West Virginia governor is using coronavirus aid as a 'slush fund': senator
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R). Image via screengrab.

On Wednesday, West Virginia MetroNews reported that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is accusing GOP Gov. Jim Justice of using federal pandemic relief as a "slush fund."

Appearing on MetroNews' "Talkline," Manchin alleged that Justice is dragging his feet on distributing $1.25 billion needed by small businesses and local governments.

"This is nothing but a slush fund for Governor Jim Justice and other governors around the country that have not let their money go out," said Manchin. "In West Virginia, only 3.5 percent of that money has been distributed. $44 million have gone to cities and counties so far ... If you start playing with the people’s money, especially when the governor starts playing with the money the Legislature should be involved in dispersing and calling it on his own during an election year, that’s a slush fund."

Justice, a coal tycoon elected in 2016, has vehemently denied Manchin's accusation. "Guys, you know me," he told a reporter at his press briefing. "I can’t do anything but tell you the truth: It’s a lie. It’s a lie. What Senator Manchin ought to do is concentrate on the job he has in D.C. and get that job done and get that job done properly."

West Virginia was one of the last states to report cases of coronavirus during the initial spread, but it has since spread rapidly, with 111 reported deaths so far.

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