DOJ Goes After West Virginia Governor’s Son

DOJ Takes Civil Action Against West Virginia Governor’s Son

( – In what Republican West Virginia Governor Jim Justice argues could be a politically motivated action, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a civil suit against his son, Jim Justice III, for failing to pay fines that his company was ordered to pay. Governor Justice’s son began running the 13 mining companies that the family owns when he took office in 2017, but rumors have been swirling that he may be looking to sell in preparation for his U.S. Senate campaign. On May 31st, 2023, Governor Justice addressed the suit during a press briefing, stating that “we could very well flip the Senate,” when speculating on what motivated the DOJ to act against his companies.

Governor Justice announced on April 26th, 2023, that he would be running for Senator Joe Manchin’s seat. Senator Manchin has not announced that he would be seeking another six years in the Senate, but rumors have swirled that he could potentially be preparing for a presidential run on a third-party ticket, as he has disagreed with the direction of the Democrat Party in recent years. A February poll showed that Justice could defeat Manchin, as he is widely popular in the deeply Republican state.

The companies owned by the Justice family owe $5 million to the Department of Interior, and the DOJ has tacked on $2.6 million in interest and expenses. According to the complaint, the companies have been cited for around 130 federal violations over the span of five years, with the latest violations occurring in 2022. They were also warned by the government to cease operations until they corrected the issues, which the DOJ says they failed to do. A statement released by the DOJ said that federal laws regarding the environment aim to “protect communities against adverse effects of industrial activities,” adding that they are filing the suit to hold the Justice family companies accountable. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) blasted the DOJ in a statement, accusing the Biden administration of targeting the candidate.

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