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Governor’s “Do It for Babydog” campaign spent $23M in federal COVID relief funds

February 14th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

Gov. Jim Justice spent more than $23 million on his COVID-19 vaccination campaign, an incentive program that gave away pickup trucks, rifles and lawn mowers. A report released Friday from the state auditor detailed how the governor spent millions on prizes for adults and kids. Following the sweepstakes, the state’s vaccination rate barely budged. In West Virginia, 56% of residents are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, ranking it in the bottom 20 states for vaccination rates, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate lags the national average of 68%. The auditor’s report, which showed how Justice spent more than $1.25 billion in federal COVID-19 funds, raised legal and ethical concerns from lawmakers about how the governor spent some of the federal money — including money used for sweepstakes prizes. Senate Finance Chair Eric Tarr is leading a probe into the governor’s use of the federal money.