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Investigation into Delegate Kathie Hess-Crouse’s Alleged Misuse of Grant Funds

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Kathie Hess Crouse

Charleston, W.Va. – Putnam County Republican Delegate Kathie Hess-Crouse is facing multiple complaints filed with the State Auditor’s office and the Ethics Commission, centering on her distribution of state government LEDA grant checks within her district. The complaints allege potential misuse of taxpayer dollars for her re-election campaign.

Photographs posted on Delegate Crouse’s social media accounts reveal instances where she presented replica checks labeled “Paid for By The Candidate,” with funds documented as LEDA grant funds. Recipients included the Nitro Fire Department, Bancroft Volunteer Fire Department, Route 34 Volunteer Fire Department, and the Town of Poca.

Complaints were filed last week, triggering an examination under State Code 12-4-14, which designates the State Auditor responsible for auditing all state grant funds. The State Auditor’s Public Integrity and Fraud Unit may make a criminal referral if necessary.

Allegations specifically accuse Crouse of violating the law by “using taxpayer money for campaign purposes” and “campaign staff offering legislative grants while campaigning.” Potential legal consequences include both civil and criminal penalties.

Delegate Kathie Hess-Crouse’s campaign manager Cheryl Rust, was also implicated in the controversy. The complaints allege Rust appeared before the Buffalo Town Council endorsing Crouse’s election and offering LEDA grant funds on her behalf. This raises questions about the intersection of campaign activities and legislative grants, potentially violating campaign finance regulations.

In addition to complaints with the State Ethics Commission and State Auditor’s Office, a potential complaint with the Secretary of State may focus on campaign finance violations. This multi-agency scrutiny emphasizes the gravity of the allegations and potential legal consequences for Delegate Kathie Hess-Crouse.

As the investigation unfolds, the public awaits the outcome, recognizing the importance of upholding ethical standards in using taxpayer funds, as outlined in West Virginia State Code. The investigation’s findings will contribute to shaping public perceptions of political accountability in West Virginia.

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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.