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WVU hires another lobbyist

By Dave Boucher, Capitol Bureau Chief

West Virginia University has hired a staffer for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin as a lobbyist, bringing its cadre to seven and pushing costs above $640,000 annually.

Travis Mollohan will join the state’s largest university as director of state, corporate and community relations Aug. 5, WVU said in a news release Tuesday

“If WVU is to be the kind of institution West Virginians expect it to be, it will need to be actively engaged in ongoing conversations with policymakers at all levels,” said Bill Hutchens, WVU’s vice president for corporate and legal affairs and general counsel, in the news release.

“Travis will be integrally involved in making sure these conversations happen so that WVU can hear their community’s needs, and they can hear how WVU can help meet those needs.”

Hutchens did not respond to a request for further comment.

WVU spokesman John Bolt said Mollohan will earn $101,000 in the position, but he couldn’t elaborate on his duties.

A 2005 graduate of WVU, Mollohan most recently served as Manchin’s director of constituent services in Charleston. The senator said Mollohan would “always be a part of the Manchin family” in a news release announcing his departure.

“I am very excited and deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve my incredible alma mater,” Mollohan said in the news release from the university.

“WVU has made such a positive impact on the citizens and communities of the Mountain State, and I will do my part to continue the important work of our state’s flagship university and help take it to the next level.”

Mollohan will work out of Morgantown and report to Sarah Smith, who WVU hired at a starting salary of $140,000 in December as an “associate vice president for state and corporate relations.” Based in Charleston, Smith coordinated WVU’s state-level lobbying efforts and provided guidance to the three contract lobbyists working for WVU.

All three well-known lobbyists — Paul Hardesty, Larry Puccio and John Cavicini — had $40,000 contracts through the school’s nonprofit affiliate WVU Research Corp. Cavicini and Puccio confirmed Tuesday that they recently received contract renewals for the current year. Hardesty did not respond to a request for comment.

WVU also employs two lobbyists at the federal level.

Mary Bowman, director of federal research relations, earned a little more than $120,000 from WVU in 2013, according to the state auditor’s office. Richard French, director of external and federal relations, earned nearly $161,000 in 2013, according to the state auditor’s office.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.boucher@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.


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