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Afflicting the Comfortable

Thomas F. Stafford
HC/J  978-1-933202-04-4
PDF  978-1-935978-07-7


"Government corruption was not invented in West Virginia. But there are people who contend that West Virginia officials have done more than their share over the years to develop state-of-the-art techniques in vote theft, contract kickbacks, influence peddling and good old-fashioned bribery, extortion, fraud, tax evasion and outright stealing."  New York Times

While investigating  the Invest Right scandal, Thomas Stafford, a former journalist for the Charleston Gazette, found himself in a very precarious position. As a reporter he felt obligated to tell the whole truth, and he believed in the need to serve the public and those West Virginians who were being abused by a political machine. In Afflicting the Comfortable, Stafford relates such tales of the responsibility of journalism and politics in coordination with scandals that have unsettled the Mountain State over the past few decades. His probing would take him from the halls of Charleston to the center of our nation's ruling elite. Guided by his senses of duty, right, and fairness, he plunged head first into the misdeeds of West Virginia's politicians. His investigations would preface the downfall of a governor and an adminstration that robbed the state and the citizens of West Virginia for many years.


  • Foreword by Ronald L. Lewis
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part One
    1. Depression Politics
    2. A New Battlefront
    3. Editorial Influence
    4. A Byrd's Eye View
    5. A Man For Another Season
    6. Political Shake-Up
    7. "One Brief, Shining Moment"
  • Part Two
    1. He Never Used the Broom
    2. "Run It Up the Flagpole"
    3. The Ripple Effect
    4. Uncharted Territory
    5. A Sense of Passion
    6. "I've Got a Proposition"
    7. The Threat of Libel
    8. Striking Gold
    9. Going to Press
    10. A Promise Curtailed
    11. "It Wasn't Any Pleasure"
    12. Storm Warnings
    13. The Party Faithless
  • Part Three
    1. The Strength of Their Convictions
    2. Why?
    3. Judicial Remedy
    4. Moore Controversies
    5. A Lifetime Commitment
    6. Third Time Around
    7. Three Words Again
  • Part Four
    1. Caperton's Inheritance
    2. Once Too Often
  • Afterword
  • Index


"Like a mason building a house brick by brick, Tom Stafford builds his case in great detail, showing a half-century of plundering and incompetence by others given high public trust, including at least one individual whose wrongs may yet end up costing the state as much as a billion dollars."
John Olesky, journalist and editor for forty-three years

"As a member of the elite of West Virginia society, with access to the powerful, Stafford offers readers a unique insider's look into the events of his day, at times struggling with the social ostracism he and his family faced because of his reporting."
Sharon Hatfield, author Never Seen the Moon: The Trials of Edith Maxwell