The extremely rich governor of West Virginia is taking pages right out of Trump’s morally corrupt playbook, and now, he’s facing major legal trouble in response. Republicans have come to believe that because the president is seemingly untouchable right now, that he always will be, and that they are too. That is the opposite of the truth, however, and billionaire GOP’r Jim Justice just found that out the hard way.
Justice is not only facing complaints of being an “absentee governor” who ditches the state in crucial moments to take care of his private business, but he is being sued for not even living in Charleston, per the state’s constitution.
Republican Woody Thrasher, who is trying to take Justice’s seat, says that Justice:
“I think he’s a worker. I just don’t think he works on state government. I think he works on his personal businesses, which quite frankly probably need more help than the State of West Virginia does, if that’s possible.”
Now, this next part sounds a lot like Trump. Justice claims his adult children are taking care of his private businesses while he is governor. Justice said:
“Because the businesses employ thousands of West Virginians, I continue to have an interest in their success and do check in on them from time to time. There are also times where I have specific historical knowledge of a particular aspect of one of the businesses, and Jay and Jill will ask me about it.”
Facing reelection, Justice now swears that his number one priority is the state of West Virginia. Justice continued:
“Above all. as I travel from one end of the state to the other, my No. 1 focus is continuing to do everything I can as governor to make sure West Virginia will continue to improve, put people in good-paying jobs and attract industry and tourism to our wonderful state.”
Justice has ties to the Greenbrier, an upscale resort in West Virginia, and is being accused of bad ethics after almost $200k of state money was spent there in “meals and lodgings.”
According to Pro Publica:
West Virginia lawmakers are calling for a thorough reexamination of the state’s ethics rules following a Charleston Gazette-Mail and ProPublica investigation of the conflicts of interest created by Gov. Jim Justice’s ownership of The Greenbrier resort.
One central proposal, from state Sen. William Ihlenfeld, would make West Virginia the first state to mandate that governors place all of their assets into a blind trust, something Justice, the wealthiest man in the state, has refused to do. Under such an arrangement, business holdings are placed under the control of an independent manager, shielding the public official from at least the appearance of a conflict.
Sounds REALLY familiar, right?
Sen. William Ihlenfeld says this is the new face of the Republican Party:
“He appears to be using public office for private gain. I think the law can be beefed up to prevent this kind of thing.”