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Emergency fund used by legislators

Eric Eyre and Scott Finn of the Charleston Gazette examined records of a contingency fund controlled by West Virginia's governor, finding that "Hardy County received $6.7 million from the contingency fund since 1997 - more than any county in the state - even though the county ranks 42nd out of 55 counties in population." The link? Delegate Harold K. Michael, D-Hardy, chairman of the House of Delegates Finance Committee, which helps steer the contingency money. "The governor's contingency fund was set up to help out West Virginians during disasters — floods, fires and ice storms. But during the past eight years, more than $72 million has been spent on items that were hardly emergencies." A PDF chart shows how much went to recipients in each county. Another story details $8 million in state education funds that state officials didn't request. "Legislative leaders won't say exactly what they earmarked the money for. And state schools Superintendent David Stewart doesn't have a clue about the purpose of the funds. Stewart said the $8 million came with just one caveat: that it can be released only on orders from Harold K. Michael, D-Hardy, chairman of the House of Delegates Finance Committee."

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