New Commerce Secretary Looks to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s new commerce secretary says he is trying to avoid conflicts of interest as he assumes his new role, but he isn’t willing to give up ownership in one of the largest engineering firms in the state.

Woody Thrasher is an owner of Thrasher Group, which according to state data, has received nearly $15 million from government contracts since 1995.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Thrasher will go before the West Virginia Ethics Commission on Thursday to request what he believes to be a “blind trust.” He says he will remove himself from the day-to-day operations of Thrasher Group and his other businesses, but wants to keep ownership.

The newspaper reports it’s unclear whether Thrasher’s proposal meets the definition of a qualified blind trust under state law.

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