West Virginia Senate expected to impeach all Supreme Court justices after spending scandal
WASHINGTON (SBG) - The Senate in West Virginia is expected to vote Monday to impeach all of the state's Supreme Court justices. This comes after WCHS-TV helped expose an extravagant spending scandal by the justices.
A $32,000 couch, a $7,500 custom wooden floor map, and an $8,000 office chair are just some of the alleged lavish spending abuses by the Supreme Court justices of West Virginia. The House of Delegates voted to impeach the entire Supreme Court Monday.
Chief Justice Allen Loughry is facing 23 federal charges. He insists he had very little to do with his pricey office renovations.
"More than 90 percent of those renovations were completed by the time it came to my office," Loughry said.
Justice Loughry wrote a book about political corruption in West Virginia in 2006.
"They think they are better than everybody in this state that wants a blue-collar job," said Mike Folk, a Republican member of the state's House of Delegates.
Justice Robin Davis spent half a million dollars upgrading her office, including $28,000 on a rug. Davis defended the purchase, saying, "It is a high-quality rug and it will last the taxpayers of West Virginia for another 50 years.”
West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country; 17.9 percent of the population lives in poverty. Taxpayer advocate Pete Sepp says this is especially egregious.
"Taxpayers are already making huge sacrifices," Sepp said. "Public officials have an [additional] responsibility to make sure it gets cleaned up and fast."
West Virginia's constitution does not give lawmakers oversight of the Supreme Court's budget, but that could change come November. A new proposal on the ballot would give the legislature more control of the judicial branch's spending.