Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) came up with an interesting way to spend money received by West Virginia from a prescription drug settlement with the makers of OxyContin. Then-governor Manchin, in a memo, suggested a “Governor’s Helicopter”.
“Governor wants settlement funding dedicated to purchase a new helicopter,” the memo states. “This request needs not only to determine the ability to fund, but under what circumstances would a helicopter be allowed under the stipulations of the settlement. Call me if you have questions or this doesn’t make sense. $3 million.”
The Freebeacon continues,
Thornton sent the proposed projects list to J. Norbert Federspiel, the director of the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Federspiel said he reviewed the list at the end of July with the U.S. attorney’s office and made observations on which items would likely be approved for law enforcement purposes.
Manchin’s request for a personal helicopter received a “RED FLAG.”
“First off it cannot be the Governor’s Helicopter,” the note reads.
Federspiel dismissed the idea of a personal helicopter and expressed skepticism that the $3 million cost could be justified as combating illegal drug use if Manchin used the helicopter at all.
“If it is used predominantly by State Police for law enforcement activities, it is probably justifiable,” he said. “Assurances and documentation of usage for law enforcement purposes would be a must. I don’t know what percentage of use the Governor could make of such a thing, but at very least I’m sure that [West Virginia State Police] WVSP would need to us [sic] it the majority of time in order to fly.”
“State police would have to document their need for the bird,” Federspiel added. “Beware of public perception and awareness.”
Unfortunately for Joe, this incident isn’t his only problem. Recently he’s come under scrutiny regarding a failure to report ownership in an LLC that holds a yacht that’s reportedly worth $700,000. More on that here.