DSCC Files Lawsuit Against Jim Justice Over Refusal to Release Work Schedule

Today, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sued Jim Justice’s office to demand the release of records pertaining to the Governor’s official schedule or official calendar from January 2017 to present. The lawsuit comes after Justice’s office repeatedly failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests for his official schedule or official calendar and the DSCC sent Jim Justice’s office a litigation hold and notice.

Justice has faced an ongoing scandal over his work schedule. The Associated Press reported Justice was “largely absent in job,” while the Charleston Gazette-Mail wrote that “work hasn’t always been top of mind for the two-term governor,” and he continues “refusing to release his official schedule and calendar.”

“Jim Justice cannot hide his work schedule — or lack thereof — from West Virginians, and this is an area which is sure to receive further scrutiny in his nasty primary and in a court of law,” said DSCC spokesperson David Bergstein. 

Key points from the lawsuit filing:

  • …In the face of a request properly issued under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), his office has refused to produce the most basic records from his time as Governor: lists of the official meetings scheduled for him and his most senior staff.
  • Notably, the last time he produced such records—in 2019—they showed that Governor Justice “almost never meets with his Cabinet, is rarely at the capital and was largely missing at one of the most critical points of [the] year’s legislative session.”
  • The Governor may understandably desire to avoid another round of similar criticism, but he is the chief executive of the State and has the duty to ensure that its laws are faithfully executed. 
  • His Office’s refusal to produce the records sought is an open violation of FOIA. W. Va. Code § 29B-1-1 et seq.
  • The Governor’s Office’s failure to produce responsive records violates FOIA. Plaintiff therefore brings this expedited action for declaratory and injunctive relief seeking an order: (1) declaring that the Governor’s Office’s failure to produce records responsive to Plaintiff’s request violates FOIA; (2) enjoining the Governor’s Office from withholding records without justification and ordering immediate production to Plaintiff of all records that have been improperly withheld;

Find the full filing here

See also: What They’re Saying: DSCC “Seize[s] On Reports Jim Justice ‘Largely Absent,’” Will File Lawsuit To Obtain Official Schedule And Calendar


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