $160,000 a year, WVU spokesman John Bolt said.
"It is essential for WVU to have a strong presence in Washington to advance its national agenda and interests," WVU chief of staff Jay Cole said in a press release. "From informing policymaking to competing for grants, WVU has a great deal to offer at the national level."
French joins Mary Bowman, who has already been lobbying for WVU in Washington.
Her office's current budget — including her $89,000 salary and her assistant's salary — has been $120,000 so far this year, according to federal lobbying expenditure filings.
Bowman and French are paralleled at the state level by two recently hired contract lobbyists.
The two prominent lobbyists — Paul Hardesty and John Cavacini — registered earlier this month to lobby for WVU Research Corp., the university's nonprofit affiliate. The corporation is funded using federal, state and private money. The corporation also pays Bowman.
Hardesty and Cavacini are on an initial contract of $10,000 each for three months work. If they are rehired at that rate, the state lobbying effort will cost $80,000 a year. If Bowman continues to spend $60,000 per quarter, that's $240,000 per year. Add in French's $160,000 salary.