Charleston, WV – In an ongoing saga that continues to captivate the state’s political landscape, the West Virginia Federation of Republican Women (WVFRW) finds itself at the center of a divisive dispute that began with the replacement of Greenbrier County’s 46th District Delegate.
The normal delegate replacement process took an unexpected turn when Dr. Jeani Hawkins, President of the West Virginia Federation of Republican Women (WVFRW), penned a letter addressed to Governor Justice. In the letter, Dr. Hawkins expressed the federation’s desire to contribute to the selection process and offered support for two female candidates, Sue Spicer and Dana Payne, while making what some perceived as critical remarks about the lone male nominee, Jeff Campbell. This development ignited a firestorm within the local GOP, with some party officials calling for the federation to maintain neutrality in an intra-party selection process.
Greenbrier County Republican Chair Ben Anderson took great exception to what he perceived as disparaging comments about Jeff Campbell in the letter. He went as far as to say the WVFRW President and Greenbrier Republican Women President Denise Morrisey were “Flat-Out Liars”. Anderson defended Campbell’s transition from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party some three years ago and highlighted Campbell’s active involvement with the Greenbrier County Republican Committee over the past three years.
Adding fuel to the controversy are claims that Denise Morrisey, the wife of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and a renowned lobbyist, may be exerting undue influence on the federation’s involvement in the matter. Allegations have arisen that Denise Morrisey is attempting to wield influence over the party and impose her preferences on the selection process. Dr. Hawkins sent an email to the WVFRW Executive Board and said, “Recently, several ladies from the Greenbrier Federation of Republican Women reached out to me and asked me to contact Governor Justice”. This information answered one of our outstanding questions. We have included updates to those questions.
1. **Motivation for Involvement**: What prompted the state federation’s involvement in this appointment, deviating from their usual practice of remaining uninvolved in similar situations?
Per Dr. Hawkins’ email, the Greenbrier County Republican Women led by Denise Henry Morrisey contacted the state President to write a letter instead of writing it themselves.
2. **Election to Federation Board**: When and how was Denise Morrisey elected to the federation board as an at-large member, particularly given that such an election requires a vote by the Executive Board?
Multiple sources have confirmed there was no election by the Executive Board and that Mrs. Morrisey was “appointed” by Dr. Hawkins who never followed through with the proper election. This appointment came at the same time the Morriseys made donations to the WVFRW.
3. **Pam Krushansky’s Role**: Was Pam Krushansky, an employee of the Attorney General’s office and also holding a position in WVFRW, involved in Denise Morrisey’s appointment to the board?
Pam Krushansky is an employee of the Attorney General’s office. She works as a “Consumer Advocate” in the North-Central WV Region. Her 2022 compensation was $55,921.52. In her role she travels to various locations – primarily Senior Centers to present information on behalf of Patrick Morrisey. Prior to her position, she worked for Congressman David McKinley as a field representative. She also previously served on the Monongalia County Republican Executive Committee and is currently a member of the WVGOP Executive Committee representing the 13th Senatorial District. Mrs. Krushansky is clearly a political operative who works for the Attorney General and current candidate for Governor Patrick Morrisey. A FOIA request has been submitted to the Attorney General’s office for records related to Pam Krushansky’s political action while an employee and while using state resources.
4. **Financial Contributions**: Have the Morriseys made any financial contributions to the federation, and if so, what impact might this have on their involvement in party matters?
The Morrisey’s have made contributions recently to the WVFRW. This is the first time they have contributed in the last four years.
5. **Political Action Committee Status**: How does the federation’s recent involvement in the selection of a Delegate align with its dissolution of Political Action Committee status earlier this year?
The WVFRW dissolved its PAC earlier this year. A formal complaint has been filed with the Secretary of State regarding their political action. Additionally, ethics complaints are also being submitted for investigation.
This ongoing controversy exposes deep divisions within the West Virginia GOP and raises significant questions about the role of advocacy groups in shaping party politics and influencing the democratic process. The resolution of this dispute and its potential ramifications on future political dynamics in the state remain subjects of intense interest and scrutiny.
Members of the WVFRW are not taking these issues lightly. Several executive board members have submitted a request to Dr. Hawkins for a special meeting to be called as soon as possible. The items requested on this agenda include: the endorsement letter that was sent without board approval, the appointment without election by the board of Denise Morrisey, the refusal of AG employee Pam Krushansky to provide a complete member list, and the request for the resignation of Dr. Jeani Hawkins.
Hawkins acknowledged the meeting request but did not set a date or time. The organization’s bylaws call for a 7-day notice of a special meeting. Dr. Hawkins has said she feels this should be an in-person meeting. Other members quickly objected and pointed out that the issues were severe and required a timely response where all members could participate.
Meanwhile, the fallout continues at the local level where some officers of Denise Morrisey’s Greenbrier County Republican Women have tendered their resignation. Other Republican members across the state have also expressed their disapproval of the leadership and actions of Hawkins and Krushansky and have said they are waiting until the outcome of the special meeting to determine if they will remain members.
Stay tuned for further updates as this story develops.