A bill is en route to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk that would expand the Ethics Act, essentially targeting one of his senior staff members.
House Bill 4424 would amend the act to include unpaid volunteers who work in an advisory capacity to elected officials.
Bray Cary, who identifies himself as a “citizen volunteer” and special adviser to the governor, also serves on the board of directors of EQT Corp., a natural gas driller.
In 2016, the company paid him more than $325,000 in cash and shares. He directly owns more than 28,000 shares in the company and indirectly owns another 14,377.
He does not receive payment for his services, thus eluding the confines of the Ethics Act as written.
The Ethics Act, along with requiring financial disclosures from public officials and certain senior staff members, generally prohibits state workers from using their public office for private gain.
In a brief interview Friday, Cary said he supports the bill and that all state officials should be subject to the Ethics Act.
While Cary’s exact job responsibilities with the governor remain open for speculation, emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request show he has assisted Justice in a swath of different policy arenas and handles media requests as well.
He regularly sits in on interviews between Justice and various reporters, and has been spotted meeting with various legislative leaders.
Stemming from his work with the governor, Cary has an electronic access card to the Capitol granting him free roam of the complex and Justice’s office.