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West Virginia State Supreme Court Judge Menis Ketchum to retire July 27 amid investigation of misconduct in office

July 18, 2018: West Virginia State Supreme Court Judge Menis E. Ketchum announced on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, that he plans to retire on Friday, July 27, 2018—and his retirement announcement occurred one day before a series of impeachment hearings was set to start in regards misconduct allegations against Ketchum and fellow State Supreme Court Judge Allen Loughry. Ketchum faxed a two-sentence handwritten letter to Gov. Jim Justice announcing his retirement. The Supreme Court posted a copy of the letter on its website. Justice said he has begun the process of filling Ketchum’s soon-to-be-vacant seat on the court. “I have directed my general counsel to provide the necessary documentation to the Judicial Vacancy Commission and other state agencies as may be appropriate to fill this vacancy created by Justice Ketchum’s resignation,” Justice said in a press release. Ketchum’s letter occurred as state legislators prepare for a historic set of impeachment hearings. Members of the State House Judiciary Committee were scheduled to meet on Thursday, July 12, 2018, in the first of several hearings to consider whether the House of Delegates should bring impeachment charges against any of the Judges who are currently on the court. “We appreciate and respect the decision of Justice Ketchum to step down from the court,” said Senate President Mitch Carmichael, Jackson Republican, in a press release. Loughry, the Republican former Chief Justice, has been the focus of much of the investigation and public scrutiny until now. Loughry faces a 22-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying to federal agents and witness tampering, among other things. Before that indictment was released publicly, however, Loughry was criticized in a series of reports from the Legislative Auditor. Ketchum was also targeted. Among other things, the first audit suggested that Ketchum might have violated the state’s Ethics Act with his use of state vehicles. Ketchum used a state-owned vehicle to travel to Virginia on several occasions to play golf, the audit found. He is quoted in the audit as saying that he doesn’t recall the trips, but repaid their cost “out of an abundance of caution.” The audit also found that Ketchum collected a reimbursement to drive his personal vehicle to and from Charleston to his home in Huntington. Regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) require the state Supreme Court to calculate the value of the benefit of the cars and include them on the employee’s tax documents. “The Supreme Court Administrative Office has not correctly calculated Ketchum’s W-2s since at least 2012,” the audit reads.

Jeffrey Tricoli, Co-Director of FBI Foreign Influence Task Force, resigns

July 18, 2018: Jeffrey Tricoli, who co-directed the Foreign Influence Task Force at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), resigned in June, 2018. The Task Force is investigating Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections, including the 2016 presidential election. Twelve Russian intelligence agents have been indicted by U.S. Department of Justice officials for illegally interfering with U.S. elections, including the 2016 presidential election. Tricoli resigned to take a job as a senior vice president at the Charles Schwab Corporation, the company has confirmed. Tricoli was an eighteen-year veteran of the FBI who was appointed as a Section Chief at the bureau’s Cyber Division in December, 2016. Tricoli didn’t respond to requests for comment sent to his personal e-mail and to his LinkedIn account. The FBI is a division of the Justice Department.

Stephen O'Bryan hired as Senior Vice President, Chief Global Business Development Officer, at L3 Technologies

July 18, 2018: Stephen O’Bryan has been hired as a Senior Vice President and Chief Global Business Development Officer at L3 Technologies. O’Bryan will be responsible for coordinating the company’s business relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense, Congress and international customers, L3 officials said on Friday, July 13, 2018. O’Bryan has worked in the aerospace and defense fields for thirty years. O’Bryan previously worked as a Surface Warfare Officer and as an F/A-18 Pilot for the U.S. Navy. He is on the boards of directors of the Association of Naval Aviation and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. L3 Technologies is based in New York City.

Richard Hooker resigns as Senior Director for Russia, Europe and NATO, White House National Security Council

July 18, 2018: Richard Hooker left office as the Senior Director for Russia, Europe and NATO at the White House National Security Council (NSC) on June 29, 2018. The circumstances of Hooker’s departure are in dispute, and it’s not clear whether Hooker—a retired U.S. Army Colonel—was forced out or if his detail at the NSC came to its natural end. Hooker was the NSC’s Senior Director for Russia, Europe and NATO for the past fifteen months. Hooker headed back to the National Defense University, which is part of the Pentagon’s cross-service military-education system, which had loaned him to the NSC. Hooker has deployed to Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. His knowledge of NATO is intimate, having previously worked as the dean of the NATO Defense College in Rome.

Tom Lange resigns from West Virginia School Building Authority

July 18, 2018: Tom Lange resigned as a Member of the West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) on Friday, July 13, 2018. Gov. Jim Justice said in a press release that was released on Thursday, July 12, 2018, that he had received and accepted Lange’s resignation, which was effective on July 13, 2018. Justice said Lange expressed in an e-mail to David L. Roach, the authority's Executive Director, his disagreement with recent changes. "I have thought a great deal on the changes you have been directed to make and philosophically believe the changes aren’t in the best interest of WV taxpayers," Lange said in the e-mail. "So as of Friday, July 13, I am terminating my appointment to the School Building Authority." Justice said the e-mail was, at Lange's request, also forwarded to Brian Abraham, the Chairman of the Authority and a Special Counsel for Justice. "In his email Mr. Lange referred to changes being made that aren’t beneficial to the taxpayers of West Virginia," Abraham said in a statement. According to the SBA's website, Lange was an SBA Member since 2005, and he was appointed to the position by then-Gov. Joe Manchin.

Aas Hutchinson appointed Member, White House Council of Governors

July 18, 2018: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was appointed as a Member of the ten-Member federal Council of Governors on Thursday, July 12, 2018. The Council of Governors was created by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2008 and was formally established by an executive order issues on Jan. 11, 2010. The Council is intended to serve as a mechanism for governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense, and defense support to civil authorities. Hutchinson was appointed to a two-year term on the Council of Governors.

William Norine to resign as Wisconsin District Attorney for Burnett County on Sept. 1

July 18, 2018: William Norine has announced that he plans to resign as the Burnett County, Wis., District Attorney on Sept. 1, 2018. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced on Friday, July 13, 2018, that he is looking for applicants to be appointed to succeed Norine. The new appointee would be in office for the rest of Norine’s unexpired term, and would be up for election to the seat in November, 2020. Walker said he is accepting resumes, cover letters and applications no later than 5 p.m. on August 3, 2018.