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This study documents the long and sordid history of corruption--both perceived and corroborated--in the West Virginia political process. The researcher explores the considerable amounts of money spent by wealthy individuals for election or re-election. It documents the effect of high-cost elections, an effect which in many instances has spawned criminal activity. The author relates ostensibly ceaseless measures of corruption at the executive, legislative, and judicial levels. The findings indicate the existence of problems in West Virginia politics since the State's inception in 1863, including vote buying, vote rigging, undue geographical barriers, and lawlessness leading to numerous declarations of martial law. The research chronicles a weak, ineffectual Ethics Act as well as a lack of statewide prosecutorial power and illuminates a lack of accountability for numerous criminal actions. The data attests that the ongoing practice of corruption has not been confined to one level of government as city, county, state, and even federal candidates have been subject to well warranted scrutiny including the nationally pivotal 1960 West Virginia Primary involving victorious candidate John F. Kennedy, Jr. The author examines Clean Money legislation as one potential avenue to reform providing that no reform will be successful without the elimination of the many advantages available only to incumbents. The researcher obtained information from books, magazines, state and federal cases, national and state newspapers, personal interviews of current and former candidates, elected officials, campaign workers, and citizens. Moreover, the author garnered information from his personal employment history in a governor's office, a United States Congressional office, two state supreme courts, a county prosecuting attorney's office, his work as a Senior Assistant Attorney General, as well as his experiences in campaign work on the county, state, and national levels. The principal initiative of this body of work is to serve as an educational tool promoting a grass roots effort to clean up the State's unfortunate political problems and mitigate voter apathy and cynicism.


Major Advisor : Raskin, Jamin

Copyright : All documents are reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

Publication Number : AAT 3107834

ProQuest document ID : 765020651