CHARLESTON — Legislative leadership is abdicating its appropriations powers by allowing West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to award more than $20 million to date in CARES Act Small Business Grants without legislative oversight, the minority chairman of the House Finance Committee said.
“It’s not a question of a lack of legislative oversight. It’s a question of complete absence of legislative oversight,” Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, said.
Since late July, Justice has handed out more than 4,000 grants, most for $5,000, but some $2,000 grants to sole proprietors, out of $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act pandemic relief funds the state received in April.
According to the state Auditor’s Office on Tuesday, a total of $18.89 million of grants have been awarded, with another $2.46 million in grants held up for a variety of issues.
Some of those grants have drawn scrutiny, including $5,000 grants Justice awarded last week to VIP