pcloudy.png
Sunday April 5th, 2020 4:18PM

Billionaire governor OK'd on state plane for reelection bid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's state airplane can make side trips to Gov. Jim Justice's hometown as well as fly the billionaire businessman to campaign events if the trips coincide with official state business, ethics officials said Thursday.

The state ethics commission approved the travel as long as the primary purpose of the trip is for official state business and not as a pretext for non-governmental actions for Justice, a coal magnate who owns a lavish resort called The Greenbrier.

Additional costs such as meals and lodging on the campaign trial would not be covered by the state, according to the ethics commission.

The opinion from the commission, which is appointed by the governor, came after Justice's general counsel asked the panel to determine if the trips jibe with the state's ethics regulations “in light of recent political attacks.”

The request from the governor's office comes as the Republican contends with a long-running lawsuit filed by a Democratic lawmaker that accuses Justice of violating a passage of the state Constitution stating the governor “shall reside at the seat of government" in the state capital of Charleston.

Justice has acknowledged he lives in Lewisburg, a city about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the governor's mansion in Charleston but not far from his resort. Justice, whose estimated net worth totals $1.2 billion, has called the case “a total waste of time.”

“It's a shame the ethics commission didn't stand up for the taxpayers of West Virginia,” said Del. Isaac Sponaugle, who filed the residency lawsuit. “Instead they approved the arrogant conduct of the very guy who appointed most of them to serve on the ethics commission.”

In the request to the ethics commission, Justice's General Counsel Brian Abraham said Justice has used the state aircraft "numerous" times on official business trips that started or ended in Lewisburg. He also noted that Justice's uses the plane far less than his two predecessors.

“Governor Justice receives no personal gain from this travel, regardless of where it begins or ends. It puts no money in his pockets nor provides him private enjoyment,” Abraham wrote.

In terms of campaigning for reelection in the same area where Justice conducts official state business by way of the state plane, Abraham similarly wrote that the governor “receives no private gain.”

At least one political opponent disagreed.

“No other governor has refused to play by the rules like this. We just can't trust Jim Justice to uphold his oath of office. I'll put my businesses in a blind trust, focus 100% on serving as Governor & proudly live in the mansion, as our Constitution says,” Woody Thrasher, a Republican businessman challenging Justice in the GOP primary, wrote on Twitter.

Justice won office as a Democrat in 2016 but switched parties at a rally with President Donald Trump the following year. He's seeking a second term this year.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
'Simple greed': Ex-UAW leader Jones charged with corruption
Prosecutors have charged the former president of the United Auto Workers with corruption
4:28PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Cruise ship is held off California coast for virus testing
Scrambling to keep the coronavirus at bay, officials have ordered a cruise ship to hold off the California coast to await testing of those aboard, after a passenger on an earlier voyage died and at least one other became infected
4:27PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Russia, Turkey reach cease-fire deal in northwestern Syria
The presidents of Russia and Turkey say they have reached agreement on a cease-fire in northwestern Syria, where escalating fighting had threatened to put their forces into direct military conflict
4:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Virus keeps EU Parliament session in Brussels
The European Parliament's plenary session initially scheduled for next week in Strasbourg, France, will instead take place in Brussels because of the novel coronavirus
3:51PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Insurers will cover virus tests, but check if costs apply
Vice President Mike Pence is assuring Americans that lab tests for coronavirus will be covered by private and government health insurance
3:45PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Another Year of the Man: Voters mourn women's losses in 2020
With the presidential race exit of Elizabeth Warren, Democratic women are coming to terms with a new and for some a painful reality: If 2019 was the Year of the Woman, with a record number of women sworn into Congress and then a record number launching presidential campaigns, 2020 is another Year of the Man
3:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
More states to use redistricting reforms after 2020 census
A growing number of states will be using special commissions to redraw congressional and state legislative districts after the 2020 census
2:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pelosi lambastes Facebook over Trump ad a week before census
Most people can start answering the 2020 census starting next week, and the once-a-decade questionnaire was on the minds of lawmakers on both sides of Capitol Hill
2:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
Schumer: I 'should not have used' threatening words on court
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says he “should not have used the words I used” when he said two Supreme Court justices would “pay the price” for their decisions on an abortion case
1:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Lawsuit: Georgia illegally cancelled election to high court
A lawsuit by a would-be candidate says Georgia officials illegally cancelled an election for a seat on the state's highest court
2:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
Roberts chides Schumer for 'dangerous' remarks on 2 justices
Çhief Justice John Roberts is criticizing as “inappropriate" and “dangerous" comments Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer made about Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh
11:07AM ( 5 hours ago )
Court blocks 'Remain in Mexico' policy on part of US border
A federal appeals court says it will halt a policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings next week unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in sooner
10:01PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Tornado warning system worked, but effectiveness unknown
As Tennessee heals after tornadoes ripped across the state, knowing just how many people received a heads up before the storm hit in the wee hours of the night will likely remain a mystery
4:02PM ( 34 minutes ago )
'This is not a drill': WHO urges the world to fight virus
The World Health Organization is urging global governments to pull out all the stops against the new virus
4:02PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Seattle-area officials buy $4 million `quarantine' motel
The amenities offered by the suburban EconoLodge motel may not be fancy, but they were just what Seattle-area officials were looking for in a quarantine facility for coronavirus patients
3:50PM ( 46 minutes ago )
AP Business
'Simple greed': Ex-UAW leader Jones charged with corruption
Prosecutors have charged the former president of the United Auto Workers with corruption
4:28PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Cruise ship is held off California coast for virus testing
Scrambling to keep the coronavirus at bay, officials have ordered a cruise ship to hold off the California coast to await testing of those aboard, after a passenger on an earlier voyage died and at least one other became infected
4:27PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Russia, Turkey reach cease-fire deal in northwestern Syria
The presidents of Russia and Turkey say they have reached agreement on a cease-fire in northwestern Syria, where escalating fighting had threatened to put their forces into direct military conflict
4:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Warren ends presidential campaign, centering race on 2 men
Elizabeth Warren has ended her once-promising presidential campaign after failing to finish higher than third place in any of the 18 states that have weighed in on the Democratic contest
4:24PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Virus fears grip markets again; stocks and bond yields slide
Stocks and bond yields fell sharply Thursday as fears about fallout from the virus outbreak sent more shudders through markets
4:20PM ( 16 minutes ago )