The Associated Press reported earlier this week that last Friday Justice appointed Greg Thomas to the governing body of West Virginia Public Broadcasting. According to the AP:
Thomas has worked for several GOP politicians, including the campaign of convicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s failed U.S. Senate run in 2018. He also works for the nonprofit group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail article also reported on the appointment and filled-in Thomas' work history including a Republican candidate for governor, Bill Maloney, and our local congressman, David McKinley.
Additionally, the Gazette-Mail detailed the governor's appointment of Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Danielle Waltz to the board:
Waltz is a Charleston attorney and lobbyist, whose successes include passage of right to work legislation in 2016 when she was with the state Business and Industry Council, and passage of legislation this session creating an intermediate appeals court, as a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Waltz is a former board member of the Cardinal Institute, a state affiliate of the ALEC-affiliated and Koch Brothers-funded State Policy Institute, which advocates for deregulation, tax cuts, and fewer government services.
One of the Cardinal Institute’s publications is “Wild and Wasteful West Virginia,” which purportedly identifies $330 million of wasteful state spending. One of the items it targets as government waste: West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
The AP story suggested a possible motivation for Justice’s appointments:
Justice has been critical of overall media coverage of his failed attempt this year to lower income taxes and shift the burden to sales taxes.
In 2017, Justice’s initial budget proposal sought to eliminate state funding for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which lawmakers eventually fully funded. The GOP-controlled Senate made a failed attempt to eliminate funding for the authority in the 2021-22 state budget during the most recent session.
Is Justice trying to kill West Virginia Public Broadcasting or is he just attempting to turn it into a propaganda agency for his administration? Either way, it's not much of a choice.