Latest News, Uncategorized, WVPA Sharing

Morgantown coal operator Laurita indicted in alleged campaign finance scheme


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Morgantown coal operator James L. Laurita Jr. allegedly schemed for more than three years to funnel illegal campaign contributions to four candidates for federal political office, according to an indictment made public this week.

James L. Laurita Jr

A federal grand jury meeting in Morgantown indicted Laurita on eight counts in the scheme, which prosecutors say involved directing money from Laurita’s company, Mepco LLC, through its employees to the federal candidates. The indictment also charges Laurita with contributions that violated federal election limits, and with causing false statements about the contributions to be submitted to the Federal Elections Commission.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred from March 2010 to July 2013 in Northern District of West Virginia and elsewhere, according to the indictment and a statement from the Justice Department.

The indictment does not name the federal candidates, but says that one was a candidate for election and re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, another a candidate for election and re-election to the U.S. Senate, a third a candidate for election and re-election to the House or the Senate, and the fourth a candidate for election to the House.

Acting U.S. Attorney Betsy Steinfeld Jividen noted in a statement that an indictment “is merely an accusation” and that a defendant “is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

John Carr, a Charleston lawyer representing Laurita, did not immediately respond to a request for comment this morning.

The indictment says that Laurita was formerly the president, chief executive officer, and minority owner of Mepco LLC, and that Mepco LLC was a subsidiary of a partnership consisting of Laurita and Longview Intermediate Holdings.

Laurita’s most visible project has been the Longview Power Plant outside Morgantown, a facility that was recently toured by Trump administration Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who was joined by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at [email protected], 304-348-1702 or follow @kenwardjr on Twitter.

See more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address