Gov. Jim Justice said Monday he’ll use a portion of his own contingency fund to pay for a service program conducted by the Boy Scouts of America during their upcoming Jamboree, but is blaming lawmakers for not including the money in the 2018 budget.
Justice’s office said in a press release that the governor will use $400,000 from his civil contingency fund to help pay for the community service projects thousands of Scouts will participate in during their time in West Virginia.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve, in Fayette County, will host the Scouts National Jamboree starting Wednesday, July 19.
The community service projects are administered by the Civil Conservation Corps and according to the Governor’s Office, will have a $7 million economic impact in the state.
Justice said Monday the money for the projects would have come from his Save Our State Fund, a proposed funding source overseen by the Dept. of Commerce that did not survive budget negotiations this year.
That detail, however, was not included in discussion about the fund during legislative meetings.
In a news release Monday, Justice said the money was “promised” to the Boy Scouts.
Years before taking office, Justice himself promised a $25 million personal donation to the Scouts, in 2011.
A 2016 NPR investigation found that Justice had only followed through with $5 million of that donation and additionally given the group land in Fayette County to create the James C. Justice National Scout Camp, named for is father. That camp is part of the national reserve.
Justice’s office immediately return a request for comment about the donation Monday.
The Boy Scouts of America issued the following emailed statement in response to inquiries about Justice’s donation:
“We would like to express our gratitude to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice for his leadership and contributions to the Boy Scouts of America and the 2017 National Jamboree. We are also appreciative of the Scouts and volunteers who are willing to spend their time at the Jamboree to help the surrounding communities.
“The Boy Scouts of America is proud to give back to the state of West Virginia, and we hope these service projects make a lasting impact in the community. We chose the New River Gorge area as the home of the summit for its stellar beauty and natural resources, so we want to contribute to the region and do what we can to keep it a beautiful place to live and visit.”