ICYMI: Business and financial questions loom over Jim Justice’s West Virginia Senate bid [Washington Examiner]

“Some Republicans in West Virginia are concerned Justice’s looming financial problems could become an Achilles heel.” 


Washington Examiner: Business and financial questions loom over Jim Justice’s West Virginia Senate bid 
By Samantha-Jo Roth
August 20, 2023

Key Points: 

  • Jim Justice (R-WV) continues to face growing scrutiny over a string of legal challenges against his family’s coal empire, months after launching his campaign.
  • Blackstone Energy Ltd., a Virginia-based company run by the governor’s son, is now facing up to $1.2 billion in fines…The filings claim the company continues to violate a consent order after the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality found an estimated 5,200 gallons of oil spilled at eight different mining sites.
  • This comes after the Department of Justice announced a lawsuit in May against the governor’s coal empire, seeking unpaid penalties for previous mining law violations that the federal government claims threaten environmental harm, and pose health and safety risks. Attorneys for the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division filed the 128-page suit against James C. Justice III and 13 coal companies he owns and operates for what the division alleged is “over 130 violations of federal law” that posed health and safety risks to the public and environment.
  • The governor’s companies continue to face litigation over unpaid bills, taxes, and allegations of stiffing employees, creditors, and others. 
  • [Justice] must first win a Republican primary against conservative firebrand Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), who is backed by the conservative Club for Growth.
  • Mooney continues to highlight the Governor’s financial problems and posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on Friday, “Deadbeat @JimJusticeWV fails to pay taxes yet AGAIN,” referencing a news story that claims Justice’s coal company owes $124,000 in unpaid taxes in West Virginia.
  • The Senate Democrats’ campaign arm sued Justice early this summer for his schedules as governor. Schedules that were obtained by the Associated Press found the governor devoted a significant amount of time to his private businesses, a claim Justice’s office continues to dispute.
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently announced it’ll be putting billboards near Justice’s luxury Greenbrier resort and the Kanawha County Courthouse in the Mountain State, according to a press statement. The ad will read “What is Jim Justice Hiding?” and point onlookers to a website highlighting Justice’s various scandals. The billboards are set to remain posted for one month.
  • Some Republicans in West Virginia are concerned Justice’s looming financial problems could become an Achilles heel.
  • “No one really understands how fast the points will come off Justice, once you start hitting him with all the negatives about his financial stuff,” said Rob Cornelius, a longtime GOP campaign consultant in West Virginia. “Every day there seems to be another story that [Justice] owes another seven figures to this guy, he’s getting sued by that guy, he hasn’t paid his taxes in that county, he hasn’t paid his taxes in this other county.” “Every day it’s like this drip-drip-drip — it’s legitimately his biggest problem that all his businesses are failing,” Cornelius added.
  • A group of conservative members of Congress have recently come out in support of Mooney’s candidacy. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joined Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT) in backing Mooney over Justice on Friday.
  • “There are guys like Alex Mooney who chose public service for the right reasons,” Jordan said in his endorsement, posted on X, by Mooney. “He cares about things that make America special. And he is doing an outstanding job, and we want him now to go to the United States Senate.”
  • Republican consultants in Washington also have their concerns about Justice’s financial and legal woes…“Justice has attempted to brand himself as a successful businessman with deep pockets, but the more and more that comes out about the financial headaches he and his family are facing, that basically invalidates that narrative,” said a Republican political strategist who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “…what happens when all of these problems pile up?”

  • The Justice campaign and the NRSC did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner by press time.


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