Democrats sue for West Virginia GOP Gov. Jim Justice’s calendar amid Senate run

May 23, 2023, 11:22 AM

Gov. Jim Justice speaks during an announcement for his campaign for U.S. Senate at The Greenbrier R...

Gov. Jim Justice speaks during an announcement for his campaign for U.S. Senate at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Thursday, April 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson)

(AP Photo/Chris Jackson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Democratic party’s U.S. Senate campaign arm is asking a Charleston-based judge to order the release of the calendar of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican running to take over the seat held by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in 2024.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee filed a lawsuit against Justice’s office Tuesday in Charleston-based Kanawha County Circuit Court in response to an April 13 rejection of public records pertaining to the state leader’s schedule, according to court records.

“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,” committee spokesperson David Bergstein said in a press release announcing the suit.

Justice, whose family owns dozens of companies and The Greenbrier luxury resort near the Virginia border, was the most wealthy man in all of West Virginia when elected governor in 2016. For two terms, he’s been dogged by criticism that he’s rarely at the Statehouse and accused of being a “part-time governor.” His office has been reticent to share his calendar, saying it isn’t a true reflection of his work schedule.

Justice announced his run for Manchin’s seat less than a week after his reelection to the House in November.

Manchin has not yet officially announced whether he will run for reelection in 2024. The senator had recruited Justice to run for governor as a Democrat before Justice switched to the GOP at a rally for former U.S. President Donald Trump during his first term.

Justice’s campaign quickly pushed back against the Democrats’ suit on Tuesday, calling it nothing more than a political ploy. Justice campaign manager Roman Stauffer said the governor is “the frontrunner in this campaign for U.S. Senate.”

“The polling shows that he beats every other candidate,” Stauffer said in a statement. “Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are panicking and will do everything they can to prop up Alex Mooney, whom they know they can easily beat in the General Election.”

The lawsuit states that Justice’s 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.” The committee is asking a judge to rule that the governor is violating public records law and to prohibit him from “withholding records without justification.”

The suit comes after a 2019 analysis of seven months of Justice’s calendar by The Associated Press revealed almost no meetings with his Cabinet and showed he was rarely at the Capitol. His schedule mostly showed him at photo ops or simply unaccounted for.

Justice’s office had initially denied requests for the calendar from The AP and the Charleston Gazette-Mail under West Virginia’s open records law during Justice’s first term, saying it was in draft format and not an accurate log of Justice’s appointments. They also claimed its release could put his security at risk, but eventually complied.

The campaign committee mentioned that reporting in its suit, saying “the Governor may understandably desire to avoid another round of similar criticism” by rejecting its request.

“But he is the chief executive of the State and has the duty to ensure that its laws are faithfully executed,” the suit reads. “His Office’s refusal to produce the records sought is an open violation of (the Freedom of Information Act).”

United States News

President Joe Biden talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednes...

Associated Press

Senate passes GOP bill overturning student loan cancellation, teeing it up for Biden veto

WASHINGTON (AP) — A student loan cancellation plan passed the Senate on Thursday and now awaits an expected veto. The vote was 52-46, with support from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana as well as Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent. The resolution was approved last week by the […]

12 hours ago

FILE - Heather Mack of Chicago, Ill., center, is mobbed by reporters as she arrives in the courtroo...

Associated Press

Heather Mack, convicted in mother’s murder in Bali, plans to plead guilty in US, attorney says

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago woman facing federal conspiracy charges in the 2014 killing of her mother during a luxury vacation in Bali plans to plead guilty, her attorney said Thursday. The details of any plea agreement or potential penalties under discussion by Heather Mack and U.S. prosecutors remain unclear. Her attorney, Michael Leonard, said […]

12 hours ago

In this courtroom sketch, Robert Bowers, the suspect in the 2018 synagogue massacre, is on trial in...

Associated Press

Rabbi recounts fear and heroism during deadliest antisemitic attack in US history

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rabbi Jonathan Perlman took the witness stand Thursday wearing the yarmulke he had on the day a gunman burst into his Pittsburgh synagogue during Sabbath services and began shooting anyone he could find. The skullcap Jews wear as a reminder of God’s presence fell off during the Oct. 27, 2018, attack on […]

12 hours ago

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the graduation ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy cla...

Associated Press

New federal proposal aims to stop racial bias in formulas used to value homes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday that federal agencies are taking new steps to stop racial discrimination in appraising home values by proposing a rule intended to ensure that the automated formulas used to price housing are fair. “Everyone should be able to take full advantage of their aspiration and dream of […]

12 hours ago

FILE - Former San Diego Padres Steve Garvey waves to fans before a baseball game against the St. Lo...

Associated Press

Baseball legend Steve Garvey considering US Senate bid in California, energizing beleaguered GOP

LOS ANGELES (AP) — You’d have to go back a generation — to 1988 — to find the last time a Republican candidate won a U.S. Senate race in heavily Democratic California. This time, the party might get an MVP on the ballot. Baseball legend Steve Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

New Mexico imposes oil and gas moratorium on state land near schools

COUNSELOR, N.M. (AP) — Members of the Navajo community have complained to Samuel Sage for years about the noise and vibrations that rattle their homes. They tell him about the dust kicked up by heavy trucks traveling the surrounding dirt roads and the smells that come from some of the oil and natural gas wells […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...

Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.

Democrats sue for West Virginia GOP Gov. Jim Justice’s calendar amid Senate run