West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III is involved in a controversy over a brief he filed in State Supreme Court on behalf of DuPont, a chemical company that operated a zinc-smelting plant in Spelter, W.V. DuPont recently had a huge judgment leveled against it for possibly endangering the town's residents with toxic waste. Just one question: What party does he belong to?
When Gov. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia filed a friend-of-the-court brief in June arguing that the State Supreme Court should review a $382 million judgment against the DuPont Company, he said he was not taking sides, but acting in the interest of due process.
Documents from the governor's office, however, show that Mr. Manchin had consulted with the company before filing the brief, and DuPont officials say the governor even asked them to provide him with a draft brief.
Not until the fifth paragraph is Manchin's party affiliation revealed.(Do we even have to say it at this point?) He's a Democrat, of course:
On June 24, the company appealed to the State Supreme Court. Mr. Manchin, a Democrat in his first term who is up for re-election in November, filed his brief the same day, pressing the court to consider the case. (The court went into summer recess without indicating whether it would hear the appeal.)
That's the only mention of Manchin's party affiliation.
The Times has been reluctant in the past to identify West Virginia Democrats in trouble. When Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, came under scrutiny by federal prosecutors, it took Jodi Wilogren a leisurely eight paragraphs to come to his party affiliation.
By contrast, the Times employs party IDs at warp speed when a Republican is on the chopping block. Here's how Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona was introduced by the Times after his indictment in February:
WASHINGTON - Representative Rick Renzi, Republican of Arizona, was indicted this week by a federal grand jury on 35 counts of corruption, including fraud, money laundering, extortion and other crimes, federal prosecutors said Friday.