Mark Herring Gave Staff Backdoor Pay Raises; Colorado Funded Consumer Education and Outreach

Other states funded public schools, health care programs, autism treatment, and consumer protection

RICHMOND – John Adams, the Republican nominee for attorney general, concluded “What Mark did with the Money” today, highlighting what Mark Herring did with money from a settlement with Abbott Laboratories versus what Colorado did with the funds.

“Mark Herring found a workaround to DOJ rules to give selected staff, including his former campaign manager, backdoor pay raises,” said Adams. “Colorado, on the other hand, used the money to fund consumer education and outreach. This money should have gone back to Virginia, not to reward certain staff members.”
 
Herring found a workaround to use the money, which is generally prohibited from being used for salaries, to give 16 employees in the attorney general’s office raises of over 20% at a time when state employee salaries were stagnant. He also gave raises to his former campaign manager, as well as a former lobbyist who, prior to joining the Attorney General's office, "schmoozed lawmakers and regulators for corporate clients" according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, Herring’s attorney general’s office and Department of Law increased its payroll by nearly $2 million, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s salary database.
 
Colorado used the money to fund future consumer education and outreach.
 
What Other States Did with the Money
 
 
What Colorado Did with the Money
 
Colorado announced it would use funds from the Abbott Laboratories’ settlement to fund consumer education and outreach.
“Abbott is paying $800 million in civil damages and penalties and $700 in criminal fines and forfeiture. Colorado's share of the settlement will be used to fund consumer education and outreach in the state.” (“Colorado Gets $1.9M In Drugmaker Settlement,” Denver Business Journal, 10/5/12)
 
What Mark Did with the Money
 
Mark Herring gave pay raises to selected employees in the Office of the Attorney General by diverting asset forfeiture money from the Abbott Settlement.
“Law enforcement agencies participating in investigations with federal counterparts can share proceeds of seized assets under Equitable Sharing programs run by the Justice and Treasury departments. Both agencies have clear rules that generally prohibit the use of such money for salaries and pay raises. However, the Justice Department suggested a workaround in a PowerPoint presentation obtained from the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring after the AP raised questions about significant pay raises for several of Herring's employees at a time when state workers' pay was stagnant elsewhere. Some staff attorneys' salaries rose as much as $15,000 in a year — one had a 30-percent increase.” (Associated Press, 1/18/17)
 
 
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