The Herald-Dispatch. December 7, 2022.
Editorial: It’s too early for a Capitol rioter to run for office again
Derrick Evans, the Prichard resident who was elected to the House of Delegates but who gave up his seat after participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, says he might run for Congress.
On Tuesday, Evans announced on Twitter his plan to form an exploratory committee to determine whether he should run for Congress.
Evans recently completed a three-month sentence at a federal prison in Michigan after pleading guilty in June to one count of civil disorder, a class D federal felony. A three-year period of supervised release follows his release from prison.
At his sentencing hearing, Evans took full responsibility for his actions. After the hearing, Evans returned to Facebook and did a media tour, promising followers he would continue to fight for democracy “around every corner.”
Forming an exploratory committee does not mean Evans is seeking a return to public office. He’s testing the waters, as they say, to see if he would be a viable candidate. It would be a great surprise if he finds enough support from voters and donors to make a viable run for elected office so soon after his release.
Evans apparently sees himself as a martyr to the MAGA cause — a political prisoner who seeks vindication from voters. Only he really knows why he went inside the Capitol that day, but the facts are that he did and he served time in a federal correctional facility for it.
Not enough time has passed for the public at large to accept that he is genuinely sorry for what he did, if he really is. Instead, he appears to be trying to profit from it. He could have been ready to begin his second term in the House of Delegates were it not for what was at best a lapse of judgment on Jan. 6.
Even the Number One MAGA advocate himself, former President Donald Trump, is self-destructing politically by refusing to let go of 2020 and focus instead on what the nation needs in 2024 and beyond. Even if you think the 2020 election was stolen, it’s done and over with. It’s not going to be reversed except at the 2024 ballot box.
A sizable number of voters think the Jan. 6 defendants are political prisoners who were set up, railroaded and convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. The problem for the Jan. 6 defendants is that most voters believe otherwise or at the very least don’t care.
If Evans is to resume his career in politics, he will need to let go of 2020. It’s best that he lay low and rebuild his reputation slowly so that he can demonstrate to swing voters and others that he truly is a different person than the one who joined the mob and invaded the Capitol. As the good book says, bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Give the public time to forgive you once you truly regret what you did.
Notoriety can carry you only so far. Time and a rebuilt reputation can take you further.
The Intelligencer. December 10, 2022.
Editorial: Dealing With Fraud From COVID Relief
Over the past few years, Congress has allocated more than $5 trillion to individuals and businesses to help them weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the amount of money involved, and the loose rules through which that money was made available — particularly during the initial rounds when money was being handed out with little more than a person’s word that they qualified — the programs were bound to be hit by fraudsters.
Justice is now being sought against some of those who allegedly defrauded the government, and U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld of West Virginia’s Northern District is helping lead the charge.
On Wednesday, Ihlenfeld announced that five individuals — four from the Northern Panhandle and one from Bridgeport, West Virginia. — had been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges ranging from wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements to a federal agent and money laundering. All the charges stem from alleged activity that defrauded the taxpayers when it came to COVID-19 relief.
“Because the government moved so quickly, because it had to push out the money so rapidly, we had some people who took advantage of the situation,” Ihlenfeld said in announcing the charges. “We had some people who manipulated the programs that were rolled out.”
The five charged to date include Wheeling resident and former West Virginia House of Delegates candidate Dalton Haas; Jodi Headley of Chester; Shawn M. Murphy of Moundsville; David Boyd of Chester; and James A. Nolte of Bridgeport, West Virginia.
What makes this even more interesting is that Ihlenfeld noted his office hired law students over the summer to concentrate specifically on COVID fraud cases. That’s a great way to prioritize the issue while also giving students real-world experience.
Ihlenfeld deserves credit for having his office focus on this matter. Prosecuting those who defraud the taxpayers should always be priority No. 1.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. December 9, 2022.
Editorial: Hunger: Your food donations can make a difference
You can’t argue with Gov. Jim Justice’s sentiment that “The bottom line to the whole thing is we don’t need people going hungry in West Virginia.”
And it’s encouraging to know the governor does seek to include in his budget funding for two of the state’s larger food banks: Hunger Foodbank in Huntington and Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway. Each is getting another $500,000 from the state to continue the work of supporting other agencies. The two of them partner with hundreds of other agencies across the state. Some of the money these groups get is for food, of course, but some of it is used for purchasing items such as freezers or improving the distribution process.
And there is a lot to distribute. Last year, the two food banks distributed approximately 30 million pounds of food.
The need is only growing. Think of it. Thirty million pounds of food (and those in need of the help provided by food banks are often also in need of toiletries and other necessities, clothes, shoes… ) needed by struggling individuals and families.
If you do not know what it feels like to be hungry, or to not have enough clothes in your closet, count yourself blessed. And consider whether you could be doing something to help these folks, too. Yes, state government is doing what it can — and certainly lawmakers could be working harder to provide the economic diversification and growth our state so desperately needs — but we can do our share as well.
Next time you make a grocery run, consider whether you could add nonperishable items to your cart that could be dropped off at the local food bank on the way home. Consider whether the items in your over-filled closets could be doing more good for someone else. Consider whether you can be doing something to make a difference for those in need.