The job of general counsel of the West Virginia Educational Association, the teacher’s union in my home state, recently became vacant. “We had an opening and saw this as an opportunity to hire a highly qualified, well-respected attorney,” explained the association’s president. He was describing Rick Thompson, who just happens to also be the speaker of the House of Delegates, the lower house of the state legislature. Even in West Virginia, where conflicts of interest tend to be viewed charitably, having the speaker of the house simultaneously serve as a union’s general counsel proved to be too much for the state ethics commission to stomach. It has refused to give its approval of the appointment.
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