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Governor’s Son Sued by DOJ

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The federal Justice Department is suing coal companies associated with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice for not paying more than $5 million in civil penalties assessed by the Department of the Interior. The suit was reported today by Politico.

It names 13 Justice family businesses and the Governor’s son, Jay, as defendants.

The suit demands that the businesses be ordered to pay fines with interest on more than 100 violations of federal mining regulations.

It says these violations created “health and safety risks” or threatened “environmental harm” and lists each of the alleged violations.

According to the suit, the companies did not contest the imposition of the fines. Most were as the result of Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement regulations.

Although his son is listed as a defendant, the Governor himself is not named.

The suit comes just after Governor Justice, who is term-limited from seeking another term when the current one expires following the 2024 election, has kicked off a United States Senate campaign for the seat now held by Democrat Joe Manchin. Justice is a Republican.

Although offering no evidence, national Republican officials called the suit “part of the weaponization” of the DOJ by the Joe Biden administration.

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A spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee told Politico Democrats of “weaponizing the federal government to attack the family of a Republican Senate candidate.”

Democrats have long pointed to a litany of lawsuits and court actions to collect money from the Justice companies.

They point out that the Governor promised, during his first campaign, to put all his business interests in a blind trust. He has apparently not done that.

Justice is also called an “absentee governor” by Democrats who point to his refusal to live, full-time, in Charleston. They maintain his continued involvement in his family businesses and the fact that he does not live in Charleston contributes to a perceived lack of leadership from the governor’s office.

The case has been assigned to Judge Robert Ballou, a federal district judge in Roanoke, Virginia.

Spokespersons for the Governor did not immediately return a call.

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  • Ron Gregory

    From Mayor of Glenville at age 26 to Assistant Mayor of Charleston, management of various public entities, and countless political races in West Virginia – Ron Gregory is the most noted political correspondent in the state. View all posts

From Mayor of Glenville at age 26 to Assistant Mayor of Charleston, management of various public entities, and countless political races in West Virginia - Ron Gregory is the most noted political correspondent in the state.

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